Tag Archives: interior design ideas

Color Roundup: Using Navy Blue in Interior Design

Navy and indigo colors are in natureNavy blue and indigo hues are so useful and versatile in interior design.  These colors can be used in kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms, outdoors, in playrooms and they are great as accent colors as well.  When combined with different colors that you wouldn’t expect – like pink – the pairing creates energy.  With whites – especially with moldings, furniture and fabrics, the look can be modern and classic. White sets off navy blue beautifully.

Lacquered walls in deep navy

Navy toned lacquered walls

Above, the sheen of the lacquered walls keeps this space from being dark despite the deep hue.  Keeping it light also are the white mats – which pop against the navy.  I love how the designer, Todd Romano, also painted the moldings and the door in the same color.

bedroom with navy blue and white

The white in this navy bedroom really pops

The white shutters and other accents really help this bedroom come alive in a beachy, seaside way. I love the navy painted wicker chair as well.  I can’t imagine this room without those white shutters as a headboard!

Using avy and white in a living room color scheme

A beautiful navy and white color scheme in a living room

The deep navy and the white used in this living room helps to update this space.  It’s a very traditional room but the bright graphic rug and the navy on the walls surrounding the mantle – give it a modern touch.

Navy and white color scheme in a bedroom

This navy and white scheme makes me want to re-do my bedroom

This picture says it all.  I just love navy blue and white in a bedroom.

Navy subway tiles in a white kitchen

Navy blue subway tiles can give you a great look without a huge color commiment

If you’re not ready for navy blue cabinets, perhaps adding navy subway tiles could give your kitchen a lift without going all the way with this hue.

Navy blue entryway with white wainscoting

Navy blue walls and white wainscoting in an entryway

What a great way to use navy blue – in an entryway.  The white wainscoting keep it from being too dark.  Love the navy and white carpeting going up the stairs.

Navy walls and teal couch in the "Horchow" catalogue

The teal sofa pops in this living room

The artwork pops against this deep blue wall – but the teal sofa pops too.

Indigo in a studio of office

Deep blue for a studio or office

A deep blue is a great color to use in an office or home studio. Again, the color comes alive against the contrast of white.

Using pink as an accent color in a navy blue room

Pink is a great accent color to use in a navy blue room

Many people think that you can’t marry pink and blue in a room – but here designer Mary McDonald does it beautifully.  It makes the room less serious, doesn’t it?

Navy dining room with many other bright colors

Look how great these bright colors go with navy!

Navy blue goes so well with many other colors – you can contrast it with chartreuse, mustard, yellow, emerald, magenta, black and so many more.

Navy and white stripes on an accent wall

Navy and white horizontal stripes on an accent wall in a playroom

navy furniture is a beautiful way to use the color in your rooms

Navy blue furniture and accent pieces look great in rooms – without going overboard with this color


Bringing navy blue into your rooms with furniture painting

Add a touch of navy blue by painitng your furniture

You can add navy blue in smaller does by using it as an accent wall (as above with the horizontally striped wall by Wendy of The Shabby Nest) or in furniture and accent pieces. The last two images – the beautiful chest by Martha O’Hara Interiors and   the British flag chest painted by my new blog friend, Deny, of A Girl and a Brush give you ideas on how to incorporate this color in small ways.

Van Deusen Blue, Stunning, Old Navy by Benjamin Moore

Some of my favorite navies by Benjamin Moore: Van Deusen Blue, Stunning and Old Navy

So, whether you give it the full treatment by painting an entire room in navy blue or use it in small doses, you will love how this color can really update your space.  So – give it a try.  Personally – I really love the color because it is so dramatic. Yet,  I have only been able to convince two of my clients to do rooms in a deep cobalt blue plaster and both rooms were powder rooms – so no big commitment.  When I can get back to these homes to take proper pictures – I will publish them here.  They are both beautiful.

So, go blue!

