Kitchens With COLOR: Purple
And so my Kitchens With COLOR series comes to an end.
And what better way to end it than with the color at the end of the rainbow: purple?
Prior to my research for this post, I thought I would detest the use of purple in the kitchen. While I enjoy purple as a color, I just didn’t think there would be very many ways to use it in a primary living space without it looking quite garish.
Then again, we all remember the Pink post, don’t we?
Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was actually slightly harder to find a poor example of using purple than it was for other colors like green or blue.
So read on and decide for yourself if you would ever consider using purple in your kitchen. Or if you even like it!
This kitchen uses a common traditional tiling technique: plain backsplash with a decorative accent over the stove. In this case, the designer chose to forgo backsplash tile altogether and opt for a more expensive accent. By keeping the rest of the room’s elements in the creamy tones, the backsplash walls look sophisticated and on par with the room’s aesthetic.
This is also a great example of how your mind plays tricks on you with colors. The tile isn’t actually very purple if you look at it alone and tune out the rest of the room. It’s actually a dark charcoal with blue tones. But when you look at the room as a hole, it picks up the purple around it.
Keep this in mind when you’re tile shopping; a tile that looks one color next to something in the store might look entirely different next to your own finishings at home! ALWAYS ask for samples, and NEVER buy before you’ve seen it with the rest of your room and in your light.
This kitchen actually did opt for a full backsplash of purple tile, but note how the purple is picked up again by the curtains in the dining room.
Again, the rest of the room is kept very neutral which allows the purple to take center stage without competition. There is considerable contrast between the backsplash and the cabinets, but by keeping the counter in a mid-tone and the walls a soft gray, the contrast doesn’t feel so sharp.
Here’s a close-up of the tile:
You can see here how the soft walls and warm counters soften the contrast between the ultraviolet and cream counters. The tiles themselves are an artisan glass in several shades of deep violet.
Here, the designer chose a hand-glazed purple ceramic tile with a cream color and decorative inserts, all set randomly. Choosing primarily bright silver appliances coordinates beautifully with the tones in the tile and makes this kitchen gleam.
This photo doesn’t demonstrate the use of tile, and it’s not even of the kitchen, but it does demonstrate a particularly artful use of purple.
While this room overwhelmingly cries “Purple!”, there are only two actual purple elements: the wallpaper, and the throw pillows. The sofa is actually silver, but again, due to the purple placement throughout the room it takes on purple tones.
To me, this space proves that purple can be the epitome of elegance if it is used tastefully.
This is actually a commercial example, but it’s still a kitchen so I’m rollin’ with it because this look could easily be recreated in a chic loft.
Going with purple cabinets is a major color-commitment, but when it’s done right, it’s highly appealing. The trick is getting the hue right. This is a very rich purple color, not too glossy and not too matte. It’s also right in the middle of the spectrum; with cool colors beside it, it becomes a cool color and with warm tones beside it, it becomes warm.
Purple can also be accented with virtually any other color in the spectrum: yellow, green, and blue are particularly nice but I’ve also purple accented nicely with reds and oranges.
This room accented purple with a bit of canary yellow, lime green, and caribbean blue. The accent tile on the kitchen island surround ties the purple and green together nicely.
It should be noted that the reason this works in this space is because this space is quite large, and very open. In a smaller more restricted room, this would look extremely overwhelming.
The balance plays a key role here as well; none of the accent colors are fighting for the spotlight in this room. It is clear that purple is the primary accent color, and the greens and yellows are complementing it.
Here’s another example:
In this kitchen, the purple is much more subtle. The lavender painted on the island mimics the slight hint of lavender in the backsplash tiles. The lime green acts as the accent here and adds some energy to the soothing tones in the room.
Purple Gone Wrong
Remember what I said before about balance? This kitchen doesn’t have it.
There is a lot going on here.
For starters, choosing to paint the wood beams purple was probably overkill, considering the backsplash is quite busy and the floor has purple in it as well. But that’s not the biggest offender here.
Second of all, BALANCE! In the previous modern kitchen example, the green and yellow acted as subtle accents to the purple. Here, they are fighting for the front page. The bright green wall above the cabinets wouldn’t have been so bad, except there’s a giant graphic clock hanging there that draws your eyes up. And some yellow on the rug wouldn’t have been bad if it wasn’t the primary color in the pattern, and reflecting the circular pattern of the clock, which takes your eyes back up to that green wall again.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: pick ONE element that you want to draw the eye to. If you can’t pick out what the primary focal point of the room is, you have a problem.
The backsplash itself is fine; it coordinates nicely with the wood and the floor and every other finish. The floor tile works as well; while there is variation, it isn’t so extreme that it fights the busyness of the backsplash. But the green and yellow have taken over the room and taken away from the purple.
So there you have it! Purple can absolutely be used in a kitchen and actually looks quite lovely when executed properly. I hope this series was helpful to some of you, but if not, at least you can’t tell me I only post about neutral kitchens anymore 🙂
Feel free to email me if you would like assistance sourcing any of the above tile, or engaging me in a debate about the merits of decorating with purple! As always, the email is firstname.lastname@example.org