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Sherwin Williams Naval

Named Sherwin Williams’ paint color of the year in 2020, Sherwin Williams Naval is a rich navy blue hue that’s popular for built ins, kitchen cabinets and even whole rooms.

Considering this dark color? Check out my expert paint color review to see if it will work well in your home.

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What color is Sherwin Williams Naval?

Naval is a true dark navy paint color. A lot of blue paint colors tend to get into the blue-green color territory pretty fast or can even land in the dark gray blue or blue black colour family, but what I like about Naval is the fact that it’s a true deep navy.

If you’re looking for something that screams nautical or just want a true navy, Sherwin Williams Naval should be at the top of your list.

What’s the difference between Hale Navy and Naval?

Ben Moore Hale Navy is noticeably darker and has a charcoal undertone, which almost gives the color a smokey appearance, while Naval is a true navy blue, without a black or charcoal undertone.

Anytime someone is considering either Hale Navy or Naval they tend to be very caught up in the key difference between these two colors. These colors are honestly not very a like at all. They get compared simply because they are very well known colors at different paint color brands. Naval is a Sherwin Williams color, while Hale Navy is a Benjamin Moore color.

The overall read of Hale Navy is much more dark and dramatic than Naval and the two colors give off quite a different hue. Hale Navy is so dark that in rooms that don’t receive a lot of natural light this color will almost come across as black.

What colors go with Naval?

Blue tones like Naval really work well in a wide variety of settings. I like pairing navy with terra cotta colors or blue and blue-green hues.

In terms of neutral colors, neutral beige tones work well here as do crisp whites and cool grays. I’ll give a few examples of my favorite pairings and explain why they work with Naval below:

Revere Pewter: Revere Pewter is technically a gray with a green undertone, making it a very easy-to-work-with color, and works as a fabulous complement to Naval. SW Accessible Beige would also pair nicely, here.

Gray Owl: Gray Owl is one of the lightest gray paint colors, but this one really works well with Naval because it has a blue undertone.

Van Cortland Blue: Ben Moore van Cortland blue is a really pretty medium toned blue. I love pairing Naval with light to medium blues for a tone on tone look.

Baked Clay: Sherwin Williams Baked Clay is the quintessential terracotta paint color and looks stunning when paired with a deep navy.

Note: Gray paint colors will often be paired with Naval and not all of these work as well. Gray paint colors have either blue, purple green or a combination of two or more of these undertones. Ideally you’ll want to choose gray paint colors with a blue undertone in them to pair the best with Naval.

Gray paint colors with a green undertone will work, too, but some won’t look quite as good as grays with blue undertones.

What trim color pairs best with Naval?

I find that whites free of undertones pair best with Naval. I like Ben Moore Chantilly Lace or Sherwin Williams High Reflective White.

The world of whites is complex to say the least and Naval looks best with a crisp white or an off-white with a greige/gray undertone to it. Off-whites that are too creamy won’t give that stark contrast that looks so clean between a navy and white paint color, so make sure you pay attention to the undertone of the white you’re selecting.

You can read more about some of the best white paint colors I recommend here.

Tips for using Naval in your home

Don’t make a paint color mistake when you follow these guidelines:

Observe your light

Naval is a dark paint color, which means it will look very dark and possibly even like a soft black in the absence of a lot of natural light.

I just had a client that had used Naval in her baby boy’s nursery and was unhappy with how dark it turned out. Her little boy’s room was in the back of the house, opposite the sun with just one small window, so no wonder it was too dark.

In situations like this where you really want navy but your room is opposite the sun and doesn’t have a lot of opportunities for light, you really have to go significantly lighter to achieve that navy blue look that doesn’t go black.

In this case we actually went with Van Deusen Blue (which I’ve reviewed before on the blog) and she was much happier.

Pay attention to your decor

Blue tends to work well with most colors, but when painting with saturated colors, it looks the best to have the hue repeated in the room at least a few other times in various sizes. If Naval is the only blue you’re going to have in your room, perhaps rethink your color decision.

Test it out

This will be perhaps the most important advice I can give you. Test out your colors before committing. When you do this properly, and follow the guidelines in my post about choosing the right paint color, you really can’t go wrong.

I use the peel and stick samples to test out my paint colors. As soon as I get them, I place them on pure white poster board. The reason you want this is because you don’t want any other color impacting the color you’re looking at. Next hold the poster board up to the wall and observe.

It’s also a good idea to look at several different hues in the color family so that you can compare the to each other, easily identify undertones and see which ones are darker, lighter, etc. Comparing colors to each other is the best way to really get a feel for the color.

If you really want to go with Naval, I’d order or test out Hale Navy, Van Courtland Blue, Charcoal Blue, Indigo Batik, Old Navy, Needlepoint Navy and In the Navy. This should give you a really good feel for the color and help you pick the right one for your space.

If you didn’t like Naval as much as you thought you would, bookmark my post on dark blue paint colors and see if any of those work for you.

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  1. I just painted my grandchildren’s bedroom/playroom SW Fluer de Sel. I love the color! It is a room with southern exposure. There is a bookcase with open shelves that I’d love to paint SW Naval…one of my very favorite colors! Would that look ok? There is a daybed in the room that is dark wood and black iron that I have no idea what color to paint it. Thank you!