Decorating with Purple

From deep eggplant to pale lavender, purple is a versatile color that looks great in most rooms. Use it to add drama, ground a bright color scheme, or bring in glamour through accents.

Debra Wittrup

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Bright Spot
Better Your Bed

    A hard, angular wood bed frame disappears under layers of soft color and texture in this master bedroom. Heather-hued walls provide a deep backdrop for colorful artwork and fabulous fabrics. An intermingling of purple tints and shades on bedding and pillows puts the focus on the soft elements in the space. Complementary yellow appears in the buttery curtain panels and framed mats. Shapely green lamps with romantic damask drum shades add a feminine touch.

Plum Pretty

    A color makeover can be as simple as adding a few strategically placed accents and embellishments, as this formerly neutral sitting area proves. A solid plum pillow gets a touch of luxury with wraps of purple silk and velvet scarves. The flower pin adds contrast and additional dimension. A plain shade gets a custom treatment with a geometric painted design in plum paired with coordinating drapery panels. An old side table gets a color update with a decoupage treatment that introduces a bold floral pattern in plum, fuchsia, and pink.

Costume Jewelry

    Warm up a space with rich jewel tones. Amethyst and citrine bring that want-to-cuddle feeling to this family room, while texture plays its part in adding interest to the space. The golden leather chair is cool and smooth against a fluffy rug, wicker baskets, and the masculine wood grain of the antique trunk. If your furniture is solid-color, as seen here, spice it up with pillows or throws in damasks, checks, or florals. If upholstery is patterned, add contrast with solid, deep-color pillows.

Thoroughly Modern

    Bold purple combines with sleek lines and finishes in a contemporary kitchen that's a feast for the eyes. Dark stained walnut cabinetry helps to absorb the intensity of the purple-saturated wall paint. The blazing white tile backsplash and quartz-surfacing countertops reflect light and brighten the kitchen?s deep tones.

Airy Elegance

    The whisper of orchid mauve mingled with white creates a uniquely restful scheme for a master bedroom. Custom white millwork deepens and enhances the heathery quality of the walls washed with a metallic sheen. The contrast delivers a fresh take on tradition and accentuates architectural details. Textural textiles add depth to the palette with a deep purple quilted coverlet, window seat cushion and pillows, and floral rug. Deep, dark chocolate-color flooring grounds an otherwise airy palette of lightly luscious color.

Purple Passion

    Soft lavender-gray walls with white trim accents combine with comfy furnishings in deep purple to set a sensuous mood. The approach is simple: Use neutrals for the base, then bring on the stunning, precisely placed objects of color. Here and there, hot hits of contrasting warmth -- a vase of red roses and a crimson throw -- grab the eye and enliven the room. This approach makes it easy to change the look of the room seasonally or even day to day by swapping out accent pieces.

Grown-Up Pastels

    The mix of colors in this pretty bedroom stays restful because all of the hues are more or less the same intensity. The wall color comes from the lilac detail in the comforter, and the shams and bedside table are the same apple green. Pastels can slip easily into kiddie territory. If that's not your goal, cut the sweetness of the colors with plenty of neutrals -- a braided rug, an oatmeal-color throw, and woven baskets.

Dynamic Play

    What makes this color combo -- purple-gray and yellow -- work is the dynamic play of light and dark. A sophisticated gray with purple tones for the walls means the other elements of the room had to be light or bright: complementary butter-yellow drapery panels, off-white sectional, and cream rug tiles. Green and eggplant accents keep it lively.

Cottage Color

    If you love cottage style but prefer walls with color, don't be afraid to update the look with swaths of pure color instead of the usual whites and creams. Beaded-board walls and ceiling and crisp white trim provide the distinctly cottage flavor, but the vivid lavender color is anything but predictable. White tufted armchairs get back to neutral territory but with pretty details: lavender buttons and cushion piping. Green accent pillows and rug echo the lush foliage outside the windows.

Luscious Dining

    Aubergine, cream, and burnt orange combine to create a dramatically rich color palette for this dining room. Eggplant purple coats the upper walls and adds lush sophistication to a dining banquette. Deep orange drapery panels flank the windows and match an accent pillow on the bench. To ensure the room remains inviting, creamy upholstery covers the dining chairs and a mother of pearl drum shade shimmers over head. Wainscoting, trim, and ceiling in white keep the space light.

Cozy Bedroom

    Purple-red gives this bedroom a cozy starting point. Pastel bedding and white accents lighten the look. The headboard pulls it all together with a section of patterned fabric that contains all the colors of the room. A shiny silver nightstand adds a touch of glamour.

Royal Treatment

    Deep violet walls create a dramatic dining room where guests are sure to linger. The regal hue fills the space, covering moldings and window trim in its rush to the white ceiling. Corner cabinets are painted to match the walls, but inside they sparkle with golden light, highlighting the treasures within. Champagne tints glimmer in the subtly patterned rug and the simple chandelier overhead. Chairs are upholstered in nubby gold fabric, and shimmering silk plaid draperies present the two hues beautifully intertwined.

Accent on Color

    Achieving a unified yet lively color scheme is simpler than it looks. Choose two hues from a color card -- in this bedroom two shades of lavender provide the main colors on walls and bedding. Then choose a third color that harmonizes with the main color. Here, coral pink sheets add a little warmth to the lavender mix. Finally, bring in an accent color that challenges your main hue. In this case, varying shades of warm bronze oppose the cool lavender.

Beautiful Blend

    Dark raisin-color walls embrace the furnishings in this master bedroom, inviting brighter and lighter colors to shine. Aqua and ivy green gambol over the bedding and interact in the carpet tiles on the floor. Green-gold drapery panels frame the window and the bed. Pops of orange enliven the color palette even further.

Pick the Right Accents

    Interior designer Elaine Griffin suggests pairing purple with green, turquoise, gold, or orange. These hues can range from light to dark, depending on the shade of purple. In this bedroom, lavender walls call for throw pillows in light green, butter yellow, and apricot.

Flow of Color

    Neutral walls provide a firm foundation for surges of color around this bedroom. Solid-color pillows and shams in deep teal, lime, and a heathery shade of purple top a purple-and-white toile coverlet. A matching purple velvet quilt drapes the end of the bed. On either side, deep orange lampshades float above the nightstands for an injection of warm color in the cool mix. Over the bed, a triptych of purple wallpaper-matted photographs takes the color scheme onto the neutral wall.

Dark and Light

    As this opulent bath shows, you can go with dark cabinets and deep color without getting gloomy. The pairing of dusky amethyst walls and coffee-color cabinets works beautifully because of white, iridescent, and clear glass tiles paired with expansive mirrors, white plumbing fixtures, and glittering marble countertops.

Glamorous Purple

    Purple creates feelings of luxury and warmth. These are great attributes for a formal dining room. To keep the room from looking too dark, bright white crown molding and window frames break up the rich hue. Plush dining chairs continue the luxurious feel, with tan upholstery that adds another touch of lightness. The area rug contains all the colors, pulling the various hues together.

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