It took the world 34 years to catch on to singer Prince’s fascination with the colour but we’re officially in the year of purple reign with colour institute Pantone declaring Ultra Violet as their colour of the year; a momentous decision that influences design, fashion, food, art and interiors. The bold and provocative shade of purple that signifies the cosmos; power; visionary and futuristic thinking and risk-taking has captured the imaginations of everyone, from designers such as Gucci who incorporate the shade into the SS’18 collection, to the Queen of England, who donned the colour with panache at an official event. However, there’s no denying that the over-the-top hue is a tricky colour to work into your home.
Violets are blue
While it is a shade of purple, ultra violet has intense blue undertones that give it an almost electric sassiness that’s definitely not for shrinking violets. But it’s this exact flamboyance that makes it the perfect shade for accented walls or a statement piece of furniture. ‘It lifts the mood and ambience of a room,’ explains 2XL’s marketing manager Amit Yadav: ‘Paint one of the walls in a room ultra violet and leave the rest plain.’ Hala Haddad, design manager at Pan Emirates agrees: ‘This lets the colour become the room’s showstopper without overpowering and ruining the layout.’
‘Use different shades of violet to break the colour’s sharpness,’ suggests Heba Ali, the design studio manager at Carapol paints. ‘So incorporate lighter tones of lavender and mauve or broodier plums and wines into your décor, and the ideal way to do that,’ says Dania Al Masri, designer at Interiors, ‘is to surround larger eye-catching pieces like an ultra violet sofa with flowers, candle stands, lampshades, vases and dinnerware in different shades of purple.’ Or you can do the reverse and use ultra violet accessories, like block-coloured cushions to accentuate a neutral shade sofa, suggest Home Box’s design experts.
Ultra violet’s elevating, stirring nature makes the colour especially ideal for the beating heart of every home – the living room. ‘Thick, plush ultraviolet curtains or rich velvet chairs,’ says Carol Sukkar, the founder and owner of interiors store Home and Soul. ‘The tone can also be used to paint rooms you don’t linger in much, such as entryways, hallways and stairways,’ she adds. ‘But the wall must be framed with neutral accessories in whites, creams, greys or black’.
It’s not just neutrals that work well with ultra violet, complementary shades of gold, yellow, pink and navy blue also enhance the colours dramatic effect, say experts at Ethan Allen. Combine with aged bronze accessories for a moody effect and for high glamour go for polished gold.
Ultra violet’s purple haze can permeate other rooms too, giving them a fun and funky personality. ‘Paint kitchen cabinets in the shade or re-do your bathroom with some ultraviolet tiles,’ says Amit. Bathmats and shower curtains are another way, says Claudia Van Der Werf, owner of furniture store Desert River.
And far from taboo, ultra violet’s energy, in just the right measure, makes for a lively yet soothing bedroom. Ethan Allen’s experts suggest softening the intensity with white or dove grey bedding, ‘or get the structural backbone of beds – headboards or bed frames – in the rich colour,’ says Carol. You can use it sparingly with textiles such as throws and runners or use rugs, cushions and covers with hints of ultraviolet in their patterns and prints, say Home Box’s experts.
If you’re still hesitant to the buy into the violettomania with big investment pieces, the simplest way to bring the trendy colour home is with artwork – go for abstracts or violet-toned nature scenes. It gives you all the bang without spending too many bucks.