Color of the Month: PURPLE

Rachel Perls, our visiting color expert from Hue Consulting, is back to talk about the decor8 color of the month: Purple!


I have to admit, it was hard for me to select purple because I'm not drawn to it and actually own nothing violet in my home or closet. I think that if there's one thing design blogging has taught me, it's to have an open mind and to experiment more with color. For me, this is my big step into the unknown, my way of experimenting with violet a little bit. I rarely show anything violet on this blog so I'm stepping up and embracing all things purple today. Now let's see what Rachel has to teach us about this rich, regal hue. Take it away, Rachel!

Color of the Month: PURPLE
By: Rachel Perls, decor8 contributor

Ah, the ever-elusive purple, such a misunderstood color*. It makes sense; after-all, it?s composed of two completely opposing colors, red and blue. Dark purples express warmth and sophistication for the winter. In fact, its association with royalty stems back to ancient times when purple dye was very expensive, so only nobles, kings, and queens could afford it. Brighter purples and lilacs express a fresh playfulness for the spring and summer.

Uplifting, spiritual, and mystical, purple has positive associations for Americans. But be careful about how you use it in Europe, as certain shades are powerfully aligned with death for Catholics there. Case in point: the original Euro Disney signs were purple, and visitors perceived them as morbid. Definitely not the impression Disney intended to give.

When it has warm undertones, purple is more closely aligned with the dynamic energy of red. Those with cooler undertones are connected with contemplative, calming blue. Periwinkle is a very blue-based purple. Paired with crisp whites, this room feel very fresh and spring-like. No wonder people have such a hard time interpreting what purple stands for. This can work to purple?s advantage when blue or red just doesn?t fit the bill. (Images from GV Interiors and Gundrun Sjoden.)

What comes to mind when you think of the color purple? For me, it?s my favorite 80?s music icon, Prince. Now there was a man who knew how to take a color, and make it all his own: creative, eccentric, passionate, complex. This kitchen in a house in Mexico can take the saturated hues because of the intense light these southern regions get. It?s important to look at what kind of light your space gets, and chose colors that can hold up in that specific context. (Images from Amazon and SaidAlice on Flickr)


A truly trendy color this season, purple has made its grand entrance into the marketplace through fashion, interior accessories, textiles and beauty products. Purple has infused the market, appealing to women and their eternal quest for beauty. It is truly a hip color for the season in fashion. It's one of those colors that will last throughout the year because it can change with and adapt to the seasons. (Images from Saks, Tory Burch, various ads online)

This serene space (top left) doesn?t need any embellishments. The large areas of color on the walls keep the room clean and modern. I think this dining room set is so classy, pairing sleek modern lines with a rich textured purple fabric and intricately patterned back. Can you just imagine lounging in this luxurious lilac lavatory? (Images from Domino and Homes + Gardens)

Once relegated to fragile old women, designers now embrace lavender as a calming, feminine, luxuriously soft tone. Purple can be understated and sophisticated when it takes on more of a dusty mauve tone. (Image from Homes and Gardens)

The kitchen is a fun, surprising spot for purple. I have always loved these soft lilac cabinets. Doesn't this look like a fun spot to prepare a meal? (Image from Sunset)

Purple can be brought into your d?cor through artwork, flowers, pillows, candles, so many accessories, so little time! (Image from Location Works)

Purple can be incorporated into outdoor living spaces, too, through natural elements like flowers. Isn?t this wisteria vine gorgeous? (Image from Domino)

..or even an over-the-top bathtub! Wow. Would you dare to go this bold in your bathroom? (Image from Bolig)

Purple is a malleable color, so put your own creative spin on it to suit your personal taste. Go forth, dare to explore the color purple in all its tints and tones. As you can see, the options are endless. Have fun! - Rachel Perls

*A footnote on terminology: purple is an imprecise term for both mixtures of red and blue and pure colors in the violet range of the spectrum. Read more here on purple versus violet: violet is spectral; purple is extraspectral.

Thanks, Rachel! For more color-inspired posts, please visit previous posts on Red, Blue, Yellow, and Green. In June, we'll be learning about Orange, so stay tuned. (We usually do our color of the month posts here mid month.) I'll be back with more purple inspiration of my own later on today...

(top images from Living At Home and Living Etc.)