If you’re looking for a color that exudes equal parts cool and classic, you just found it.
By Brad Mee

Conventional wisdom has it that navy is for boys’ rooms, beach houses and blazer-wearing chaps named Chip, but as today’s high-style rooms prove, conventional wisdom is bunk. Currently, navy and variations from indigo to dark denim are all the rage.

Thoroughly modern in city and mountain homes, navy enriches spaces from kitchens to baths and, these days, has women swooning over the so-called “guys” color. “Navy is one of the best tools a designer has in her bag,” says designer Jessica Bennett, principal of Alice Lane Home Collection. When it comes to her love of the versatile color, Bennett is true-blue. Her front door is painted a teal-tinted navy, her favorite 15-year-old sofa is covered in the classic shade and her showrooms can’t keep the color from flying out the doors.

rocke bath copy

To fully appreciate navy’s allure, we present the following inspiring spaces, furnishings and paint picks, as well as expert tips from Bennett. Her first pointer: “Don’t consider navy a gutsy choice; it really isn’t,” she says. “It works with everything and never goes out of style.”

hickory chair5420_23_LW

Enlisting Navy

Jessica Bennett’s tips for choosing and using the au courant color


Unlike many trendy hues, navy can be more than an accent color. Navy also performs as a neutral, Bennett explains, so it can be a room’s “main event.” She often uses navy to color the walls of an entire room, to upholster large furniture pieces and to cover a floor’s expanse with a beautiful, deep blue rug.


“Like black, navy goes with everything,” Bennett says. It’s a classic with white and teams spectacularly with warm tones. “A yellow gold, an Hermès orange—so striking!” The designer fancies navy with rich cognac in mountain settings and warns against choosing predictable jewel tones. “Colors like tangy persimmon are younger and vamp up the pairings,” she says. She also loves navy with pink, with light or bright blues and with absolutely any metallic. “It’s also fantastic with black.”



Navy’s versatility makes it a go-to color for most any space. It’s dazzling in a powder bath where it creates a jewel box effect, but is less suited for other windowless spaces like guest bathrooms or corridors. She has featured it in countless ways including on the walls of dramatic living rooms and her own home office as well as on lower kitchen cabinets. “We painted the upper cabinets white and added beautiful gold knobs throughout; it was stunning,” she says.



A high-gloss navy is absolutely spectacular, but requires expert application and will show any surface’s imperfections, Bennett warns. “A lower sheen can be more contemporary and less glamazon.” she says. In a mountain setting, she often favors a duller, earthier finish and, depending on the look, leans toward a more casual version of the color like indigo or denim. “They naturally feel a little looser,” she explains.

The Color You Need Now: Navy


Baccarat vase, $1,300, O.C. Tanner, SLC


Melange 3-drawer chest, $1,420, Hamilton Park Interiors, Murray


Nested oval trays, $38 and $38, Details, SLC


Arper indigo saari sofa, $5,082, ABC Home


Velvet pillow, $158, Details, SLC; Shibori linen pillow, $121, Alice Lane Home Collection, SLC and Orem

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