SW Naval vs BM Hale Navy


SOURCE: Bria Hammel

If you’ve been looking for the very best navy paint you’ve likely already been introduced to both Sherwin Williams Naval and Benjamin Moore Hale Navy. These are two of the very best you’ll find. But if you can’t decide between these two beauties you might want to learn a bit more about each of them. We’re doing that today and I’m going to share everything I know about these two heavy weights.






Undertones and Your Navy Paint Selection

The main reason we experience issues with paint is because of the undertones. What looks great in the paint store under their bright light might look like a completely different colour in your own home. This is usually because of the undertones and while it’s most impacted when using a neutral paint colour it can happen with dark colours as well. 



What to Know About Undertones – Hale Navy

SOURCE: The Phinery

I consider this colour to be a dark neutral and like any other neutral we have to be most concerned about undertones. Hale Navy doesn’t have any distinctive undertones that will come out and fight with other materials in your space. It looks navy regardless of what you place it beside. Most commonly you’ll find that a navy paint may show undertones of purple or green but not with this one. This is one of the reasons for its popularity. It’s a trustworthy colour that always looks the same.



What to Know About Undertones – Naval

SOURCE: Heathered Nest

While I do consider Naval to be a perfect navy paint as well it does have some subtle undertones that you’ll need to be aware of. There’s a slight green undertone as well as a hint of gray. The gray helps to keep navy from looking like it’s for a child’s room so don’t worry about that. Its presence actually enhances this colour.

If you have a ton of natural light coming into the space you’ll likely be seeing some of that green peak through so keep that in mind. 


Lighting and Your Navy Paint Selection

It’s next to impossible to truly understand a colour until you’ve seen it in various lighting conditions. As you probably know a paint is composed of several colours mixed together to create that one unique colour. Any of those seemingly insignificant colours can affect what we see. For instance, just a drop of dark green can bring that green tint to the surface under some light. 

You always want to view your colour choices during daytime, afternoon and night light so you know what you’ll be getting into.


How Lighting Affects Hale Navy

SOURCE: Arched Manor

One of my concerns when selecting a dark, deeply saturated paint colour for my clients is how it will adjust to different lighting conditions. Not to worry with this one because it stays deep and dark even when you have loads of bright light pouring into your space.

Hale Navy is the epitome of a perfect navy blue. Regardless of the lighting in your space it manages to look quite consistent. You won’t have too much concern even with large windows that let in lots of natural light. And it won’t change with the morning or evening light the way that lighter shades will tend to do.


How Lighting Affects Naval

SOURCE: Sherwin Williams

Naval does well in most lighting conditions but I’d be aware if you have a room that’s south facing. The immense afternoon light means your beautiful dark blue will possibly look washed out and it’s also where you’ll start to see the undertones appear. If you do have a southern exposure you might be happier using Hale Navy which holds its own even in the brightest light.

As for the other exposures, Naval looks its best and would be a perfect choice for east, west and north facing rooms.


Best Paint Pairings for Navy Blue

You might think you’re limited to white when using navy blue but it’s much more flexible than that. While I do think there’s nothing more classic than a white and navy blue combination, it’s not your only option. 

Navy looks wonderful with any shade of beige, taupe or sand and this will be less expected than white. Other than that, navy actually works really well with just about anything you want to use. 

Yellow, pink and orange are beautiful pairings if you want to add a bold and colourful pop to your space. Equally it can handle working alongside green, burgundy, brown and even black. Truly there’s nothing that doesn’t look great beside navy.


What to Pair with Hale Navy

SOURCE: Painted by Kayla Payne

Hale Navy looks great with a warm white. I love it with Benjamin Moore Simply White, Swiss Coffee and White Dove. If you’re painting your walls with Hale Navy these whites will look great on trim and doors and be a timeless classic.

For a more modern look you can use a taupe like Edgecomb Gray, Wickham Gray or Pale Oak. These colours are a beautiful pairing because they’re all muted, warm colours just like Hale Navy.

As I mentioned above, Hale Navy can handle even bright, bold colours but I’d use those sparingly. Use pillows, throws and artwork instead of painting walls and doors in bold, bright colours.


What to Pair with Naval

SOURCE: Steven Ford Interiors

Naval also looks great with bright white. Some of the best pairings I’ve seen have been alongside Sherwin Williams Pure White and Extra White.

And just like Hale Navy, Naval also looks wonderful beside greige, taupe or gray paint colours. My favourites are Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray and Rice Grain.


Where to Use Navy Paint

SOURCE: View Along the Way

Navy paint can be used almost everywhere in your home. In fact, I can’t think of a single place I wouldn’t use it. Walls, doors, cabinetry and even ceilings look great with this colour. 

In case you’re wondering how I feel about navy paint for the exterior of your home I am a huge fan. I think this is a warm and welcoming colour that you could use for your entire exterior or just a front door.

If you have a red brick home I’ve written about my favourite paint colours that work well with brick. You can read about how I would use Hale Navy beside red brick here.

PRO TIP: Always sample your paint before you commit to buying and painting your whole space. You want to see it under various lighting conditions so don’t rush this decision.

Let me know which is your favourite navy paint colour. Or if you have another favourite not mentioned here I’d love to hear about that as well.

And if you’re struggling with selecting paint colours on your own, contact me. I can help you pick colours that work with your home and will be perfect the first time. 


If you know your design style but you struggle with which paint to use, take a look at my Made-For-You paint palettes. They take the guesswork out and give you the confidence to get started.


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