Blue and navy are classic color combinations that can look elegant and sophisticated when done right. Navy is a darker shade of blue that pairs beautifully with lighter blues. Combining different shades of blue allows you to add visual interest while maintaining a cohesive color palette. When combining blue and navy, there are a few key things to keep in mind regarding proportion, texture, and accent colors. Following some guidelines can help you successfully integrate these colors into fashion, home decor, and graphic design.
When pairing blue and navy, it’s important to use them in complementary proportions. You generally want one color to dominate and the other to serve as an accent. If you use too much of both shades, the look can become overly matchy and monotonous. Here are some examples of ideal blue and navy color combos:
|Navy pants + Light blue shirt|
|Navy blazer + Blue dress|
|Light blue walls + Navy sofa|
As a rule of thumb, start with a larger amount of one color and use the other sparingly throughout the space or outfit. Navy tends to overpower lighter shades, so err on the side of having more blue than navy in most cases.
Play With Texture
Variations in texture add vital visual interest when pairing any colors together, including blue and navy. Try combining smooth, matte navy pieces with textured blue accents. For example, a chambray button-down shirt has an intricate woven texture that pairs beautifully with the smooth finish of navy pants or a blazer.
In home decor, add navy velvet pillows and throws to a light blue linen sofa. Hang a navy quilt with stitching details on a wall painted soft blue. The contrast of textures helps the two shades of blue complement each other instead of blending together.
Add Accent Colors
While blue and navy look great together, adding punches of accent colors keeps the palette from becoming one-dimensional. For a nautical vibe, incorporate navy with light blue and crisp white. Or try navy and periwinkle blue with pale yellow. Here are some accent colors that complement blue and navy:
|Camel||Metallic silver or gold|
Look for ways to tastefully blend these accent colors throughout a space or outfit to tie the whole look together. You might paint an accent wall a soft buttery yellow or add silver hardware to navy cabinets. For wearing navy and blue, pair them with camel shoes and a pink handbag.
Create Color Blocking
Color blocking, or wearing solid blocks of color, can showcase blue and navy in a bold, graphic way. Try pairing a navy sweater over light blue jeans, then add white sneakers to finish the color-blocked look. Or wear a navy blazer with a light blue dress and nude heels.
For interiors, use color blocking to define specific zones. Paint one wall navy and keep the others light blue, then add white trim for definition. Use a navy rug to ground a sitting area with pale blue chairs. The color blocking allows each shade to stand out.
Add Navy Accents
One easy way to combine navy and blue is by adding navy accessories as subtle pops of contrast. For example, wear a patterned blue dress and add a solid navy hat, shoes, or bag. Or style a chambray button-down with navy jewelry and belt.
In a blue and white kitchen, bring in navy with dish towels, utensils, and barstools at the counter. Use navy vases and lamps to punctuate a living room with blue walls and trim. The navy accents enrich the lighter blue in the space.
Use Navy for Base Layers
Since navy tends to dominate lighter shades, use it strategically as a base layer. Then, add blue accents and lighter tones on top. Make navy the foundation of your outfit with pants, skirts, or dresses. Layer on lighter blue shirts, sweaters, jackets, or scarves.
In home decor, navy can provide an anchor. Upholster furniture or paint trim navy, then layer on blue and white pillows, throws, wall art, and area rugs. The navy grounds the scheme while the lighter layers brighten it up.
Try Dark Navy with Light Blue
For significant contrast, pair a darker navy with a light powder blue. The depth of the navy makes the soft blue really stand out. This combo can feel both contemporary and nautical.
Use this approach with a navy sweater and powder blue button-down or trousers in midnight navy with a light blue sport coat. Go for dark navy dining chairs around a powder blue table or throw a navy quilt on your bed over light blue sheets.
Add Navy to a Blue Wall
Painting walls blue is an easy way to bring this color into your home. To avoid the blue feeling overwhelming, balance it out with navy accents. Add navy shelves or picture frames to light blue walls in a study. Paint built-in bookshelves navy for an accent against powder blue walls. Use navy rugs and pillows to anchor a living room with sky blue walls. The navy keeps the blue walls from appearing washed out.
Chambray is a popular fabric that combines the two colors perfectly. It has a light blue warp and a navy weft that are woven together to create a mottled effect. Chambray button-downs, shirts, dresses, and accessories bridge the gap between straight blue and navy.
Layer a chambray shirt under a navy blazer and blue jeans for an integrated look. Use chambray pillows and throws on a navy sofa or chair. Wrap blue vases or lamps with a chambray covering. Chambray offers an easy way to fuse light and dark blues.
Try a Monochrome Look
For a polished, streamlined aesthetic, wear different shades of blue from head to toe. Go for a medium blue dress, dark navy blazer, powder blue earrings, and blue heels in suede, leather, or velvet. Stick to a single color family for a pulled-together monochrome look.
You can take the same approach in home decor. Use varying blue tones on everything from walls to window treatments, art, throws, and cushions for a soothing all-blue interior. The visual interest comes from playing with light, midtone, and dark blues.
Use Navy for Grounding
Since navy has a grounding, stabilizing effect, use it in spaces where you want to create a feeling of comfort and relaxation. Add navy to a bedroom with blue painted or upholstered bed frame, nightstands, and bench at the foot of the bed. The navy establishes tranquility.
In a family room, choose a sectional or accent chairs in navy. Then layer in lighter blues and creams for softness. The navy furniture provides a cocooning, anchored feel. Navy is a versatile neutral that complements both cool and warm tones.
Look to Nature for Inspiration
The colors blue and navy exist beautifully together in nature. Look at the variations of the sky and ocean for endless inspiration. Recreate soothing watercolor hues in a bedroom with light blue walls and billowing navy sheers.
Paint a dining room blue like robin’s egg with a navy area rug underfoot that mirrors deep ocean. Add blue and white ceramics reminiscent of waves and sea foam. There are so many creative ways to reflect the natural partnership of blue and navy.
Use Navy for Bathrooms and Kitchens
Navy is an excellent choice for bathrooms and kitchens, as it disguises messes and dirt well. Pair navy cabinets or tiles with light blue walls or accessories. Use a navy shower curtain with blue bath mats and towels.
In kitchens, go for navy lower cabinets with blue or white uppers, or vice versa. Add a navy backslash with blue and white art, dishes, and appliances to tie it together. Navy injects style without showing wear and tear.
Create Custom Navy Decor
For unique home decor items in the perfect shade of navy, consider custom-making accent pieces. Some DIY projects, like ombre dip-dyed pillows, are easy to do with fabric dye and bargain throw pillows. Or work with a local artisan to make ceramic lamps, vases, trays, or artwork in any shade of blue. You can get exactly the navy tones you want.
Blue and navy work together seamlessly to create a polished, pulled-together look. Follow the ideal proportions, play with texture, and incorporate accent colors. Use navy strategically to ground and balance lighter blues. Look to chambray and nature for effortless combinations. With the right guidelines, it’s easy to integrate these classic colors into any space or outfit. Thoughtfully blending blue and navy results in a sophisticated style.