Clients sometimes blanch when they hear “purple,” envisioning garish, overpowering hues, she says. “Sometimes it takes putting the color up on the wall or buying a couple of yards of the fabric to convince them,” she said.
“Too much purple can seem Austin Powers-ish or way too juvenile,” said Brian Patrick Flynn, founder of decordemon.com. Burnham, Flynn and Sandra Espinet (who decorated actress Alison Sweeney’s home entirely in purple for an HGTV’s Celebrity Holiday Homes special this month) offer their ideas and advice:
Soft lilacs and grayish lavenders can be easier to work with, Burnham agreed. She advises homeowners to stay with very pale purples or dark, regal shades.
Save the boldest shades of purple for one important piece, she says, such as a “beautiful vintage chair in your hallway. But pair those same sheets with a chocolate brown bedspread and the look is perfect for a bachelor’s apartment. “Sometimes I will go ahead and do an entire room in a dark violet, but with fabric or textured wall covering, not paint,” he said.
Burnham said there’s a growing selection of beautiful wallpaper and textile patterns that feature shades of purple.
Flynn often pairs purple with grays and silvers for a modern feel. Burnham likes to balance lavender with taupe, and says it looks great with Army green and, in some cases, Navy blue.
But she does suggest limiting its use in the kitchen: Food, she says, just doesn’t look good with purple. With that one warning in mind, Espinet encourages people to have fun and experiment with purple.