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What color harmony is navy and orange?

What color harmony is navy and orange?

Navy and orange form a complementary color harmony. Complementary colors sit opposite each other on the color wheel, creating a high contrast combination that really pops. The bold navy and bright orange pair beautifully in all sorts of designs from fashion to interior decor.

Introducing Color Theory

Before diving into why navy and orange work so well together, it helps to understand some color theory basics. The principles of color theory help explain how colors interact with each other and the effects created. While color preferences are subjective, color theory provides some objective guidelines for combining hues.

The color wheel is a foundational tool in color theory. It arranges colors in a circular format to show how they relate to each other. Primary colors sit equally spaced around the color wheel. These are red, blue, and yellow – they can’t be created by mixing other colors. Secondary colors are created by mixing two primary colors. For example, red and yellow make orange.

Tertiary colors are created by mixing a primary and secondary color. Red-orange, yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-violet, and red-violet are examples. Finally, intermediate colors fill in the gaps between the primary, secondary, and tertiary hues.

Looking at the color wheel shows clear color relationships. Complementary colors sit opposite each other, like red and green or blue and orange. Analogous colors sit side-by-side, like blue, blue-violet, and violet. Triadic colors form a triangle on the wheel, such as red, yellow, and blue.

Understanding these color harmonies is the key to creating aesthetically pleasing color combinations. Pairing complementary colors creates high contrast and maximum impact. Analogous harmonies offer subtle gradations in tone. Triadic schemes are vibrant and balanced.

The Complementary Relationship of Navy and Orange

Now back to navy and orange. As complementary colors, they have a vibrant, high contrast relationship. Looking at the color wheel, navy sits opposite orange. This creates a striking combination when paired.

Navy is a deep, dark blue that sits between ultramarine and dark midnight blue on the wheel. It has a sophisticated, serious feel. Orange is the exact opposite – lively, energetic, and fun. When combined, the navy grounds the exhilarating orange while the orange livens up the sedate navy.

Navy Orange
Deep, dark blue Vibrant, reddish-yellow
Sophisticated, serious Fun, energetic
Classic, refined Playful, bold

As opposites, navy and orange dynamically attract attention. The contrast creates visual interest. This makes the color pairing ideal for all types of designs from logos to websites.

Using Navy and Orange in Fashion

Within the world of fashion, navy and orange is a go-to color combination. Navy is a fashion staple. It’s versatile, timeless, and easy to wear. Pairing it with energetic orange creates stylish looks that bridge classic and contemporary.

Navy and orange looks fresh in casual weekend wear. A navy V-neck tee with orange shorts or trousers makes an effortless complement. Accessorize with orange jewelry or an orange bag for extra pop. For a more dressed up aesthetic, pair a silky navy wrap dress with orange heels.

This color duo also shines in autumnal ensembles. A navy sweater with an orange beanie or scarf warms up cool weather looks. Or layer an orange turtleneck under a navy peacoat. Finish with navy trousers and orange leather gloves for a sophisticated take.

For business wear, spice up a navy suit with an orange shirt or accessories. Or wear a navy sheath dress with an orange blazer on top. Navy and orange sprinkled throughout an outfit adds personality while still maintaining professionalism.

Incorporating Navy and Orange into Home Décor

Navy and orange transcends fashion to elegantly enhance home décor as well. This complementary duo brings energy and flair to interior spaces.

In a living room, upholster furniture in navy. Pair with throw pillows in varied orange tones to tie the scheme together. Paint walls white to keep the focus on the navy and orange accents. Add orange artwork for another decorative element.

The kitchen is another prime place for this color scheme. Navy cabinets or shelves pop against a neutral backdrop. Introduce orange through bar stools, a fruit bowl or stand mixer. For a bold look, paint an accent wall orange and use navy bar stools at the counter.

For a bedroom, opt for a navy headboard and orange bedding. Angle for different orange patterns and textures like stripes, solids and chenille. Add more navy via a upholstered bench and patterned area rug. Finish with navy and orange art over the bed.

This color pair can translate to kids’ rooms too. Use navy on larger elements like the walls, storage and window treatments. Then splash in orange lightly through bedding, pillows, accessories and artwork. The colors will keep the space stimulating but not overstimulating.

Choosing the Right Tones

When combining navy and orange, pay attention to undertones. For navy, anchor with a deeper, blue-based navy versus a lighter, purple-based navy. For orange, stick to warmer burnt orange hues rather than peachy apricot tones.

If the navy takes on a subtle lavender cast or the orange turns melon-like, the colors will start clashing. Keeping the navy rich and the orange fiery preserves the complementary harmony.

Also, vary textures when pairing navy and orange. Too much flat saturation of these strong colors can be overwhelming. Mixing up sheens and textures helps keep the combo sophisticated. Try a matte navy with shiny patent orange or combine flat orange with textured navy.

Extending the Palette

While navy and orange alone pack a punch, additional colors can extend the palette. Classic black and white almost always complement a color scheme. Grey shades also blend seamlessly with navy.

For more color, salmon creates a triadic harmony with navy and orange. Yellow – orange’s complementary – maintains the vibrant energy. Teals and lighter blues carry over the navy, while purple shades bridge between navy and orange.

Aim for accent colors that tie back to the main navy and orange relationship. For example, orange-reds and citrine yellows relate to orange while indigo blues and violets connect to navy.

Creative and Sophisticated Uses of Navy and Orange

When artfully combined, navy and orange make a statement. The pairing carries visual weight while remaining tasteful. It manages to be artistic yet classic, serious yet playful, traditional yet innovative.

Fashion designer Michael Kors often incorporates this color duo in his collections. His designs intermix vibrant orange prints and solids with grounding navy. This creates chic, polished looks that sparkle.

Many sports teams also leverage navy and orange for their team colors. The New York Knicks basketball team wears classic navy jerseys accentuated with bold orange. Baseball’s San Francisco Giants feature navy hats with orange accents.

In interior design, many mid-century modern spaces artfully blend navy and orange. The combination feels retro yet perfectly suited to contemporary living. Navy grounds while orange energizes these stylish, artistic spaces.

Wedding color palettes are also increasingly featuring navy and orange. The combo injects fun alongside classic wedding hues like white and silver. Navy suits paired with burnt orange ties or accents create stylish cohesion.


So in summary, navy and orange form a complementary color relationship that really pops. Navy’s deep blue sophistication contrasts brilliantly with orange’s playful vibrancy. This color harmony brings fashion-forward style along with timeless appeal to both clothing and interiors. With proper tone and texture, navy and orange come together for an elevated, creative aesthetic.