Navy kitchen ideas are massively in demand right now, with homeowners keen to incorporate this stylish shade into their culinary spaces.
The best kitchen ideas tend not to be overly focussed on the hottest trends, but more on creating timeless looks that manage to look fresh and new, but which won't look dated a few months on.
Navy is one of those shades that can work with pretty much any style of home and is almost as classic as neutrals such as white. While it has broad appeal, navy still feels impactful and bold, yet it pairs beautifully well with so many other tones, textures and finishes so is easy to work with.
Spend some time browsing our favourite navy kitchen ideas — there really is something for all styles and sizes of kitchen, as well as every budget.
Can navy kitchen ideas work in small spaces?
Many people on the hunt for small kitchen ideas tend to shy away from the idea of darker, bolder shades, fearing that they could feel overwhelming in a compact room or make it feel even smaller than it is.
The good news here is that there is no need to avoid dark, dramatic colours in small rooms — there are many ways of using them that can actually make a space feel bigger than it it really is.
Darker shades help to distract the eye away from the proportions of a room and it is a great idea to use this inky blue shade alongside a fresh, pale neutral — the difference in tones will help pick out the various elements that make up a kitchen and can also highlight any features of note, such as a high ceiling.
1. Pair navy with marble and pale wood finishes
Grey or white marble and navy are a match made in heaven and they are so simple to bring together in the kitchen. Whether you opt for pale marble (or a composite marble look-a-like) for your worktops or your kitchen splashback ideas, they will look classy and classic next to units painted rich navy — plus this is a look which will continue to look great for years to come.
Finish the whole scheme off with pale wood finishes, either through your choice of flooring or in your furniture selection.
The Marlow Navy Kitchen from Benchamarx Kitchens, shown here, is a contemporary take on the classic 5-piece Shaker. It is made from solid hardwood. The marble splashback features a useful shelf at the top.
2. Use navy base units to draw the eye upwards
One of our favourite painted kitchen ideas is to use a dramatic, bold shade for your base units with a brighter, pale shade for the upper portion of the room. This is a great way to draw the gaze upwards, ensure the space feels light and airy and to add lots of character at the same time.
In this lofty kitchen the simple, Shaker-style navy units really help to create definition to the walls and highly decorative ceilings, ensuring that all eyes are on the the intricate mouldings. The choice of slimline light fittings and bar stools also means there are no other elements in the space jostling for attention.
3. Bring soft grey and navy together for classic appeal
Certain colours are just meant to be together and a two-tone kitchen can actually work much better than one made up of a single shade. This goes for both small kitchens as well as those with more generous proportions.
Soft grey and deep navy really bring out the best in each other and in this beautiful Shaker kitchen, the mix of tones helps define the large kitchen island from the run of kitchen units. Don't forget to pay attention to the little details that go into designing a kitchen either — check out the smart solid brass cup handles from Armac Martin. Cup handles look fantastic with Shaker-style unit doors.
4. Mix-and-match furniture for a farmhouse feel
Freestanding kitchens, made up of a selection of pieces of well-chosen furniture are perfect for those after a rustic, country-style look in their kitchen or for those after farmhouse kitchen ideas.
A hefty butcher's block can make a brilliant alternative to a kitchen island, a painted dresser will provide the perfect spot to store any crockery or cookware you would like on display and individual units can also be brought to take the place of standard fitted kitchen units.
In this kitchen, the beamed low ceiling has been taken into account with the choice of squat freestanding kitchen island which features a selection of deep drawers for storage.
5. Introduce navy with wall panelling
You don't have to introduce navy into your kitchen with just your choice of units — you might also like to consider painting wall panelling (or your walls themselves) a nightsky shade of blue instead and keep your units paler in colour.
Using wall panelling ideas to bring some of your favourite hues into your home is a great way to add a splash of colour in a way that won't feel overwhelming. Many people feel more comfortable using bolder shades on small sections of wall or accessories as opposed to on those more expensive elements (such as kitchen units).
6. Achieve a sophisticated look with navy and white
Crisp, clean white and gutsy navy always look super smart when brought together and when used in the kitchen, these two shades are the perfect partners. Timeless, classic yet fresh and modern feeling, any size or style of kitchen will benefit from this colour pairing.
This kitchen combines a full-height wall of navy units with a central kitchen island in a matching shade. Bright white worktops and white walls offset the kitchen furniture perfectly. Note the stylish addition of the ladder to make access to those high level units a little easier.
7. Combine different blues for coastal vibes
There are so many gorgeous variations of blue and most of these sit really well alongside one another. Different combinations result in different feels — dark navy and white are super stylish, navy and grey are timeless, for example.
If you fancy designing a kitchen with a bright coastal look, blue is the perfect shade to pick. Here, Olive & Barr's blue Shaker kitchen has been chosen and while a light navy shade has been used for the units that run around the walls, a seaside aqua tone has been selected for the island. The result is a fun, sunny scheme.
