When imagining a minimalist interior, most people’s first thought might be a pure white interior with natural tones, while darker colors, if used at all, might be confined to accents or small statements. But this doesn’t have to be the case. The rise of dark minimalism focuses on blending the pared-back approach of the movement with a color palette that speaks to our sensibilities in a louder way.
A hue that has captured the imagination of minimalists is a deep fig-like hue. This purple feels darker and more moody than violet or plum, rich with black and red, this is a shade that feels decadent yet minimal.
We looked to interior designers and color experts to discuss the appeal of this evocative eggplant color trend. They discussed its ability to add richness to rooms whilst feeling contemporary and clean. Purple’s always been seen as the color of Kings & Queens but this new trend shows its versatility in a more modern light.
1. LET INDIGO ADD DRAMA TO YOUR DESIGN
This media room shows the practical and personable side of a deep indigo purple as it creates the perfect cinema-like atmosphere for designer, Allison Lind’s clients to unwind and watch their favorite films in. By painting the ceiling in a similar color, the room feels more expansive and inviting.
'The sole purpose of this family room/media room is to relax and watch a show or movie – so there’s really no need for a lot of extra décor,' says Allison Lind of Allison Lind Interiors. 'Even for clients who don’t necessarily love minimalism in interior design, it can work well in certain spaces. However, there’s such a drastic difference between bright white Minimalism and a darkly hued counterpart. We opted to keep the minimal feel by painting the ceiling and trim the same color as the walls, which are a deep indigo grass cloth paper to bring some warmth and texture into the space.'
When using this deep purple, take inspiration from Lind’s scheme and choose complimentary browns, greys, and violet accents for a connected interior.
2. DECORATE WITH A DEEP INKY PURPLE
This seductive dark color scheme created by Heather Hilliard is hard not to fall in love with. The inky shades of blue and purple feel reminiscent of a night sky. The ceiling and large windows work to reflect some light into this room but this is a design that really embodies its dark minimalism.
'This client’s bedroom is on the 57th floor of a building in NYC, but while the views are incredible, the sky is often white or grey in the winter,' reveals San Francisco-based interior designer, Heather Hilliard. 'We wanted to bring a feeling of warmth into the room. The idea here was to envelop the room in rich deep blues, violets, and aubergine. The wallpaper is a paper-backed wool, the custom bed is upholstered in a soft Claremont violet velvet and the rug is a custom inky blue silk. When the blackout curtains are closed, the room feels like a cocoon.'
'Room-size area rugs or wall-to-wall carpets make the room feel larger and every inch of the floor is soft underfoot,' Heather adds. 'The dark and minimal palette is soothing. I find minimalist interiors are successful when the textures, colors, and materials are in harmony.'
3. BRING TOGETHER BLACK AND PURPLE
Color experts and purveyors of fine paints, Farrow & Ball have also seen a greater interest in darker purples when decorating. 'While darker colors can feel like a terrifying concept for many DIY decorating projects, they can also be a brilliant solution for particular aesthetics – from poorly-lit spaces (lean into the limitations!) to sophisticated minimalism (artwork registers beautifully on dark walls, folks!),' says Patrick O'Donnell, International Brand Ambassador for Farrow & Ball. 'Choose dark shades with nuances, from blackened cacao to eggplant-licked blacks, such as Farrow & Ball’s seductive Paean Black.'
For those seeking a more Scandinavian take on their minimal interior, deep chalky purples are great partners for bleached and oiled wood. The red in the purple plays well with these tones and helps your interior feel warmer whilst retaining its simplicity.
The appeal of a matte finish is echoed by Patrick O’Donnell. 'Paean Black would make an elegant and sexy living room paint color, especially in our ultra-matte Dead Flat finish, which will create an almost nubuck quality, adding wonderful depth to the walls,' he says.
4. CHOOSE A MOODY YET ROMANTIC MAUVE
For those seeking a more minimal approach to their use of color and reluctant to dive into the deep end, this room designed by Marea Clark Interiors mixes the depth of dark purple-grey tones with a soft mauve. 'Our goal was to give the home an ethereal and romantic quality with a slight feminine lean,' says San Franciscan interior designer Marea Clark. 'We decided on a palette of moody purples to speak to these ideas and go somewhat darker than in other areas of the home, to make it a cozy hangout spot.'
For colors that go with purple, the addition of lemon-yellow accents like the lampshade and pillows gives the room a hint of levity and accentuates the coolness of the shade. The lesson here is dark minimalism isn’t just restricted to uber-modern interiors; it can prove to be just as fruitful for those seeking a more traditional aesthetic.
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Writer and design expert Faaizah Shah is the founder of The Interiors Consultancy. She has worked with designers such as Staffan Tollgard and design houses such as Sanderson to help them understand and communicate their narratives. She is known for crafting engaging stories and imaginative content, and understanding great decor from her years alongside some of the best creatives in the industry. She is also a contributor to Livingetc.
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