Gabrielle Fagan asks three decor experts how to make best use
of this daring shade
Ever since colour gurus Pantone announced Ultra Violet as their new Colour of the Year, there’s been a virtual avalanche of homeware and accessories in plummy shades.
This powerful colour is definitely not for faint-hearted ‘decoristas’, or those who think daring is moving from white to a pale shade of grey. Even Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone’s executive director, describes Ultra Violet as a “dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade”.
But used cleverly, it can look pretty as well as punchy – you just need to get the dose right! Here, three decor experts reveal how to enjoy a full-blown purple passion, ‘flirt’ with quirky purple accents, or ‘double date’ by blending blue
Go full-on passion for purple
“Ultra Violet has already sent shock waves through the interior design fraternity,” says Sophie Robinson, interior designer and former judge on the BBC’s The Great Interior Design Challenge, whose living room reflects her enthusiasm for purple.
“It’s a real Marmite colour – people either love it or hate it – but I’m a purple lover. I adore its intensity and vibrancy. It’s a really uplifting, feel-good colour and I can’t wait to see it popping up in the best-dressed interiors.
“My advice is to leave behind all thoughts of Cadbury Creme Eggs, Barney the Dinosaur and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen in all his purple velvet-suited glory, and embrace the new power of purple.
“Don’t be tempted to simply paint a feature wall in Ultra Violet and leave it at that. Instead, keep walls neutral and let soft furnishings do the work for you. If you’re using florals, mix them with geometrics for a more interesting look and do something unexpected.
“For me, a pop of neon colour for a cushion and candles lifted my living room scheme. The great thing about Ultra Violet is that it can hold its own with a diverse range of colours. It can act as a dark foil for acid brights, a cool partner for hot hues, and a safe anchor for delicate pastels.”
Flirt with punchy purple accents
“This exciting choice for Colour of the Year works brilliantly in many different ways, for all different interior schemes,” enthuses Brian Woulfe, founder and managing director of Designed by Woulfe.
“If you’re brave, go hard on block colours and mix this vibrant hue with other visceral and stimulating colours in your home in a Mondrian style. This will give your space a stylish edge via a heady cocktail of punkish rebellion and regal opulence.
“Alternatively, intoxicating purple sits wonderfully with the popular grey, earthy tones which have dominated the interiors scene for so long. Alongside greys and ochre, purple tones are softened and can be seamlessly integrated to a pre-existing scheme.
“Another great way to introduce a softer version of Ultra Violet is to opt for cashmere or wool soft furnishings in this punchy tone, or use the shade for silk or satin piping for an ontrend trim for cushions, curtains or armchairs.”
Partner moody blues with purples
“Purple’s long been associated with spirituality, mystery and contemplation, and Ultra Violet is no exception,” says Hannah Thistlethwaite, textiles buyer at Heal’s.
“Inspired by the night sky, it’s full of possibilities. Pairing Ultra Violet with serene shades of blue could have an ethereal effect. For a luxurious take on the trend, I’d recommend sofas and armchairs in inky navy or midnight black, with amethyst cushions and throws to provide subtle pops of colour from the same palette.
“Finally, add a pendant light or a table lamp in soft copper to catch the light and add brightness to the overall look. So, while the psychedelic hue is certainly a statement, be bold, and you’ll reap the benefits of a space that is altogether otherworldly.”