A color expert predicts this surprising combination will set the tone for interiors in 2023

If you're looking to embrace boldness in 2023, this intriguing color pairing is a good place to start

a living room with purple and yellow accents
(Image credit: Stephan Julliard. Design: Le Berre Vevaud)

With 2023 looming ever closer, designers and trend forecasters are beginning to predict the trends and color combinations they think are set to define the year ahead. And, while 2022 bought us jewel tones, earthy hues and a resurgence of pink, 2023 promises to be even more daring with its use of color. 

One paint brand with an especially brave mix of colors is Dunn-Edwards whose four color scheme predictions for 2023 all embrace bright hues in new and innovative ways. Yet, there's one particular color combination in their 'Live in Joy' palette that you might find especially surprising as the next big interior design trend, given it's one we typically avoid. So, is purple and yellow really set to be the color combination of 2023? 

It's not so much that yellow and purple are clashing colors, just that many of us are hesitant to use these two tones together in our homes. In fact, the two colors do sit opposite one another on the color wheel meaning they're the most complementary of shades, and offer a strong contrast. You'll often find yellow and purple used for logos, signage and anything that's supposed to vie for your attention.  

This doesn't mean they can't look good together, however. The adventurous pairing of yellow and purple can be beautifully complementary when incorporated into our designs with the right eye. It's also the perfect combination for a fun and uplifting vibe. 

'It's one of youthful extremes, pushing boundaries and living life with fun and vibrancy,' explains Sara McLean, color expert and stylist at Dunn-Edwards. It's this same energetic feeling they predict will have its moment in 2023. 

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She regularly shares color stories with readers to help them keep up-to-date with ever-changing trends that promise to add personality into the home. For this piece, she spoke with Dunn-Edwards' color expert to learn how to embrace their surprising new color combination of 2023.

How do I use purple and yellow together?

A purple and yellow themed room with a small dining set

Dunn Edwards color palette for 2023 sees the most saturated versions of these shades used together. 

(Image credit: Dunn-Edwards Corporation)

In Dunn-Edwards' 2023 palette, Plum Purple is a rich violet hue that's warm and earthy while Lemon Punch is a bright and bold yellow that's invigorating and uplifting. These are possibly the most intense versions of these colors to combine in the home, but this comes with a prediction that in the future, traditional color rules will go out the window as braver decorators take the helm. 

'Purple and yellow are colors that have histories of extreme reactions with traditional design,' Sara acknowledges. 'Yet, with Gen Z and Millennials who have grown up surrounded by technology, video games, anime and AI, they see color through a new lens and are unafraid of approaching color with strong personalities.' 

For this reason, Sara recommends reserving use of the two colors together for a social, energetic space. 'I suggest using Plum Power and Yellow Punch in entertaining spaces such as family rooms and TV or media rooms to really play up the fun factor of the spaces,' she says. 'If you’re looking to go a bit more traditional, I suggest pairing them with a warm neutral and crisp white, playing up one color while adding the other as a secondary accent.' 

A living room with lavender walls and a yellow couch

For a less intense look, take your shades of purple and yellow to lighter, pastels tones. 

(Image credit: Sawyers Design. Photo by Ansel Olson)

If you still think Plum Purple and Lemon Punch are too garish a combination to use alone, you could still incorporate the colors alongside more muted tones for a more understated look. 

When it comes to color application, Sara says the two colors work just as well alone as they do as statement colors alongside traditional neutrals. 'To highlight one over the other, use Plum Power as the lead accent color in a guest room and add touches of Lemon Punch through some décor elements and bedding,' she says. 'Add a muted pink and crisp white for a beachside cottage aesthetic.' 

If you want to fully embrace a purple and yellow theme but in a less bold fashion, you could opt for pastel or earthy hues in a more restrained way. Use ochre accent furniture on a lilac rug for a sophisticated look. 

Lilith Hudson
News Editor

Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.