Purple living room ideas can give your space an eccentric look, but it's not an easy color to play with – generally, people either love it or hate it. But if you belong to the former camp, there are several ways to use this beautiful shade.
Purple in all its tones – whether a little bit or a lot – can actually make your indoors look sophisticated, and unique.
So, for your living room color ideas, think a little out of the box, and give the versatile purple a chance.
We asked several top designers to show us how to use this hue and what they shared with us was a stupendous list of ideas. Take a look.
10 design-savvy ways to use purple in living rooms
'Purple is known for its invigorating and calming abilities, embracing the power of both warm and cool colors,' says interior designer Sarah Barnard. 'Choose natural shades like eggplant, lavender, and lilac for a more grounded effect, especially for those who fear overly saturated spaces while looking for the positive feelings of joy and calm purple can offer.'
1. Drench the furnishings in rich plum
Purple is known as the color of royalty, so for an elegant living room, no shade can do better justice. Bring plummy accents into your soft furnishings, and drench the space with this fun hue.
This is a great way to balance the hue in the room as well. By drenching your sofas, stools, carpets, or coffee tables in purple, you can ensure that purple only dominates the lower half of the room. By painting your walls white or cream, you can offset the dominance of purple.
'Purple happens to be my favorite color, so I have used it somewhere in each of my homes,' says Lauren Sands, founder, LES Collection. 'I love a deep eggplant, and with toddlers, it is the perfect shade for a family room sofa. Elegant and luxe, while also able to hide just about anything.'
2. Contrast purple with blues
Purple's regal character makes it the perfect companion to other jewel tones like emerald green, teal, deep blues, and even black. The rest of the space can be dotted with bright selects like fuchsia and yellow for a fantastic contrast.
'I’ve used light lavender in pillows and reupholstered chairs in a light lavender too,' says Kim Armstrong, interior designer and founder of Kim Armstrong Interior Design. 'I think purple blends with so many colors, but my favorite colors to blend with purple are green and blue. Those three colors together are soft and watery, and very easy on the eyes.'
Adding to your living room ideas, keep greys or whites as the background for your purple, and add a further rich personality by layering the room with a darker wood.
'Deep purple hues go beautifully with teals and blues,' says Lauren. 'You can also introduce metal accents into the interior. I love a deep dark bronze mixed with purple. When accessorizing, it's easy to bring in pops of yellows, and orange to make the space feel fun and playful, while still sophisticated (always my goal in a family space).'
3. Paint your living room walls in a deep tone
Did you know that Vincent van Gogh used violet in many of his 1880s paintings, showing irises and skies? In fact, in Starry Night, he used violet with complementary yellow. Who then, can debate the purpose and importance of this color?
‘Purple is a multifaceted hue with a great balance between the calming cooler tones of blue and the warmth of red,' says John Ashton of Albany. 'Strong deep purples including plum work well paired with natural tones or try tints such as lilac and periwinkle for a calmer space. Purple can change dramatically in a different light, so always make sure you buy a sample pot in your chosen color to try in the room you’re decorating.’
When deciding on how to design a modern living room, layer on the lavenders, purples, or berry tones on your walls for maximum drama. You can even use a two-tone purple. One light lavender on majority of the walls and ceilings, and then a bold accent color – such as a rich eggplant on a statement wall.
4. Bring in texture to soften purple
'If you're unsure as to the impact of purple in your living room, use a variety of textures to balance out a range of purple shades, adding dimension,' says Sarah.
Warm purples can cozy up a space and even work well in modern rustic living rooms. The way to use it in a more subtle manner is by painting a plummy accent on a textured or a wood-paneled wall.
The ridges and organic background of the wall will take the focus away from the deep purple tones, and set a composed scene.
Here, the bulk of the palette is quite light and neutral and mixed with the textured wall, the space is eye-catching while still feeling restful.
5. Add violet to the smaller details in the room
Purple can all too easily become heavy and overwhelming. If yours is a tiny home, we suggest avoiding the idea of putting the bold color on all of your walls and selecting a few of your favorite purple hues for decorative accessories and details. Or even choosing this hue for the living room corner.
This way, you'll get a nice smattering of color throughout the room without having to stress. Use purple on wall trims if your room has beautiful architectural details.
