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When the Pantone Color Institute recently announced its color of the year for 2018, the vibrant “Ultra Violet,” it might have seemed a natural fit for fashion and cosmetics.
“Ultra Violet is a color that’s almost like a neutral in fashion now,” says New York-based interior designer Brett Beldock. “Every newscaster you see is wearing a purple tie.”
But this rich violet is more challenging to use well in home decorating. It can easily overpower a room, and needs to be paired carefully with other shades.
We’ve ask Beldock and two other interior designers — Abbe Fenimore, founder of the Dallas-based design firm Studio Ten 25, and Jessica McClendon, founder of the Los Angeles-based design firm Glamour Nest — for advice on bringing his trendy, bold color into home decor in ways that won’t quickly go out of style.
BEST FOR BEDROOMS
McClendon says violet can bring a touch of luxury to bedrooms, especially when used sparingly in rich upholstery fabrics. “Go with a deeper or dustier shade for a more mature look or brighter for a playful, younger vibe,” she says. “If you want a softer, more feminine feel, opt for a less saturated or paler tone.”
One key is choosing the right fabric: “If you are thinking about using purple on an upholstered item, opt for fabrics rich in texture or feel,” McClendon says. “Think silk, velvet, chenille, textured woven or even an interesting print. I’m not a fan of just plain solid purple twill cotton because it ends up feeling flat and looking not high-quality.”
Along with fabrics, Fenimore likes using violet for accessories in the bedroom “for a rich and sophisticated feel. Amethyst accents like lamps, picture frames or small accessories stacked on books work well,” she says.
Ultra Violet “can be bold and take over a room quickly if it’s not balanced correctly,” says Fenimore. So use it as a supporting player only.
Choose color combinations that make Ultra Violet feel like a part of the room, instead of taking over, she says. Good partners might be celadon green, lavender and soft pink. That palette, with a touch of Ultra Violet, would be beautiful in a modern wallpaper used in a small space like a powder room.
Beldock loves violet with white, heather gray, khaki, olive or camel. And a mix of violet, chocolate brown and white, she says, would have a smartly retro 1970s feel that could look very fresh today.
One warning about color pairings: “I would avoid mixing the color with red,” says Fenimore. “Together, the two shades will quickly take over a room and create an environment with too much anxiety.”
BE WARY OF WALLS
If you’re considering painting your walls violet, Beldock suggests testing a large swatch first. McClendon agrees: “Make sure you look at large samples of the paint before committing. Purple is a hard color, and it straddles a fine line between super-luxurious and cheap. You have to be really thoughtful when choosing a purple paint color.”
Look at the samples in different lights and in different parts of the room.
Two ways to moderate violet’s impact on walls: Use it only on a single accent wall, Beldock suggests, or bring it in as part of a wallpaper pattern.
In her own wall covering designs, she has used violet as a solid backdrop covered with images rendered in crisp white, or as a playful accent over a simple white background.
HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
Ultra Violet a statement color, McClendon says. So even though it’s popular right now, “don’t commit to painting a room or a large piece of furniture unless it works for your true style.”
But if you love it, go all in.
“I’ve seen rooms that were all purple and amazing,” she says. “Again, it goes back to what your true style is and how you want your space to feel.”