Decorating with… Purple!

By Kate Riley August 8, 2013

This time of year always gets me thinking about the color purple. With fall fashions and home decor often featuring various shades of this hue it can’t help but come to mind with the arrival of catalogs and campaigns. It’s an especially popular color in my area since harvest is on its way and we’re seeing the grapes turn this month. I also just finished a dining room space that includes several shades of this hue in the design, reveal coming next week.

Today I hopped across the color wheel in the continuing Color Series to focus on this dramatic color and its various alluring shades that include deeper aubergine and paler lilacs and lavender. First up, paint on the walls, when does it work? In formal spaces such as dining and living rooms, dark and moody shades of purple are a sophisticated choice.

plum paint on wall

Laura U Design

deep plum walls in dining room bhg

Better Homes & Gardens

Refined purple grounds white in a bedroom or living space, adding beautiful contrast.

plum and white bedroom lisa gutow

Lisa Gutow Design

purple paint on walls bhg

Better Homes & Gardens


Have you considered a shade for your bathroom or laundry room?

plum paint laundry room

Precision Cabinets

purple in bathroom bhg

Better Homes & Gardens


Purple is a popular choice for a young girl’s room (I went there too!) and in paler shades of lavender, the look is sweet and feminine when balanced with a lot of fresh whites, modern prints, and doses of playful colorful accents.

purple girls room

Rusk Renovations

lavender girls room


tobi fairley lavender girls room

Tobi Fairley Design


As always with wallpapers, introduce both pattern and drama to a space with modern geometrics or classic botanical motifs.

purple wallpaper in bathroom

Artistic Designs for Living

purple botanical wallpaper luxdesign

LUX Design

laura u interior design purple room

Laura U Interiors


Purple is such a striking color, so an approach that makes the hue less dominant is when it’s used in the form of accent furniture and accessories. Purple looks equally pleasing with warm golds and sophisticated silver sheens, and its no fail neutral partner is gray.

purple tufted sofa kips bay

Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse

plum chaise amoroso design

Amoroso Design

plum accents dunlap design

Dunlap Design Group

purple accents house beautiful

House Beautiful


Thankfully, there’s an abundance of purple in nature so play with this hue in your tablescapes too, pairing bright lilac with its complement yellow or pulling in warm golden hues with your place setting.

lavender and yellow in dining room

plum and gold table settings

purple and blue place setting

Muse Interiors / iVillage / My Simple Details / Garden Design


What colors look smashing with purple? Certainly indigo or peacock blue as pictured above, but here are four more favorites!

plum and teal colors together

Kati Curtis Design

apple and lilac bedroom

Kerry Hanson Design

purple with yellow in bedroom grant gibson

Grant K Gibson

amanda nisbet plum and berry

Amanda Nisbet Design


Read more interesting facts about the color purple here.

What about all of you? Are you pro or anti purple?

Or does it just depend on the space?


More from this Color Series:

dec with red

dec with yellow

dec with coral

Decorating with Red

Decorating with Yellow

Decorating with Coral




  1. LOVE purple! Always have. Great color combinations you shared. Love the purple wallpaper in the bath- so pretty!

  2. After the Rain by Benjamin Moore is a subtle lavender that looks great with greens (a tip totally stolen from Design on a Dime years ago for my bedroom). It looks gray online and on the card but transformed on the wall.

  3. Purple – may favourite colour! I’ve done many rooms in different shades of purple over the years. Currently my dining room walls are painted lavender and the decor has silver and turquoise accents. Gorgeous. Matches well with my china set (Royal Albert’s Lilac Lane). My bedroom is a heather-purple colour with white and pinky-purple accents. My kitchen has lilac and turqouise accents (the walls are painted celery).

    If I had one recommendation for those wanting to paint their walls a shade of purple – I’d tell them to hang a swatch of the paint colour up on the wall and look at it at different times of day, in different lighting. Certain shades of purple can look grey depending on the time of day, or under some lighting.

  4. Great post! I painted an accent wall in Lowe’s/Valspar’s ‘Plump Grape’ and have not regretted it a single day! To me, it’s the perfect purple.

  5. Purple is my favorite color too, but I don’t go crazy using it in everyway. I try to be very selective as it can be overpowering. Your explanations and uses of purple are very informative and to the point. I believe the color purple is one that can be used with any color in the spectrum to achieve a fabulous look in any setting. Can’t wait to see what you came up with.

  6. First, I love purple, my daughters room was lilac and we loved it. Second, I must have been hiding under a rock because I have never seen Your articles on Sensational Color about the psychology of color and other fun tidbits. I thought I was being clever and was going to blog about that. Womp womp womp, should have known you beat me to it! Well, scratch that idea, you did an awesome job of covering that already.

  7. Never been a fan of purple, but I could live with almost all of those. The purple/white bedroom and the purple laundry room are just WOW’s!

  8. I’m painting my den BM’s Kasbah and Weimeriner (I have no idea how to spell that) on the trim. I have dark hardwood floors and a huge window. I cannot wait to get my drywall finished to do this. I love a pure eggplant. I like it a bit grayed, but purple, purple, PURPLE! Love this collection of photos!

  9. I never used to be big on purple but then I recently visited lavender fields in Provence and I’ve been much more drawn to it since! Great round up of options, Kate! :)

  10. All these pictures look amazing. I wish my home looked so nice. When I decorate any room in my house I can not seem to get them to look as nice. Why is this? :-(

  11. I’ll be having slipcovers made for my sofa by in their “plum” colour for my winter look so I’m glad you have provided this post today as I was undecided about the colour for the chairs.

  12. I love decorating with purple! My dining room has an accent wall in “Delicious Plum”– great post!

  13. Purple is always my first choice for fashion, so why not in home decorating. Beautiful pictures, makes me want to try it a bathroom for starts. Thanks.

  14. I recently did my guest bedroom/my writing room in purple — moody shades to light shades with accents of yellow and a tad bit of orangey red in a print or two. love purple with gray/white desk, upholstered stool, etc. It’s definitely an alive color — energetic yet calming.

  15. I love these home decor pics. makes me want to burn my house down and start all over lol, just kidding!


  16. I love these pictures. Last summer I updated my bath with dusky orchid-gray walls and warm espresso cabinets with orange pops of color. A year later, I am so happy with it I am going to paint the bedroom walls pale orchid with white linens and more orange/red/yellow accents. These pictures are inspirational/aspirational. Thanks!

  17. It’s safe to say I have an addiction with grey right now. Even my coworkers raise an eyebrow as I obsess over different shades of it. But, I have one room in my house that isn’t grey. It’s my little getaway that is my master bathroom. It’s a rich deep shade of…purple. Plum Brown (SW 6272) from Sherwin Williams to be exact. It’s a VERY small half bath, so this was the perfect color to make it cozy and girly at the same time. I love it!

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.*