Image credits: 1) Little Blue Deer 2) Todd Romano 3) House Beautiful 4) Emily Clarke 5) Kim Armstrong 6) Karen Soojian ASID  7) McKinley Architects 8) Michael Robert Construction 9) Horchow 10) Garrison Hullinger 11) Mary McDonald 12) BHG.com 13) The Shabby Nest 14) Martha O’Hara 15) A Girl and a Brush



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Easy Ways to Gild and Use Metallics on Moldings and Furniture

I may be impetuous most of the time but there’s one thing that I do that involves some level of organizing and planning – I make samples before going all out on a color or technique for a wall, molding or furniture. This is especially helpful if you are new to using a product.  Investing a small amount of time in testing a color, product or technique on a sample board or a piece of molding – will save you not only money but a lot of time as well. This small sample can also be useful when you go shopping.  When you’re hunting for fabrics etc, it’s easy to tote around a 3 inch molding with the color you just painted your coffee table with.

Decorative molding sample with pearl metallic and gold

Pearl base with gold metallic paint on design, then pearl stippled over it

Using Gold and Pearl Metallics: Above is a sample I did a few years ago for a client in NYC. I had to do a different finish on his crown moldings because he neglected to tell me that the moldings had about 100 layers of paint on them! You need a smooth surface for metallic paints to look great.  I wound up using a Sandstone texture on them and I made them look like limestone moldings.

Nina Campbell wallpaper with pearl and gold molding

This Nina Campbell wallpaper and my molding might make a beautiful powder room or small entryway design

Flash Gilding:  This is a gold leafing technique where you put the adhesive size on here and there (not on the entire piece) and it’s typically done with Schiabin – which are the leftover skewings from creating gold leaf.  You can use gold leaf also but you will have a lot of waste.

Flash gilding on a decorative molding

After the leaf is on and dry, you burnish it with a soft cloth first and then with a brush to get it into crevices and to wipe away the leaf that did not stick. I toned this particular sample with Dark Brown Faux Color from Faux Effects. This effect looks beautiful on carved moldings and furniture.

Nina Campbell wallpaper with flash gilded moldings

For the more dramatic, this color Nina Campbell wallpaper and a flash gilded crown molding

I had tried using metallic foils on moldings once before – at a trade show 5 or 6 years ago – so I felt it was time to do some samples with it.  I had a warm red molding collecting dust in my studio – so I figured I would try some gold on that first.

Before and after.  Leather red molding and then with the added metallic foil

For less decorative moldings, I usually just tip or highlight the edges and I make just one edge a little thicker with whatever metallic I’m using. I didn’t want it too heavy, so I sanded back a bit to distress the metallic foil.  For the thin lines, I either use a very small brush to apply the size (I used Wundasize) – and sometimes I even use the tip of my finger to apply the size. When the size comes to tack, you apply the metallic foil – with the shiny side up.  Then you apply pressure with a fairly stiff brush (I used a stencil brush) and transfer the foil to the molding. You can then antique it, like I did.

leather red molding with metallic foil, antiqued

I toned the molding with some eggplant and dark brown glaze

You can choose to have more of the gold showing but I prefer a more aged look.  I first toned it with Eggplant Faux Color from Faux Effects – but I wound up adding some Dark Brown Faux Color to mellow it a bit more.

Mood board with Robert Allen, Scalamandre and Kravet fabrics.

I pulled together some fabrics that could be used in a relaxed room with my molding sample – perhaps as a coffee table, entertainment unit or bookcase

And finally, I wanted to try the foil on a more ornate piece that was lighter in color – to see if I could get close to the flash gilding sample. Well, I learned something by doing this.  The sample I did with the metallic foil came out hardly looking like there was any gold on it at all after I toned it!  So, with lighter colors – when you are antiquing – you should put more foil on than you think.

Metallic foil on this sconce that I use as a bookend

After antiquing, you could hardly see the foil

With metallic foil, it’s very easy to go back and add more foil to a piece.  And, if you add too much, you can sand it back and antique it to push it back a bit – so I find it’s very forgiving.

Antiqued metallic foil on an ornate molding

This foil technique came close to the flash gilding technique

If the foil is too flashy, you can wax it with dark wax, which will tone it down. I’ll probably do this.

Hope you enjoyed my metallics post.  You might also enjoy my posts about using metallic foils in artwork and gilding and antiquing a Swedish clock. I love using metallics on moldings and furniture so much that I have to hold myself back sometimes so as not to do it “too much.”  Let me know how you are using metallics and foils.

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