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Regal purple spaces

Above: Decadent Damson sets the scene for a sumptuous bedroom fit for a queen. 

Jewel in the crown: create regal spaces with majestic purples

Just in time for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – celebrated with a long bank holiday weekend from 2 to 5 June – the colour purple is finally taking its rightful place on the throne when it comes to choosing paint at home. Once considered sugary-sweet and old-fashioned, it’s arguably the biggest colour trend of 2022, with lavenders, plums, violets and mauves being given contemporary spins for current tastes. Just call it the comeback kid…

Steeped in a rich history, purple has long been associated with royalty and aristocracy, thanks to its connotations of luxury, splendour, power and wealth. Its ties to the upper-crust of society date back thousands of years, revered by everyone from the Byzantines to the Romans, with the extremely rare dye being difficult to source and the shade being notoriously expensive to produce. In fact, Queen Elizabeth I forbade anyone other than her family to wear the hue, keeping it even more exclusive and coveted. It wasn’t until 1856 when 18-year-old British chemist William Perkin accidentally discovered a way of replicating the dye artificially that the colour purple could finally be mass-produced.

More recently, Queen Elizabeth II has continued waving the flag for purple, from eye-catching outfits at events such as Ascot, to statement pieces on trips to places like China. Her diamond-encrusted crown, too – originally made for her father George VI’s coronation – famously features a striking purple velvet insert enclosed within a cage of diamonds. But it’s not just royals who have claimed the colour; it’s also been revered by rock stars and rebels, from Prince to Oscar Wilde, thanks to its deliciously eccentric and distinctly risqué character. Is there anything more British?

It’s only relatively recently, though, that purple has become a serious contender for home décor – a remedy for the beige and cream favoured before the late 90s, perhaps? Arguably, it was Laurence Lllewelyn-Bowen, who appeared on our TV screens in Changing Rooms in 1996, that swayed the nation with his preference for a kaleidoscopic palette. Teals. Damsons. Turquoises. And, of course, purples. Here was a man who wasn’t afraid of colour – and who could commit to it across entire walls – and it inspired us to be brave, crack open a can of creativity, and take a dip with the paintbrush.

A distinct combination of red and blue, even colour experts struggle to define purple, while it can often be found among nature in grapes, hyacinths and butterflies, amongst other wonders. On a practical level, it’s one of the best colours that can be used in the northern hemisphere, where light is something you just can’t rely on; it’s not uniformly golden, like in the Med, nor is it consistently cool and crisp like in Scandinavia. Some may consider the colour’s interchangeability as rather erratic, while those who know how to harness its power understand its flexibility – a strength when selecting a shade to work in such varying light.

With people wanting to ditch the show-home look of times gone by – opting instead to create spaces with depth, meaning and feeling – it was finally purple’s time to come to prominence. Bold and confident, there’s nothing discreet or subtle about it, and it adds lashings of character and opulence to even the smallest or most subdued of rooms. Thankfully, outdated iterations of the colour have been upgraded for the Instagram generation, from deep and dramatic in Mulberry Burst™ and Purple Pout™, to dusky to chalky in Lavender Quartz™ and Dusted Fondant™. Not only that, but we’re using purples in interesting new ways, from pairing with simple neutrals to teaming with complementary pastels or clashing with pinks and oranges.

Marianne Shillingford, creative director at Dulux, says: “At the very end of the spectrum, purple is both visible and invisible in ultra-violet light, making it a colour that’s elusive and mysterious. Now that everyone can afford a bit of purple, we have fallen in love with its ripe berry and royal velvet hues for the walls of our homes, and in the lighter shades we find a warm energy that offers a delightful alternative to blue in rooms that have plenty of natural light, or spaces we seek restful sleep in.”

Experiment and have fun with regal and rebellious looks. If anything, purple proves that the rules are made to be broken…

5 ways with purple

Create an energising home office

1. Create an energising home office

Both uplifting and calming, purple is a perfect choice for a home office, where you want to be inspired and productive. Paint it on the wall in front of your desk in Decadent Damson for something positive to get lost in between calls and emails. Finish the look with golden accessories and earthy accents.  

Style a luxurious dining room

2. Style a luxurious dining room

With a sense of occasion at its heart, envelop your dining room in opulent purple such as Summer Surprise 2 on all four walls, creating a cocooning effect for those sitting around the table. Better still, why not combine two shades of purple to really make a statement? Here, we’ve picked out the chimney breast in something lighter and brighter to spectacular effect.  

Paint a regal living room

3. Paint a regal living room

As a relaxing hue, purple is a natural choice for a living room, particularly when painted on a wall behind the sofa you curl up on. Go dark with Acai Berry for a comforting and cosy space, teamed with a lighter colour such as Blush Pink elsewhere for a room that works across all seasons.  

Create a child-like fantasy

4. Create a child-like fantasy

Softer, more subdued iterations of the shade like Dusted Fondant have an almost whimsical, fantasy-like quality, so create a graphic pattern as a backdrop to a child’s space, whether a bedroom or under-the-stairs nook. Sure to spark their creativity… 

Make an entrance

5. Make an entrance

Your home is your castle, so make an entrance by using something like Purple Sage 1 in your hallway, painted on a single wall for even more drama. With everything else kept neutral – Dusted Moss 2 on the remaining walls works well – the bold purple really does the talking. 

Purple Pout is bold and beautiful.

Above: Purple Pout is bold and beautiful.

Share your purple snaps

Inspired to experiment with purple in your own home? Share your purple snaps by using #FeelGoodColour and tagging @DuluxUK on social – you could feature on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

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