Navy kitchen cabinets pair well with white counters, but what else?

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How can you not love navy blue when the deep shade entices visions of calm ocean waters, freshly picked fruit and the night sky? While it often has a nautical rap, when paired with attractive brass and modern gizmos rather than anchors and oars, navy can awaken a mundane space. (According to a color psychologist, it might even help you focus.) Plus, there’s plenty of opportunity to customize the color, as it goes well with everything from classic subway tile to butcher block. Check out these 12 ideas for creating the cool hue on your own.

punch it up

Designer Charlie Ferrer doesn’t worry about working with wall color. Instead, he prefers to leave his backdrops white and dare in other ways, like pairing the Marea Baja cabinets in this Hamptons project with a marigold island.

Take it to the Banquet

The paint shade not only makes a statement from the floor-to-ceiling cabinets to pantry in Janea Brown’s Hollywood home, it also transforms into a cozy breakfast nook to further extend your line of sight. Brown completed the stand with striped seats and plaid cushions to visually carve out a separate space.

start small

This mid-century home in Chicago proves you don’t have to be fully committed to the navy to enjoy its impact. In the middle of a teak kitchen, an island with a blue background adds a subtle touch.

find your center

Photography courtesy of Studio McGee

To infuse charm into this bright coastal kitchen, Studio McGee only wrapped island cabinets in Benjamin Moore’s Blue Note. The hangout looks even more important now thanks to its distinctive color.

Get bold with your home appliance choices

Australian designer Sibella Court’s bold decision to pair moody teal cabinets with a black Smeg fridge and variety paid off. Court describes the palette as “subtle but stormy,” and she accented the drama with an eclectic array of materials like zinc, rope, and cane.

Looking for the perfect navy blue paint to transform your kitchen? Look no further:
The 15 best blue paint colors for kitchen cabinets

Complete with graphic stone

Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray, the shade that Black Lacquer Design founder Caitlin Murray used for these cabinets, is the paint swatch equivalent of a distinguished Englishman sporting an elegant top hat. To modernize the traditional hue, Murray paired it with a dramatic slab of white-veined black marble.

Create the illusion of height

A smart paint choice is all it takes to make high ceilings look even taller. In this case, Emily Henderson used navy underside to ground the small space and clad the top and ceiling beams in white for that coveted airy feel.

Have Fun with the Floor

Continuing the hardwood floor from the adjacent room into the kitchen would have been an easy choice for Susan and Ben Work. Instead, designers switched to funky cement tiles. The little slivers of color show up in the blue Hague cabinets and in the greenish veins in the marble backsplash.

Play wood tones

If you don’t like the drama that black counters introduce to navy cabinets, add warmth with butcher block. Jessica and Tyler Mares of Renovate 108 purchased the slab for the bar nook for less than $200 at IKEA.

Lean towards graphite tones

Athena Calderone of EyeSwoon chose a blue-black shade by Farrow & Ball for the kitchen in her New York City home and paired it with polished marble for an ultra-matte finish.

Go Big on Hardware

blue kitchen with large blue handles on the doors

Photograph by Jessica Antola

The only things noisier than Gillian Schwartz’s peacock-hued cabinets are the oversized handles (which are actually hangers) on the doors. The move was inspired by furniture designer Faye Toogood’s home.

Add artistic details

Pro tip: You don’t have to do anything special with the cabinets themselves to make navy interesting. Sarah Wittenbraker layered square panels on the side of her island and the structure now functions as a sculpture.

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