Navy vs Indigo vs Blue - What Are The Differences?

How can you tell the difference between navy, indigo, or blue, and which one should you choose? This article will discuss these three colors with a side-by-side comparison helping you decide which one is best for you.

Navy vs indigo vs blue paint colors infographic

Navy vs Indigo vs Blue Paint Colors

Blue is the color of sky and sea. It’s also a color connected with loyalty, such as “true blue” and sincerity.

Religious imagery of people of power is connected with red or purple, but in the European tradition, female saints such as the Virgin Mary always wear blue.

In the landscape, blue flowers are rare and treasured. In your home, blue tones can create a sense of peace and calm.

navy, indigo, blue wall art under lights


The color Navy got its name from its use in sailors’ uniforms. Navy is a staple in many wardrobes, both in men’s suits and in women’s business dresses and suits.

navy color wall art under lights

One of the challenges with navy is that it can look either black or blue depending on what you pair it with.

If you have a navy garment that you can’t seem to decide on, pair it with cream or ivory and add a pop of burgundy to your outfit.

The cream tone will contrast with the blue and the blue mixed into the burgundy will guide the eye to see blue instead of black.

In your home, a little navy can go a long way. It’s a nice addition to an accent wall, but a full navy paint job could feel more like a cave than a quiet, homey room.

It can be tempting to pair navy with grey, but take care to use a blue-based grey or stick with a silver tone.

If you want a neutral to really make your navy stand out, consider either a mauve (which contains blue) or a warm tan for the contrasting yellow to draw out the blue.

navy,indigo,blue colors wall art

If you choose to use navy on the walls, go for something light on the floor.

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A pale maple wooden plank floor could forever solve the question of “is that blue or black?” when referring to your navy accent wall.

This color works very well in crisp, straight lines; if you’re considering adding a chair rail or wainscoting in a creamy white, navy up above would be an excellent choice.

HEX COLOR: #202A44
RGB: 32,42,68

navy color wall art above a desk


The dyes that make up the color we know as indigo indicated in India, in what is now known as the Indus Valley.

indigo color wall art under lights

Gaining access to the plant from which indigo was harvested was actually important in the spread of the African slave trade.

Until synthetic dyes were created in 1856, the ability to create and fix color was both dangerous and labor-intensive.

Indigo is a simple combination of two parts blue to one part red, give or take. Remember that equal parts blue and red make purple if you plan to use indigo in your decorating palette.

If you have an indigo wall that turns purple in the sunset, the color is behaving as it should, but if it’s purple all the time you may have to swap out your red cushions and throw for something in the yellow color family.

It’s highly unlikely that indigo will ever read black as navy sometimes can.

The color indigo is tied to the third eye chakra in the Hindu tradition. This color would make a wonderful accent wall in your meditation room or crafting space.

It pairs beautifully with plain white paint and needs no yellow to draw out the blue.

You may also find this color a help in your home office space if you work in the creative industry or have to do a lot of synthesizing in your profession.

HEX COLOR: #4B0082
RGB: 75,0,130

indigo wall art above a desk


Straight-up 255 on the RBG scale is a very intense color. The name itself comes from the old French “bleu”.

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blue color wall art under lights

It is interesting to note that someone with “blue blood” is considered to be high up in the societal echelon, but if you use “blue language” you could quickly fall out of favor!

It seems that the connection between the color blue and coarseness or crassness bloomed when blue was the assigned color of laborers; hence, the blue-collar connection.

On the color wheel that shows both coordinating and contrasting colors, the opposite of this clear blue is orange.

Pairing the hot color of orange with the cool tone of blue could be a bit intense in your decorating scheme.

However, if you love orange, you could enjoy the contrast by lightening the blue, which would maintain the color purity while backing off the intensity of tone.

Another option is to change up the placement. Consider a pale blue ceiling in a room with white walls. This would open up the space, especially if you used a white-bladed ceiling fan for a crisp look and a lot of air movement.

Both peach and a more intense orange could easily work in this space. Be aware that this area might be relaxed, but it may never have a terribly cozy feel.

One of the challenges of decorating with any of the pure 255 colors of red, blue, or green is that most other colors bump up against them rather than working with them.

Cream works with navy because the yellow in the cream color it enhances the blue pigment. Cream against pure blue is just a tired yellow. If you’re considering decorating with pure 255 colors, be ready for the space to be dominated by that color and plan accordingly.

It will be a space of contrasts, which can be energizing, but it may not be a terribly relaxing space.

RGB: (0,0,255)

blue color wall art above a desk

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