​Interior inspiration: What colours go with navy?

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Living Room Pixers Colonial style living room Blue
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We are all familiar with the navy colour – the darkest blue in its true form that appears almost black. (Interesting fact: Navy gets its name from the uniforms of the British Royal Navy and is associated with uniforms, dress clothing and other traditional sartorial choices).

But there are other attitudes and “personalities” associated with the colour navy, as any professional Interior Designer/Decorator will agree. It’s got a weighty presence that is also very versatile, seeing that it’s able to adapt to a lot of colour schemes, regardless of room or decorating style. Its dramatic hue immediately captures the eye, causes lighter and brighter colours to pop, and is quite the popular option for coastal, classic and contemporary styles. 

Yes, navy’s benefits are aplenty, but keep in mind that this bold tint needs to be applied in proper proportions and well balanced with other hues in order to make your room/home work. After all, you can’t just paint a navy living room or navy kitchen and expect it to receive 100% style-wise. 

But that brings us to the question: how do we make navy work in our homes? And, more importantly, what are the colours that go with navy? 

Let’s find out which hues are seemingly made for pairing with navy blue-based schemes.

1. The history of the colour navy

Bar & Media Room in Family Home Decorbuddi Eclectic style media room Blue

Bar & Media Room in Family Home


Ever since navy blue got its name from the British Royal Navy back in 1748, it has been associated with all things noble (just like purple, which was also considered a “royal” colour back in the day). And its style power has not changed. In fact, the navy colour continues to show up in more and more colour palettes, especially nautical ones (good luck trying to style a beach house without using any blue!). 

But of course an all-navy colour palette would just seem silly. So, for some visual appeal, let’s see which colours complement navy blue best. 

2. Colours that go with navy: Whites

A Navy Situation homify Modern living room

A Navy Situation


Anybody who’s ever seen snow-white mountain peaks amid a dark-blue sky will immediately know why navy and white go smashingly together. Out of all the neutral hues, white is a classic high-contrast partner that sets off the deep-sea hue quite strikingly. 

So, what does that mean for navy blue in your home? It means you can opt for white-painted furniture, fabrics with white surfaces, and breezy sheer curtain panels in a stark-white tint. But of course you’re not limited to just navy blue; try one of this brilliant colour’s other similar hues, like cobalt, admiral, lapis, denim or peacock. 

If a more beachy, Caribbean-style look appeals to you, choose blues closer to the green side of the colour wheel to complement your whites, such as aquas and turquoises.

3. Colours that go with navy: Brights and naturals

French farm house blue Auspicious Furniture Country style kitchen Wood Blue
Auspicious Furniture

French farm house blue

Auspicious Furniture

Know what other tones can lighten up a moody navy? Vivacious colours that immediately attract attention, such as terra-cotta, lime green, lemony yellow, orange, coral, etc. Notice how these are all tones found in nature! 

For a garden-fresh cottage look, we recommend bringing in flowery fabrics with navy paint dancing alongside leafy greens, cornflower blue, daffodil yellow, and carnation pink. To blow a breath of fresh air into a formal space (such as a kitchen or formal living room), accent those navy blues with emerald greens, golden yellows, and raspberry reds. 

For a playful nautical look (regardless of whether it’s for kids’ bedrooms or mature spaces), combine red and white with that bold blue.

homify hint: Visit fabric- or wallpaper stores to see how they match up their blues. Look for patterns that combine navy blue with other colours in a manner and ratio that appeals to your personal style then.

4. Colours that go with navy: Neutrals

Tiny Stripe Navy Bedding Set Secret Linen Store BedroomAccessories & decoration Cotton Blue
Secret Linen Store

Tiny Stripe Navy Bedding Set

Secret Linen Store

Who doesn’t want their home to flaunt a peaceful look? Mother Nature certainly does – just look outside to see how many times she pairs up dark blues with other colours for a refreshing style. 

We’ve already established the popularity of stark white, but there are definitely other choices in the neutral realm. And you can’t go wrong with whitewashed brick, seashore tints, black furniture finishes, straw-hued wicker and rattan accents, and concrete-grey countertops complementing a navy blue. 

To emphasise colour differences, you want to pick neutral accessories and materials that are lighter or much darker than a room's navy blue finishes and furniture. This will ensure that your entire room enjoys attention, regardless of which contrasting colours you pick.

5. Choosing a wall colour with navy furniture: Transition ideas

SS16 Style Guide - Coastal Elegance - Bedroom LuxDeco Country style bedroom Blue

SS16 Style Guide—Coastal Elegance—Bedroom


A room with navy furniture is nice, but it’s certainly not the end of your colour palette. Look to the existing wall colours throughout your home for a complementary hue. For example, if your home's interior is mainly covered in a medium beige tone, think about painting the walls surrounding the navy blue pieces the same colour. Or pick a colour that’s a few shades lighter or darker than that beige for a harmonious colour transition between your interior spaces. 

In especially open-plan rooms, smooth colour flow is vital.

6. Choosing a wall colour with navy furniture: Enhance the mood

Park Up kitchen table Loaf KitchenTables & chairs

Park Up kitchen table


Want to draw attention to your beautiful navy pieces? Allow your wall colour the privilege without resorting to only navy paint! 

A medium or light blue tone will ensure a monochromatic colour scheme with a restful vibe. You can even add a touch of cheery sunshine with pale yellow walls. If you want an inconspicuous backdrop to show off your dark blue furniture, choose unassuming wall hues like creamy ivory, barely beige or misty grey. 

And to highlight mundane navy blue furniture pieces, go with a contrasting, electric wall colour, such as lime green or lively tangerine.

7. Choosing a wall colour with navy furniture: Style tips

Moroccan Tiles Pixers Colonial style living room Blue

Moroccan Tiles


In your quest to determine what colours go with navy, you will come across a family of tints that team up naturally with navy blue furniture to create specific decorating styles. And stark white is only one of them. While crisp beige walls are ideal for a classic decorating look, paint those walls a powder blue to generate a casual country panache. 

And, of course, a lighter tint on your walls will make the room seem more visually spacious, especially since it’s housing dark-coloured furniture. But on the other hand, a dark shade on the walls can make a large room feel cosier…

8. Choosing a wall colour with navy furniture: Practical suggestions

Modern Living Room homify Modern living room Bricks White

Modern Living Room


Take a matching fabric swatch or paint chip of your navy blue furniture to a local paint store. Acquire three or four sample paints of your favourite hues and take them home to try on the walls. Then paint about 900cm² swatches of each colour on a single wall. If possible, choose a wall surface that gets both shade and sunshine to see how it changes the colour throughout the day. Be sure to check how artificial light sources influence those swatches at night, too. 

Move some of your navy furniture pieces next to those painted swatches and stare at them for a few days. Eliminate your least favourite hues, buy the singe colour you choose, and have at it! 

9. Trust navy for dramatic style in a small room

The Big Blue Pixers Modern style bedroom Blue

The Big Blue


We know you’ve been taught to keep dark colours away from small rooms. But the right hue, like navy, can ensure a dynamic look for a small space, even more so with the changing light and shadows subtly altering that royal blue look all day long.  

Let's be even more inspired by these House improving extensions—18 affordable ideas.

Where in your home would a deep, rich shade of navy blue look best? And which colours (for the furniture and décor) would you add?

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