If you ask designer Marissa Nelums, purple does not deserve the bad reputation it sometimes has. “In client questionnaires, we ask which colors they don’t like, and I have seen purple come up quite a bit,” she says. “People think it’s too harsh, too bright, and can get gaudy. But, to me, it’s like the perfect dress—the one you can wear with sneakers and high heels.”
Meet the Expert
Marissa Nelums is the principal designer and owner of Chicago-based interior design firm Glasshouse Interior.
Per Nelums, the versatility of the colors extends beyond a limited set of styles and stereotypical gender preferences—fellas, don't be afraid of the shade. Pair plum with teal or navy for a rich, luxurious statement, or go with violet and golden hues to connote royalty and wisdom. Then there’s lilac, lavender, and the lighter ends of the purple spectrum—those can go minimalist, modern, or cozy and country depending on the accents you choose.
“Purple can be subtle, or it can be a bright statement,” Nelums adds. "It’s all about what you pair it with and how you use it."
Ready to reconsider the hue? From the lightest pinks to the deepest blues, we’ve rounded up 23 colors that go with purple beautifully—and included some real-life room inspiration to inspire yours.
Electric Violet + Muted Silver: Modern & Energizing
There’s something so invigorating about Rorschach ink wallpaper, don’t you think? When done in a crisp combination of silver and violet, it can serve as a daily jolt of inspiration for an office or workspace. Leave the rest of the surfaces relatively minimal to let the color pairing shine.
Lilac + Rattan: Playful & Casual
Earthy rattan dresses down pastel lilac, transforming a traditionally “feminine” shade into something a touch more casual.
For an extra dose of playfulness, layer in graphic pops of turquoise and daffodil.
Lilac + Medium Blue: Modern Regency
“While different shades, the blue and purple are both of a similar tone, which creates a beautiful balance,” Philadelphia designer Michelle Gage, the mastermind behind this cozy reading nook, says. According to Gage, the pairing—especially when accented with a vintage portrait—“creates a whimsical and English vibe."
Violet + Orange: Retro & Fun
While purple and orange together can feel overwhelming—and maybe too literally reminiscent of the 70s if used throughout a space—a strategic splash of the colors perhaps in an art piece or furniture fabric is just the right amount of retro.
Eggplant + Slate: Calming & Comfortable
The grey undertone of the purple in this watercolor wallpaper tricks the eye into blending it with the slate grey headboard and nightstand. The resulting effect? A peace-inducing cocoon of color designed to calm the senses and lull you into sleep.
Indigo Violet + Dusty Sage: Casual Yet Rich
Like touches of the country look but don’t want to give on your city roots? You’ll get the best of both worlds with a serene sage and a deep purple-blue, which feel low-key but not low-effort when paired together.
Grape + Chambray Grey: Bold & Eclectic
Love the bright shade of that armoire? It’s Her Majesty 339-7 by PPG Pittsburgh Paints, which Cincinnati designer Stephanie (Asielue) Beverly of Twelve 15 Design Studio purposefully paired with a cool chambray grey sofa. She notes that the subdued shade of the couch allows the armoire to stand out as an art piece of its own.
Orchid + Plum: Cool & Contemporary
Put a dull shine on these two complementary shades of purple and pair them with raw wood for an unexpectedly cheeky—and undoubtedly contemporary—spin on minimalism. Worried about the look veering too austere? Add vintage accents for lived-in warmth.
Eggplant + Mustard: Modern & Masculine
“These two colors work well together because they both represent royalty, luxury, and wisdom, which speaks to the client we were designing for,” Dominique Calhoun of Remix Living says, who created this space for professional football player Malcolm Jenkins.
Lilac + Poppy: Minimal & Whimsical
What do you get when you combine the curved lines of the 1980s and infuse them with an unexpected combo of soft and bright shades? A space that simultaneously feels modern and retro, feminine and futuristic, and playful and sophisticated. In other words: a multitude of contradictions that shouldn’t work, but somehow do.
Lilac + Black: Casual Glam
Lilac does wonders when it comes to softening dark shades such as charcoal and black. Add in textures like velvet and linen, and you’ve got a fancy-feeling look that’s still comfortable enough for a marathon night of Netflix.
Deep Plum + Powder Pink: Cheeky & Playful
Purple and pink might have been considered the most “girly” colors of your youth, but the combo can actually skew quite grown up—especially when playfully accented with gold touches and boldly colored geometric patterns.
Lavender + Ochre: Homespun & Bohemian
The piano area of New Orleans artists Sarah Smith and Jeremy Ballard is a stellar example of the laid-back, go-with-the-flow nature of New Orleans style. With a soft vibrancy to them both, the lavender instrument and glass amber and ochre accents subtly echo the carefree energy of Mardi Gras.
Light Mauve + Lilac: Cool & Soothing
We’ll never get tired of tone-on-tone decorating—especially when done in serene pastel shades of purple.
Want to copy that wall shade? You’ll be surprised to know it’s not purple, but Script White by Behr, a white with a subtle periwinkle tint.
Byzantium + Cobalt: Vivacious & Luxurious
This Carnival-inspired dining room is the perfect example of all the good that can come from not playing it safe. By anchoring the room in two vibrant jewel tones from the same section of the color wheel, designer Marissa Nelums took a space that can veer cookie-cutter and transformed it into something full of high energy and playful elegance.
Pale Lavender + French White: Countryside Elegance
There’s something so quintessentially Provençal about this color combination, which evokes lavender fields, old farmhouses, and perfectly crusty baguettes. Okay, that last one might be a bit of a stretch. Employ it whenever you’d like to invoke the rustic elegance of country living, or when you want to add a dose of easy femininity to an antique-inspired design.
Boysenberry + Blush Pink: Feminine & Sleek
Think of burgundy shades like a fine Cabernet wine—though mostly red, the touch of purple brings an undeniable richness to the fold. They pair well with blush because the two colors are at the opposite ends of the light and dark spectrum of pink.
Purple + Teal: Bold & Ageless
Believe it or not, this bathroom was created for a seven-year-old. Just goes to show that this trusty color combo—which feels rich and luxurious, but in a non-intimidating way—can truly carry you through the years.
Eggplant + Peach: Cozy & Creative
There’s something about this color combination that reminds us of the guest room at a favorite relative’s house. It’s warm and inviting, but still feels unexpected and enriching—just like any long weekend you spend there inevitably turns out to be.
Dusty Mauve + Navy: Moody & Fanciful
When you think of the colors of a thunderstorm, moody blues and purples come to mind. When used in interior design, these shades can have the same impact on a room as they do on a summer night: they’re awe-inducing, immediately have you taking notice, and throw in a little mystery for good measure.
Purple + Gold: Classically Royal
If you want purple to take the stage in a high-contrast way, accent multiple versions of the shade with brushed brass. The effect is purely regal, especially when you throw in luxe materials like velvet and faux fur.
Fuchsia + Ivory: Tropical & Bold
This Fiji-inspired powder room by D.C. designer Erika Bonnell gets its beachy glam from the large shell sink and the bold fuchsia flowers in the silver metallic wallpaper, which pops brilliantly against the neutral colors of the space.
Eggplant + Jade: Formal Yet Fun
This personality-packed formal sitting room of this Austin home feels so much more lively than the stuffy, never-used sitting rooms of the past, right? That’s thanks to the drenched-in-jewel-tones color palette, which includes a bold eggplant rug and vibrant jade green side table.