Discover what colors to pair with navy blue, plus how to build color schemes that maximize the impact of this rich, classic color.

By Ann Wilson and Jessica Bennett
Updated September 22, 2020
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Valued for its weighty presence and classic-meets-comfy associations, navy blue is a versatile hue that adapts to suit most color schemes and decorating styles. Its dark tones capture the eye, cause brighter colors to pop, and complement interiors boasting coastal, classic, and contemporary character. Although navy blue's benefits are many, it is a very dark color that should be balanced to ensure it doesn't overwhelm and create dreary, closed-in room designs. Overall, navy color companions should be clear, crisp, and bright. Black-shaded hues like dusty purple, hunter green, and maroon share navy's intensity and are likely to fade when paired with the dark-blue hue. Luckily, you'll find plenty of colors, including mustard yellow, bright pink, cherry red, and even metallic gold, that go beautifully with navy blue. Here's how to create a navy blue-based color scheme.

Credit: Stacy Zarin Goldberg Photography LLC

1. Navy Blue and White

Picture whitecaps breaking atop dark blue waves, and you'll immediately realize why whites go so well with navy blue. White is a classic high-contrast partner that sets off the deep hue and gives navy a lively lift. Juxtapose navy blue furniture, decor, or cabinetry with a backdrop of crisp white walls for an energizing effect. Alternatively, you can balance dark, inky blue walls with white furniture, fabrics, and breezy sheer curtain panels. In addition to cool snow-white, off-whites and creams also make fine partners for navy blue.

Credit: Anthony Masterson Photography

2. Navy Blue and Brights

Lighten up navy blues by introducing vibrant colors that suit your design preferences and evoke the mood you want to create. Layer in terra-cotta, lime green, lemony yellow, orange, and coral to give off happy, welcoming vibes. Cultivate garden-fresh cottage looks by introducing flowery fabrics sporting touches of navy blue, leafy green, cornflower blue, daffodil yellow, and carnation pink. Refresh formal spaces by accenting navy blues with Kelly or emerald greens, golden yellows, and raspberry reds. If you're stumped on what colors go with navy blue, find inspiration within colorful fabrics or wallpaper patterns. Look for designs that combine navy blue with other colors in a manner and ratio that appeals to you; then, use that pattern's palette as the basis for your navy blue color scheme.

Credit: The Wilde Project

3. Navy and Neutrals

To create peaceful spaces, look outside for calming colors and earthen textures that complement navy blue. Nature-inspired elements such as rich wood furniture, straw-hued wicker and rattan accents, whitewashed brick, warm neutral paint colors, and concrete-gray accents partner perfectly with navy blue hues. Pick neutral accessories and materials that are lighter or much darker than a room's navy blue finishes and furniture to emphasize color differences and lend distinction to each element. No matter which colors you pair with navy, use contrast to avoid a muddied-up palette and supply resting places for the eye.

Credit: CARSON DOWNING

4. Navy Blue and Mustard Yellow

Create a dynamic color scheme by pairing navy blue with a much lighter, brighter color. Shades of yellow, including soft butter yellow and rich mustard yellow, offer warmth and brilliance that stands out vividly against the cool, deep tones of navy blue. Use this color combination for an energizing effect in living spaces or bedrooms. Choose fabrics and materials with subtle differences in patterns and textures to layer in extra interest within a navy blue and yellow color scheme.

Credit: Lincoln Barbour

5. Navy and Sky Blue

Various shades of blue come together to form serene color schemes that remind of clear blue skies over broad expanses of water. To design a successful monochromatic color combination, use a paint chip for guidance. Select your desired navy blue color first (which will likely be the darkest shade on the swatch), then incorporate lighter tints of the color throughout the space. Depending on your shade of navy, muted, dusty-blue shades or true blue hues can create easy-on-the-eye compositions. For a more tropical look, choose green-tinted colors, such as aqua and turquoise, to pair with navy blue.

Credit: David A. Land

6. Navy Blue and Red

This all-American pairing is a classic interior color scheme for interiors. Combine red and white with navy blue to decorate patriotic country-style spaces and playful nautical kids' rooms. Vibrant cherry red or scarlet accents can also provide striking contrast against navy blue in modern or eclectic designs. This look works well for busy areas like kitchens, entryways, and living rooms. Pairing navy blue with more muted shades of red, such as salmon, rich burgundy, or brick red, can help set a sophisticated tone that's ideal for formal dining rooms.

Credit: Ann VanderWiel Wilde

7. Navy Blue and Gold

Similar to yellow, gold makes a brilliant complement to navy blue. Incorporate the color into your navy blue room with metallic gold accents or gold-toned wood finishes on floors, furniture, or trim. This radiant hue is especially helpful for lightening up dark navy blue colors to ward off a gloomy look. A large gold mirror on a navy blue wall, for example, will reflect light around the space to create an expansive effect.

Comments (1)

Anonymous
August 14, 2018
My counter tops are navy blue in kitchen and both bathrooms. I currently have painted the house a sand color. It still clashes to me. The cabinets are all white. What would be a nice color to brighten up the kitchen and bathrooms.