Sunday 22 July 2018

Purple reigns

If you choose dramatic burgundy walls in a large room, it’s important to balance the look with lighter colours such as creams and whites to avoid a cavernous look;
If you choose dramatic burgundy walls in a large room, it’s important to balance the look with lighter colours such as creams and whites to avoid a cavernous look;
Rouge brass bar stool, €830,
Cloves and Cinnamon fragrance diffuser, €30,
McNutt lambswool blanket, €90,
Line cushion, €65,
Carton chair, €3,137,

Anna Shelswell-white

The colour purple tends to get a bashing when it comes to interior design. It's accused of being gauche, OTT, or just plain old-fashioned. And, yes, it can be hard to make it work at home. However, move a shade or two down the colour card to burgundy, and you'll find a colour that adds instant glamour.

It works a treat in dining rooms or dark spaces, says Jackie Tyrrell of Jackie Tyrrell Design ( "If you have a space with a northerly aspect, the depth of colour that burgundy offers will cosy the space up immediately. Burgundy is perfect for the dining room as it promotes feelings of indulgence, fine living and good red wine."

Yet, burgundy shouldn't be restricted to these two spaces at all - its beauty is that it works well with almost any other tone, making it easy to fuse with your existing interior scheme.

"The cooler side of burgundy sits perfectly with the grey palette that's popular at the moment, but it also sits well with turquoise, iced whites and taupes. The warmer tones of burgundy love khaki green, warm whites and sands," says Jackie, recommending Colourtrend's 'Kimono', a rusty burgundy or 'Luscious Rush', a purplish burgundy.

If you're planning on painting your walls in this rich hue, though, a word of warning. You might want to paint an accent wall in a lighter shade to avoid an overpoweringly dark space.

However, Jackie says, if you plan to team burgundy with an equally strong colour such as teal or turquoise, use the second colour in smaller splashes for example, cushions, rugs or throws. "Otherwise, they may try to compete with each other in the room."

As for furniture, investing in a sofa upholstered in burgundy material shouldn't be a snap decision. Such a large piece can set the mood for the entire room and, as most of us hope to keep our sofas for at least 10 years, it's important that it doesn't limit any future decor plans you might have. Dark furniture can give the impression of taking up a lot of space, so create an airier atmosphere with a glass-topped coffee table or chairs with delicate legs and light-enhancing mirrors.

The right lighting is important when using strong colours like burgundy. Essentially, you want it to maximise your colour choice, not downplay it. Recessed lighting may be used as general lighting but install a dimmer switch to build the drama of this rich shade. Wall scounces add a warm glow, while you can really make a statement with an elegant chandelier in the dining or sitting room. Pay careful attention to the type of lightbulbs you use, making sure to use warm incandescent or warm fluorescent bulbs.

The clocks went back one hour overnight, meaning winter is well and truly here. You'll notice everything from nail colours to what you're wearing embracing deeper shades. We're drawn to darker colours as the days get shorter - and it seems that our homes are no different.

  • Anna Shelswell-White is editor of House and Home magazine.

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