Decorating with the color purple can be a challenge.
The first time I ever saw the color used successfully in a home was years ago on a visit to my niece. It was her first place—a little house she was renting—and she was in that exciting stage of finally having a home of her own and being able to decorate any way she wanted.
In her living room, she had a velvet sofa in a deep, rich eggplant. I was surprised. It was not something I would have ever considered buying. Yet, there it was . . . and it was gorgeous. She used pale lavender and soft greens in the room and had candles burning in the fireplace (long before I ever saw the idea in magazines). On the windows were delicate, muslin drapes with soft ribbon tabs. The effect was soothing, peaceful, zenlike—which is exactly what my niece, an holistic psychotherapist, wanted.
“I think it pisses God off if
you walk by the color purple
in a field somewhere and
don’t notice it.”
Purple is a mysterious color often associated with spirituality. It has mystical qualities and a special, almost sacred place in nature. Lavender, orchid, lilac, and violet flowers are often delicate and considered precious. A purple room can boost a child’s imagination or an artist’s creativity. Deep or bright purples suggest riches and royalty. Lighter shades are more romantic and delicate. From pale to deep, the color never fails to intrigue.
Ways to use purple in your home
Antique wood-framed chairs in an arresting blue-and-white print are paired with pale lavender and other blues in this white living room. (Photo: Virginia MacDonald, Traditional Home
This lilac-and-white bedroom was inspired by Canada’s northern light. Colette van den Thillart of NH Design custom designed the headboard. Benjamin Moore’s “Hint of Violet” is on the walls. (Photo: Virginia MacDonald, Traditional Home
Trust the color wheel—opposing colors are always complimentary like yellow and purple.
In this casual living room, a pale lavender sofa works well with the golden stonework, wicker furniture, and blue-grey chevron area rug. (Photo: Ballard Designs
In indie singer-songwriter Neko Case’s Vermont home, the living room walls are painted in Behr’s “Elm Bark.” An Anthropologie sofa is upholstered in a lively deep purple print fabric by Josef Frank. (Photo: Bjorn Wallander, Country Living
Inspiration for this peaceful bedroom came from the hydrangeas and lavender
just outside the window. (Photo: House Beautiful
Floor-to-ceiling drapes and Roman shades frame the window in this formal living room. Art pieces on the wall are antique 18th century engravings.
(Photo: Traditional Home
The only thing purple in this living room are the two toss pillows in palest shade possible.
(Photo: VT Interiors
DIY Half-Table Console
- If you don’t have a table to use, scour flea markets. Damaged or worn tables will cost drastically less than their pristine counterparts.
- Unscrew the extension mechanism from the bottom of the table. Remove the part of the table you won’t be using.
- Sand the remaining part, then prime and paint it.
- Nail or screw a two-by-two-inch piece of wood to the wall at the height of the tabletop so that the edge of the table rests on the wood support.
- Screw through the top of the table to the wood support; fill the holes with wood filler, and paint over them.
From Martha Stewart Living, March 2000
Slate-gray Lee Industries sofas and muted lavender walls in Martha Stewart’s “Saskatoon” set a soothing tone in the living room. Grosgrain ribbon and upholstery tacks give the classic sofa a cheeky update on the cheap. Toss pillows in purple prints provide perfect accents.
(Photo: Country Living
It’s rich amethyst for the rustic bedroom in this stone and timber house.
(Photo: Kocham Wieś
Floral wallpaper highlights a peaked roof and compliments the vibrantly-hued
pillow shams. (Photo: Country Living
White subway tile is paired with bright lavender walls for a fun and casual
guest bathroom. (Photo: Tria Giovan, My Home Ideas
Casual, comfortable living room with a soft lavender sofa, wall of windows, and beautiful view that pulls complimentary colors into the room. Lamps, behind the sofa, are a darker shade of purple.
(Photo: Katie Ridder
Different shades of lavender, coupled with a tan dust ruffle and lavender-and-tan plaid on the bed, work beautifully with the creamy bedroom walls. The green in the potted plant is a perfect accent. (Photo: Inspired Design
The colors in this Anthropologie bed linen offer a hint of purple.
A Belgian-linen slipcover by Bemz updates a standard Ikea sofa . . . and delivers a soft dose of color. Ceiling medallions, installed using adhesive caulk, provide a dramatic backdrop. (Photo: Country Living
In this Parisian loft, lower cabinets were finished in purple, giving the eat-in, country-style kitchen a shot of urban chic. (Photo: Apartment Therapy
Do you love the color purple? See my collection of all things purple on Pinterest. My boards are always changing as I add new and exciting things to them, so be sure to follow Our Empty Nest to get all the updates!