Liven up a small, unattended corner with purple wall paint, like in this design. The niche, painted purple and contrasted with dark grey, give this traditional space a modern, eye-catching twist that serves as a great background for a selection of objects.
'One strategy to integrate strong color is to use it in details such as contrast welt in furniture and pillows, drapery trims, and or pulling it in from artwork like in this project,' says interior designer Janelle Burns of Maestri Studio.
'This is a really simple way to spread the strong color around a room without having a whole chair be purple, for instance. Since details are on a smaller scale, it doesn't come off too strong when entering a room."
6. Boost your space with a plum wallpaper
While paint can seem flat, a wallpaper brings movement and dynamism to a space. From wallpaper ideas to murals, change the vibe of your space and give it an off-beat spin with a purple wallpaper.
You can also consider materials beyond paper, like grasscloth, cork, Japanese silk, and papers that have a marble, wood, or stone finish. If you want to add warmth and coziness to your purple living room design, a richly textured wallpaper could be just the thing.
7. Inject a pop of purple with a statement sofa
Add a dose of mauve love through an accent chair upholstered in this enticing shade; perhaps choose velvet to glam it up. Purple works well with these glamorous, reflective textiles.
If you don't want your chair to look too stark or out of place, choose a tone that has a muted grey undertone for a more serene and calming color. The grey helps contemporize the hue.
Alternatively, a bluish-purple, which has a more imperial quality, can make guests take a look at it twice and add impact to your design. In a small living room, for example, a bold purple chair can inject personality.
8. Paint the wall and trim lilac
Lilac is a pleasing color – it reminds one of the outdoors and lush flower gardens. Create a soothing, enveloping environment by painting the walls and even the trim the same color.
'When working with a pastel color use it as you would a neutral,' says Kevin Sawyers, principal designer, Sawyers Design. 'That helps take the fear out of the process. Painting the trim and molding the same color as we did here gives a traditional space an updated feel.'
'You still have all the beauty of the details without being confined to traditional rules. Take it a step further and use the same low sheen or matt paint finish on all surfaces as well. This really unifies the space,' says Kevin.
9. Create a lilac accent with cut flowers
Purple is a color that can be found aplenty in nature. It brings to mind fields of lavender in Provence, the foxgloves in the English countryside, or the picturesque lilac bushes in the U.S.
If you are too afraid of purple permanence, even a bunch of flowers can help evoke serenity and beauty, especially in your farmhouse living room.
10. Contrast this dark hue with wood tones for a warm purple living room
If you're redesigning a living room, try the dynamic combination of purple and warming natural tones of brown.
Purple evokes a feeling of power, while wood tends to ground a design, while also balancing warm and cool tones. This is why, this pairing can look strong, especially if you match purple paint with wood tones.
For a more organic look, offset the purple tones with grainy wood. While the purple may be ready to dominate, the imperfections of the wood will keep the interior from looking too brash.
Is purple color good for the living room?
Purple can seem like an eccentric color but it depends on the shade you use. From lilac, and aubergine to lavender and deep purples, there are several colors to use. Plus, purple also comes with undertones of grey, red and blue.
The color, when used cleverly, can induce a sense of royalty and elegance in a room. Purple has an inherent rich appeal and is a wonderful shade if you want to enhance or draw attention to certain features in your space. You could use the tone to make the ceiling beams, the cornice work, the living room window treatments, or even a corner pop.
'Purple can be a beautiful color to bring into your living room, and the wonderful part is that it comes in all kinds of shades, anywhere from light lavender to a deep amethyst to eggplant. Lots of choices there,' says Kim.
How do you use purple in a living room?
There are several ways you can play up this color in the living room. Use purple to enrich a neutral scheme - bring in a statement sofa drenched in this color. To build a layered color scheme, choose a lavender rug and overlay it with other complementary tones.
A purple wall can seem like a bold choice but if paired with grey, teal, or cream, the color's punchiness can be toned down. If you love drama and want to bring some movement to your interiors, consider patterned purple wallpaper.
If the color seems too OTT for you, yet you'd love to partner up with it, opt for purple accent pieces that can be moved in and out, as per your mood. Maybe a purple ottoman, a coffee table book, or even a bunch of flowers could be the perfect ideas.
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Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.
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