Purple living room ideas – ways to use lilac, mauve and plum

Give your living room a pleasing update with these punchy purple decorating ideas

From lilac and dusky purple to claret and plum, there's a purple living room ideas to inspire you to take the shade in any direction, from shabby chic to smart and contemporary.

We're not talking about those fierce, power-glam purples we all loved a few years ago. But a softer and altogether easier-to-live-with tones of purple that offer a more elegant feel.

Worried it'll look murky? There are a range of smart living room ideas that will inspire you to introduce this colour into your space. Just team your purple living room with the right neutral and be fearless with accents...

Purple living room ideas

Purple isn't a 'one shades suits all' kind of colour, are many different depths to this rich tone. From regal tones of punchy purple to softer muted tones of lilac, there's a purple pairing for all settings.

'Purple as a colour for decoration brings the elements of stability and calm confidence from the cooler blue, which given the dynamic world we currently live in can provide both foundations and a safe haven' explains Lee Chambers Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant.

'The beauty of purple is that it also carries undertones of red, creating a simmering energy and presence that positively incites action, without being as overwhelming and passionate as red itself' says Lee. 'And when it stands as its own colour, it can convey a subtle creativity alongside feelings of luxury and status. But it does have mysterious and unconventional side, which really resonates with people who don’t conform.'

Finding the right shade of purple for your living room depends on the light quality, for darker rooms try a shade with red undertones to add warmth – avoiding cooler blue tones of purple. For large rooms filled with light you can afford to take a bold approach with a cooler shades of lilac or dusky mauve. A deep plum purple in a small living room with create a cocooning feel that envelops the room in warmth.

1. Add depth with a feature wall

neutral living room with pink accents and rich plum painted feature wall behind brown sofa

(Image credit: Dulux)

Add warmth to a neutral living room colour scheme with a wall of rich plum. This example from Dulux shows how a delicious shade of purple can add depth to a living space, enhancing tones of stone, beige and dusky shades of pink.

Decorating the wall behind the sofa in this bold shades welcomes a cocooning vibe by drawing you in to take a eat, with the sofa becoming the main focus against the saturated shade of plum.

2. Mix shades for a cohesive colour scheme

A purple sofa in a purple living room with a chandelier

(Image credit: Sofology)

Create a harmonious purple living room scheme that feels stylish yet subtle, by balancing tones. Ground the look with darker hues on furniture, like this purple velvet design above. And rugs to keep the darker tones lower than eye level to avoid the colour overpowering the room.

Look to create definition with darker tones on woodwork, keeping the walls lighter with contrasting depths of lilac and dusky mauve tones to create a gradient of colour.

3. Go bold with saturated tones

A purple and green living room with a dark purple corner sofa

(Image credit: Sofology)

If purple is your favourite colour don't hold back on how you use this rich tone. Go for regal purple, or as we like to call it here at Ideal Home 'Quality Street' purple. The richness of the saturated colour welcomes an elegant touch to a decorating scheme.

Use the colour in a creative way on woodwork to frame windows and architectural points of interest. In this bold living room colour scheme the purple engulfs the entire room, with the use of wall above the picture rail and on the ceiling. This look is not for the faint hearted, but it certainly makes a statement for those brave enough to go bold.

4. Use paint sparingly

A close up shot of a built in shelf unit holding decorative vases and pots

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

Decorating with purple doesn't mean you have to paint walls with colour. You can choose to be creative with accent touches for a winning living room paint idea. A thoughtful touch of paint in alcoves or at the back of shelves is a subtle yet stylish way to introduce a colourful background.

5. Choose earthy mauve tones

A purple living room with mauve walls, a wooden coffee table and floral curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Avoid true, blue based purples and choose a mellow, brown-toned mauve to give your room colour that's sexily sophisticated, but not scary. A chalky, earthy shade of purple is beautifully mixed with rich accents and brass, to give the look modern glamour, or with similar earthy greys and woods, to create a rustic look – as we've done here.

6. Mix jewel colour with boho style

A living room with purple walls, a blue sofa and a chandelier

(Image credit: uture PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Take the jewel colours and painterly details of boho style, but put them with contemporary furniture instead of country or vintage-look pieces. It’ll give your room bags of character and an eclectic vibe that’s easy to evolve.

The trick is to layer dark, mid-weight and light colours, adding lots of white and pale grey so they don’t overwhelm. Here, watercolour washes and oil-painting prints are key to creating a successful boho style. And why not include an oversized chandelier for instant va-va-voom?

7. Decorate with dusky purple

A purple room with purple sofas, a purple rug and a round wall mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Dusty purples are so rich and indulgent, they lend themselves to a really luxe look, with plush velvets, buttoned upholstery, heavy curtains, marble and touches of old gold.

Choose a flat, chalky matte finish for purple-tone paint or it'll look dated, but bring the colour to life with lots of texture in the room. A burst of turquoise accents are fresh enough to cut through and cool down shades of purple and pink.

8. Make it modern

A light purple sofa in front of dramatic patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Dusty purple looks great with off-white furniture for classic style, but team it with shades of cool grey for a more modern living room scheme.

Combine dusty purples – plum, aubergine, fig – with blush pink and grey for a harmonious palette that creates just the right mellow mood for a living room. Alternatively pair with shades of linen, mushroom or soft green for an additional contrast.

9. Keep it cosy

A traditional living room with dark purple walls and curtains and a roaring fire

(Image credit: Future PLC/Rachel Whiting/Country Homes & Interiors)

Blend a winter palette of claret and plum with earthy wood texture for a cosy living room look. Prevent the colour scheme going into overdrive by using softer mauve-greys, browns and greys for accessories and other elements in the room.

A weathered wood coffee table will balance the look. Bring the outside in with prints of autumnal nature to enhance the country-cottage style and snuggle down with plenty of warm throws and blankets.

10. Work a trend

Country living room with rocking chair and ladder shelf

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

Try your hand at creating an ombré living room feature wall. Putting a positive spin on the term ‘faded beauty', this decorating technique is seriously hot in the interiors world right now. If you're up for a challenge, you could try painting an ombré wall yourself. You'll need a steady hand and spot-on blending skills to pull it off.

This calm and simple living room is decorated with a dusky lilac paint effect on the walls. Layer throws and cushions in calm, muted shades on a rocking chair for a relaxed space that’s perfect for curling up with a book. A ladder shelf provides rustic living room storage for books and candles, while a rug adds a hint of pattern and texture.

11. Stick to accessories and soft furnishings

A neutral living room with a dark purple rug and black coffee table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

If going for an all-out purple living room is too risky for you, consider keeping it to accessories and soft furnishings for a subtle touch. Neutral tones and plush soft furnishings give this stylish living room a homely feel. The purple rug provides a grounding for the scheme that boosts the impact of the pale walls and sofas.

While the chandelier and sumptuous curtain fabric are luxurious touches, the pinks of the odd-one-out cushion and lampshade are off-message tones that lift the scheme above the ordinary. At least this way, if you get bored, you can easily change the look in an instant.

Are purple living room ideas on trend for 2024?

Purple is set to be on trend in 2024, as it is announced as the Pantone colour of the year 2022 – Very Peri a blue with a violet red undertone.

'Blending the faithfulness and constancy of blue with the energy and excitement of red, this happiest and warmest of all the blue hues introduces an empowering mix of newness,' says Pantone.

Will you be picking purple as your colour of choice? We dare you to create the purple living room of your dreams!


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.