8. Enjoy shades of grey with a slate floor
Your kitchen flooring ideas need to be carefully considered alongside your kitchen units — the two need to work in harmony to tie the whole look together.
Navy is pretty easy to pair with a number of different flooring materials but slate flooring sits particularly well alongside this shade.
Navy blue has elements of grey within it and these are really drawn out when it is seen alongside the moody shade of grey within the large format slate flooring that has been used in this kitchen. The slate also looks great alongside the exposed oak frame and the grey AGA further adds to the success of this scheme.
9. Use flush-fronted units for a sleek finish
All kinds of kitchen styles suit navy blue so don't feel restricted to Shaker style or more classic unit designs. Sleek, flush-fronted units and drawers are really popular amongst those seeking modern kitchen ideas but if proper thought is not given to the overall scheme, these spaces can end up feeling a little soulless and lacking in character.
A great way to avoid this is to pick units in a bold shade, such as navy, which will sit brilliantly with the streamlined form of modern units while bringing plenty of warmth and character.
This contemporary space features a 'one-wall' kitchen layout, polished concrete floor and a warm metallic splashback.
10. Highlight a vaulted ceiling with dark base units
If you are after some vaulted ceiling ideas for your kitchen, navy units could well be the way to go.
While vaulted ceilings make stunning features, it can be a challenge to avoid the spaces they grace from feeling too empty or one-dimensional. For this reason, it can be a good idea to try to create a strong 'base' to the space. This gives a cosier, more intimate feel at the same time as highlighting the proportions of the room as a whole.
In this kitchen, the lower section of the double-height space has been fitted out with a navy kitchen, while the upper half of the walls and the ceiling have been finished in fresh white.
The herringbone wooden flooring and glass fronts of some of the units add warmth and charm to the whole scheme.
11. Update a classic Shaker kitchen
While Shaker kitchens have been around since the middle of the 18th century, their unfussy design means that they look as fresh and modern today as they ever did. If you are keen to have a Shaker kitchen but also want something that looks contemporary, there are plenty of ways to do this.
Look at the smaller details, such as unit handles, to inject a little modern flair and pair Shaker units with fresh white worktops. Selecting navy as your kitchen colour choice will also make it feel modern — although it is interesting to note that the Shakers who invented this style of kitchen often favoured bold colours such as dark red, ochre yellows, deep blue and forest green, with a matt finish.
12. Cosy up a large open plan kitchen
While many of us dream of sprawling kitchen spaces with plenty of space for large family gatherings or parties, large kitchens can feel a little empty if care isn't taken in their design.
Colour is the perfect tool when it comes to making larger spaces feel welcoming, helping to break them up into visual zones as well as contributing to a sense of warmth and intimacy.
This kitchen occupies a very large area, but the whole space has been tied together by the same shade of navy blue — even the walk in pantry (to the right of the image) has been painted in this shade to make it feel like part of the scheme.
13. Combine an oak frame with deep blue units
The charm and character that tends come along with oak frame homes is undeniable and you certainly don't want to distract from the beauty of any exposed timber features in this style of property.
However, it just so happens, that navy kitchens actually look really good alongside exposed beams and bare timber finishes in general.
In this expertly planned-out kitchen, lying within a new oak frame home by Border Oak, the navy units and nutty-shade of flagstone floor work together to draw out the full charm of the exposed structural elements.
14. Muddle together navy, yellow and herringbone
If you are looking for colours to go with your navy kitchen then you will be pleased to learn that there are actually a great many — and they aren't all neutrals either.
While greys and whites look undeniably stylish alongside navy, if you want to take a slightly bolder approach then do take the time to consider ochre and gold, as well orange and both pastel and hot pink.
This kitchen combines navy units with full-height tongue-and-groove wall panelling that has been painted in a two-tone style using warm ochre and fresh white.
15. Opt for a two-tone finish with high ceilings
Being both a bold, eye-catching colour, as well as one that is very easy to live with and pair with a range of other shades and finishes, blue can be used to create a number of visual effects.
This kitchen enjoys very tall ceilings so even after being fitted with some high-level navy kitchen units the proportions of the space are allowed to shine. The white worktops that sit mid-way up the walls create a nice sense of symmetry with the white finishes higher up in the room.
What types of paint are best for kitchen units?
There are, in fact, paints specifically designed for painting kitchen cabinets, such as GoodHome Renovation Vence Matt Cupboard & Cabinet Paint from B&Q. That said, when it comes to the best kitchen paint types, there are other products you can use — but you want one that will be durable and easy to wipe clean.
"You can use emulsion and eggshell paints, but it won’t look good for long, and it won’t be long before your cabinets need painting again," advises Homebuilding & Renovating's DIY content editor Steve Jenkins. "For a longer-lasting – and good-looking – finish, the harder the paint, the better. Try a specialist kitchen cabinet paint with the finish you want — gloss, semi gloss, or satin."
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Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.