Style Watch

How to pull off navy blue walls

Crisp white molding and trim really stands out and helps create a living room with character.

jessica delaney
Jessica Delaney

The new owners of this Cape Cod-style house in Milton balked when interior designer Beth Bourque suggested painting the walls of their living room navy blue. “They had done their previous house in different shades of gray,” says Bourque. “I encouraged them to go outside their comfort zone here.” After seeing photos of darker painted rooms, the homeowners, a young couple with a baby, relented. And they’re glad they did. Bourque worked with them to select furniture with modern flair that suits the architecture of the house, along with accents and art that feel personal. “The navy walls work well, since the room is big, and the crisp white moldings and trim really stand out,” says Bourque. “It’s a comfortable space with a lot of character.”

1. Rather than hanging above the mantel, a large brass Pottery Barn mirror leans against the wall, painted Benjamin Moore Hale Navy.

2. The dated brick fireplace mantel and surround were painted white to create a high-contrast modern effect.


3. The built-in bookcases were originally wood paneled with scalloped edging that dated to the home’s construction, in the 1960s. “It was very traditional molding. We had it removed and replaced the inside with plaster for a cleaner look,” says Bourque. Shelves display books and mementos.

4. An abstract print from IKEA featuring metallic hues draws the eye up.

5. Two West Elm sofas, upholstered in neutral linen tweed, were chosen for durability. “They’ll stand up to kids and the family dog for a long time,” says Bourque.

6. Scored at HomeGoods, throw pillows in various colors, patterns, and fabrics add pop without busting the budget.

7. The Horchow coffee table has a woven rattan top, adding a layer of textural interest.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

8. Abstract black-and-white sketches are from Crate & Barrel.

9. Brass-and-marble lamps were a HomeGoods find. “We used gold and brass finishes in the room, along with some silver,” says Bourque. “The intent was to mix different finishes to create a more eclectic, curated space.”

10. A rustic wood Restoration Hardware console table provides a place to set up a bar area.

11. A small Serena & Lily stool, usually a plant stand, serves as extra seating in a pinch.