A Hint of Purple

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.” —Alice Walker Tweet this quote

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

click photos for larger views and slideshow
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)

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. That's Benjamin Moore's "Hint of Violet" on the walls. (Photo: Virginia MacDonald)

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)

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)

Purple living room in indie singer-songwriter Neko Case's Vermont home. (Photo: Bjorn Wallander)

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)

Stunning watercolor wall is by Eileen Kathryn Boyd. (Photo: Eileen Kathryn Boyd Interiors)

Stunning watercolor wall is by Eileen Kathryn Boyd
(Photo: Eileen Kathryn Boyd Interiors)

Inspiration for this peaceful bedroom came from the hydrangeas and lavender just outside the window. (Photo: House Beautiful)

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)

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)

The only thing purple in this living room are the two toss pillows in palest shade possible.
(Photo: VT Interiors)

DIY Half-Table Console

  1. DIY Half-table console. (Photo: Martha Stewart)If you don’t have a table to use, scour flea markets. Damaged or worn tables will cost drastically less than their pristine counterparts.
  2. Unscrew the extension mechanism from the bottom of the table. Remove the part of the table you won’t be using.
  3. Sand the remaining part, then prime and paint it.
  4. 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.
  5. 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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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. (Photo: Anthropologie)

The colors in this Anthropologie bed linen offer a hint of purple.
(Photo: Anthropologie)

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)

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)

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)

If all you want is a subtle bit of purple, try flowers. (Photo: The Cherry Blossom Girl)

If all you want is a subtle bit of purple, try flowers.
(Photo: The Cherry Blossom Girl)

Lovely Lavender.

Lovely Lavender

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!

Posted by

Patricia

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