Decorating with purple

Purple is an extremely versatile colour that can be flamboyant or understated depending on the tone used and the colours it is paired with. It has historic associations with wealth and royalty, so bringing purple into your colour scheme will give your interior a sense of opulence.

Harmonising schemes with purple
To create a harmonious room, team purple with colours adjacent to it on the colour wheel, for example plum, burgundy, magenta and chocolate brown. Moving in the other direction around the wheel, you can use deep purple with navy, royal blue and cyan. For a more subdued colour scheme, use toned-down shades of the same harmonious colours. Using the colour wheel, choose a fainter shade of purple and then select the adjacent harmonious colours from the same ring to ensure they are of the same intensity and create balance. These schemes work best when you don't use all the colours in equal measure, so save the brightest colour for an uplifting accent.

If you want to incorporate wallpaper or patterned fabrics, opt for gentle floral designs or simple geometric patterns. Use soft furnishings such as bed linen, throws and rugs to bring the component colours into the scheme.

Purple in a contrasting scheme
For a modern and flamboyant use of purple, team it with accents from the opposite side of the colour wheel. Use purple alongside either a splash of yellow, a bright orange or a hot pink, but don't try to use all the colours together. Paler shades can also work well in a contrasting scheme, and nature is a fantastic source of inspiration. Think of lavender fields and how the purple flowers complement the light green plants. Clashing colours like purple and red can also create a striking look in the right shades with many contemporary wallpapers harnessing these powerful combinations. Dramatic colours work best in larger scale floral prints or bold geometric patterns.

When using a complementary or contrasting scheme, try painting three walls plain purple and papering a feature wall with a print that combines purple and a contrasting colour. Pick the accent colour up again in smaller objects like coloured glass candle holders and chandeliers, but keep it to no more than 10 per cent of your overall scheme.

Alternatively paint all the walls purple and use the contrasting colour for one statement item of furniture that you really want to stand out such as a designer sofa.

Purple in a tonal scheme
For a calming, tonal colour scheme opt for three shades of the same colour. These will sit on the same segment of the colour wheel and get progressively lighter as the colour is mixed with greater quantities of white. Add interest to a tonal scheme with different textures, like a sheepskin rug, satin cushions or quilted throw.

This subtle combination of colours is ideal for creating a peaceful atmosphere in a room like a study or guest bedroom where you do not want an overpowering scheme. Use a neutral colour like grey for the carpet and white for the ceiling to make the room feel as spacious as possible. Silver can also lift a more subdued scheme and works particularly well with purple. Look for some elegant candlesticks or silver-sequined scatter cushions. Use plenty of mirrors and other reflective surfaces to give the room depth.


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