Reds, purples and greys together.

Too masculine?


Red and purple, a bit ‘in your face’?

I thought so too until I had a wake up call in The Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum the other day. How could I doubt when in front of me lay clear evidence that these colours complement each other perfectly?

A while back I went to the Farrow & Ball colour inspiration talk, where Joa Studholme, the colour consultant singled out Raddiccio, as “one to watch” and she paired it with some cool greys. Very smart, very chic and then I go and add purples, so I only have myself to blame. But I was stuck. What to fabric to add to this rich pinky red in my scheme?

Not being a huge red fan and trying to avoid the predictable charcoals (which I love but I need to branch out), I tried placing Raddiccio alongside pale purple fabrics. NB NOT EVER to be confused with lilac, but that wonderful colour of purple grapes which still have that smokey haze on them (pesticides?!). I hereby refer to them as smokey purples.

So there I was, scheming with two colours I don’t feel highly confident with: purples and reds. Together! Did it work? Was it exciting enough? There was only one thing for it. As I said in my previous post, if in doubt consult those who know. Namely artists, living and dead.

Interior Spy was determined to hunt down proof that smokey purples and reds are definitely an OK combo.

Found! Amongst the palettes of El Greco, Raphael and Tiepolo. Thanks guys. You rock. My not-very-exciting scheme now had a bit of context and credibility. Add in a few more smokey purples, for example a deep aubergine throw. Chuck in some lovely aged timbers, big bold table lamps, lots of flowers and perhaps some silver frames.

You have an inviting, warm, rich-but-subtle scheme, thanks to the smokey purples becoming friends with greys and reds. They greys help to keep everything a little muted, Interior Spy’s favourite aesthetic. Give or take.