From pastels and soft tones to deep and vibrant shades, the color purple takes many forms. When used correctly in interior design, it can provoke a beautiful and refreshing mood. Keep reading for helpful design tips on how to incorporate the royal color purple into your design plans.
One of the most recognized associations of the color purple is royalty, dating back to the ancient times when kings and queens were plentiful. The color purple was not only extremely difficult to come by, but the process was laborious and, hence, expensive.
The purple dye was also known as Tyrian purple. The dye "came from a species of sea snail known as Bolinus brandaris, and it was so exceedingly rare that it became worth its weight in gold" (The History Channel). The dye-makers went through over 250,000 mollusks to create one ounce of the dye pigment, which was no easy feat as the "dye-makers had to crack open the snail's shell, extract a purple-producing mucus and expose it to sunlight for a precise amount of time." As a result, the color was so hard to come by; it simply was reserved for those who could afford it.
Queen Elizabeth even went so far as to put laws in place that limited the color to be worn by only those related to the royal family as it was not only to be seen as an indication of wealth but that of royal status (livescience.com). Because of the royal connection, purple was often paired with gold leaf — a combination still championed by many sports teams. Thankfully today, after the rise of synthetic dyes, we all now get to enjoy the color.
Purple is a secondary color that sits right between two of the three primary colors, red and blue. Purple is commonly associated with luxury, magic, and creativity. However, the color also gives an air of mystery since it balances the connotations of red. The color purple treads "a cryptic middle ground. While light purple can evoke feelings of romance and nostalgia, darker purples can feel gloomier, moodier, and provoke feelings of sadness and frustration" (Shutterstock.com). Further than the psychological reactions to the color purple, plenty of cultural meanings also have weighed on how we perceive the color.
If your initial gut reaction is, "I love purple, but don't want to give off princess vibes!", we have you covered. If you want the vibe of your house to remain calm, you should stick with lighter tones of purple, like lilac or a lavender. If you are aiming for a more regal and refined look, opting for more jewel-toned hues, like a plum or an aubergine, would be best.
The best part about working with colors is finding interesting combinations of shades that complement one another—doing so can develop visual interest and tell a story for yourself or a client. Here are some of our favorite purple pairings.
Green works perfectly with purple because they are equidistant on the color wheel, making them triadic. Playing with shades and tones of the colors can help make purple the main character of the room or draw attention to it. For example, if you have a dusty lavender and an avocado green, it will be soothing to the eyes. However, if you pair avocado green with a darker shade of purple, it will dominate as the focal point of the room, much like in the below photo.
Orange and purple make quite the mod pairing! The color orange is also triadic as it sits on the other end of purple, equidistant from green. It is a lovely combination reminiscent of beautiful sunsets with a gradient of purples, pinks, corals, and orange. Coral and lavender make a particularly striking pair, as illustrated by Kelly Wearstler in the image below. However, you can also play with darker hues. For example, a lilac looks lovely against bright orange as well.
If a moody room is your vibe, don't be afraid to tap into the red and blue colors in the form of art or accessories. It can evoke nostalgic feelings and would make a beautiful color combination for a den or library; make sure there is good light coming in so it feels cozy and not like a cave.
Photo Credit: (Left) Sight Unseen
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