Purple made it back on everyone's radar thanks to Pantone naming "Radiant Orchid" the color of 2014. But don't pigeonhole purple as a one-hit-wonder. "Violets are more versatile than you may think. The softest tints speak of romance and sweetness, and the deepest shades are rich and powerful," San Francisco designer Kelly Berg says.
"Color is never viewed in a vacuum," she says. "So if you want a lavender room to be less feminine, add elements that are less girly, such as black-and-white photography, industrial pieces, and streamlined furniture."
Purple is versatile because it is a mix of red and blue, and the exact color can vary based on the ratio of red to blue. More blue means a cooler color, which is the story of these brilliant amethyst purples. To get this earthy color right, be careful not to go too red. "Red becomes mauve," Boston-area interior designer Liz Caan says. "You need to stay on the blue side of things, which feels cool."
Depending on the time of day and exposure to natural light, purple can take on different appearances. Before painting your room, apply a sample to a wall in the room you are going to paint. With all painting endeavors, monitor the section of paint at different times throughout the day, if possible, to see how -- if at all -- the color shifts.
Feeling bold? It’s not for everyone, but sometimes a little drama can be just what your space needs. Go bold on two fronts using a super-saturated purple alongside yellow for a complementary color palette. Purple and yellow are opposite each other on the color wheel, and when paired, the differences of the hues create a dynamic energy in a space that demands attention.
If you're not ready to commit to an entire room of purple, employ the color as an accent. In this bedroom, a block of lavender behind the bed draws attention to the beautifully dressed bed. The purple is tempered by sweet pink and golden yellows.
Consider a saturated purple where you might otherwise use red, Berg says. On dining room walls, it has a similar rich, traditional look and cozy feel but offers a bit of surprise. In this dining room a bordeaux color with warm undertones is advanced by similarly warm, red draperies and creamy whites.
Another way to ease into a bold color is to use a neutral with undertones of the color in question. Here, purple undertones take this gray a step beyond plain Jane. Warm, pale yellows and mossy green accents punch up the neutral, while plum accents draw out the purple undertones of the wall color.
It's not in your face, but mauve has subtle impact, which can go a long way when used on more than one wall. Add in deeper and stronger versions of the color in a lamp or pillow to drive the color mission home, but remember smooth surfaces that echo the hue and nature-centric pieces that warm up the space act as the best accents, rather than additional large pieces (such as upholstered furniture or window treatments).
Pale purple thrives in natural light with clean white at the palette’s core. Include trendy-but-classic chrome accents to up the style and create a polished appearance.
Crisp white and pale green accents balance out the rich purple-brown of this room. The raisin hue stands out but doesn't feel overbearing thanks to a clean and simple white ceiling.
Are you on the fence about purple? Here's why you should embrace it now and how to make it livable and lovable.