If you've heard that pink is the new black, then it's time to consider mauve the new pink. Mauve is a color that you probably don't give enough consideration, especially when you see just how transformative and versatile it can be. Named after a flower, mauve is a pale purple hue that sometimes reads more pink or more violet, depending on the light.
According to designer Cristina La Porta, "Mauve is chameleonic. It can be used as the main color in your design, or as a color for details," she says.
Meet the Expert
- Cristina La Porta is an Italian multidisciplinary designer based in Milan and the founder of Cristina La Porta Studio.
- Christina Kim is an interior designer based in Manasquan, New Jersey specializing in warm, soft, and modern residential interiors.
- Louis Duncan-He is the principal designer and creative director of Louis Duncan-He Designs.
- Katie Davidson is the lead designer of Kate + Co Design Inc., a full-service design firm with a diverse portfolio of projects across the Greater Toronto Area, western Ontario, and the US.
This hue works in so many different ways, you'll wonder why you haven't painted everything in your home mauve. To help you work this color into your home, we've asked designers to give us their favorite tips and tricks when it comes to using mauve.
Swap a Neutral for Mauve
Have exposed beams or simple accents you want to accentuate? Instead of painting your trim or beams white or gray, consider opting for something a little bolder like mauve. Exposed ceiling beams are a great way to bring visual interest into any space, especially a living room or a kitchen.
Embrace the Romance
If you want to add a delicate hint of romance to your space but you're sick of pink, consider mauve. "Mauve is a beautiful, sophisticated, and delicate color with the right amount of richness," Louis Duncan-He, the Principal Designer and Creative Director of Louis Duncan-He Designs, says.
He recommends working it into rooms that skew a little more traditional, but maintain a modern vibe with "cleaner lines and fresh elements that are still timeless, like marble and stone."
Perfect for Kids' Rooms
We love mauve as a fun alternative to blue or pink in a child's or teenager's room. Designer Kate Davidson of Kate + Co Design Inc. suggests pairing mauve with bright purples and pinks to "evoke an upbeat springtime vibe to any bedroom space."
If you want to bring mauve into a more elegant space such as a dining room or formal sitting room, consider deeper and more muted mauve colors, suggests Davidson.
Pair it With Gold Details
Mauve is a very strong color, which makes it a perfect hue to pair with bolder accents such as brass or gold. To keep it from feeling childlike, pair it with strong accents.
"Mauve can go from chic to overly sweet real quick, so it’s best when used with sophisticated elements in a room, subtle linen, and unlacquered brass, for example," designer Christina Kim says.
Create a Tranquil Office Space
A mauve with stronger blue undertones like this one works wonderfully in a chic office space. The soft color palette helps evoke a sense of calm and will help you ease into that stressful 3:00 meeting with the boss.
When painting your walls a bolder color like mauve, consider keeping the rest of the elements neutral and subtle so not to overwhelm.
Use it Alongside Cool Colors
Wondering how best to use mauve? Designer Cristina La Porta suggests keeping it to cool tones if you want to create a subtle look that still offers a load of color.
"Mauve is a graduation that derives from purple, and being a cold color it can therefore be combined with other cold colors, such as shades of gray, green, or blue," she says.
Add Mauve Details In the Bedroom
One of the best rooms to use mauve? In the bedroom, says Kim.
"Mauve is great in primary bedrooms where you want to keep things feeling tranquil and chic," she explains. Mauve is a great alternative to blue or gray in the bedroom to give off a depth of color that still feels neutral and welcoming.
Pair it With Marble
Because marble is already a very traditional and chic material to decorate, it makes sense that pairing it with mauve utterly elevates the whole look. Mauve works so well in a bathroom, but when it's paired with a marble that features gray or even purple veins, it creates a 5-star hotel look and feel.
Weave it In Through Accents
You don't have to go all-out mauve to add a touch of chic color to your space. Instead, look for wallpaper patterns that feature small bits of mauve or fold in accent pieces such as a lamp, throw pillow, or piece of art that offers a touch of the color.
We love experimenting with unusual colors like mauve in lesser-used rooms like a walk-in closet or a den to see how you feel about it before introducing it to more highly trafficked spaces.
Pair it With Black and White
According to Kim, mauve works with many color palettes, but black and white is a great option.
"Mauve is so much fun to decorate with because it always feels unexpected and chic in a space," she says. "Use it as a pop with neutrals, a black and white palette, or with other flat pastels like powder blue."
Keep it Simple
Here, a simple mauve accent pillow elevates this neutral bedroom and gives it just enough color to feel fresh and unexpected. This is a great way to level out a Scandinavian-inspired living room or dining room as well in a way that won't take away from the overall subtle look of the room.
Add Depth to Any Space
"Mauve is a beautiful, sophisticated, delicate color with the right amount of richness," Duncan-He says. If you have a room that doesn't feel quite "finished," mauve can be a great choice. It adds a lot of depth to any room, and because it's such an unexpected color, it feels very intentional.
Looking for ideas to paint with mauve? Designer Christina Kim loves Farrow and Ball Peignoir, Farrow and Ball Dove Tail, and Benjamin Moore Abalone.