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Can burgundy pass as maroon?

Can burgundy pass as maroon?

Burgundy and maroon are two similar shades of deep red that are often confused with one another. Though they may look alike at first glance, there are some key differences between the two colors that set them apart. In this article, we will explore what defines burgundy and maroon, how they are similar and different, and whether burgundy can successfully pass as maroon in terms of color theory and practical use cases. Understanding the nuances between these dark red hues can be helpful for fashion, interior decorating, graphic design, and more.

Defining Burgundy

Burgundy is a deep red color that gets its name from the Burgundy wine produced in the Burgundy region of France. True burgundy has a dark red base with hints of purple and even brown tones mixed in. On the color wheel, burgundy falls between red and purple. Its hex code is #800020.

Some key facts about the color burgundy:

– Hue – burgundy is a reddish hue that leans slightly more towards purple/violet than true red.

– Brightness/Value – burgundy is a very deep, dark shade with low brightness and value. It has a muted, earthy quality.

– Tones – in addition to its base red, burgundy includes subtle purple and brown tones. This gives it a rich, sophisticated look.

– Uses – burgundy works well for fall/winter colors and is popular in wine, carpeting, interior design, and fashion.

– Feeling – burgundy conveys a sense of richness, elegance, and subtle vibrancy. It’s bold yet refined.

Defining Maroon

Maroon is also a deep, dark red that gets its name from the French word “marron” meaning chestnut. Like burgundy, it sits between red and purple on the color wheel. But compared to burgundy, maroon contains more red and less brown. Its hex code is #800000.

Key facts about maroon:

– Hue – maroon leans closer to red than purple, though it has some subtle purple tones.

– Brightness/Value – maroon is extremely dark and muted like burgundy. It has a very low value and brightness.

– Tones – the main secondary tone in maroon is purple. There is less brown than burgundy.

– Uses – maroon is popular for fall, universities, sports teams, and graphic design.

– Feeling – maroon conveys richness along with a bold, lively vibe. It’s energetic for a dark color.

Burgundy vs. Maroon

Though they are both deep reddish hues, there are some key differences between burgundy and maroon:

Burgundy Maroon
Has purple/brown tones Has subtle purple tones
Muted, earthy quality Bolder, brighter quality
Hex code #800020 Hex code #800000
Sophisticated, elegant Bold, lively, energetic

As you can see, burgundy contains more brown/purple tones compared to maroon. Burgundy is a bit muted and earthy, while maroon has a bolder, brighter quality. In hex codes, burgundy has more blue mixed in, while maroon is a truer red. And the overall feeling of burgundy is more elegant and refined, whereas maroon conveys bold energy.

Can Burgundy Pass as Maroon?

So when it comes down to it, can burgundy pass as maroon? Or are the differences between the two colors too noticeable? Let’s explore some scenarios.

In fashion:

Burgundy and maroon are both popular fall/winter fashion colors. Many people won’t notice a difference if you wear maroon pants with a burgundy top, for example. The colors complement each other nicely. However, placing burgundy and maroon directly next to each other may reveal subtle visual differences. Overall, burgundy can usually pass as maroon in fashion.

In interior design:

For large pieces like sofas or walls, the brown undertones in burgundy may be more apparent. Side by side, a maroon couch and burgundy walls will clash slightly. But burgundy pillows or accents on a maroon sofa can work nicely together. For small touches, burgundy can still pass as maroon in interior decor.

In graphic design:

When viewed digitally, the visual difference between maroon (#800000) and burgundy (#800020) hex codes is easier to see. Burgundy looks a bit muted and dull compared to bright maroon. However, for logos and designs intended for print media, burgundy can still substitute for maroon in most cases.

In lighting:

Lighting conditions can really bring out the subtle differences between maroon and burgundy. Under incandescent or candlelight, the brown undertones in burgundy may come through. Meanwhile, maroon retains its bold red appearance under different lighting. Here, burgundy is less likely to pass as maroon.


Burgundy and maroon are distinct shades of deep red, with burgundy leaning more brown/purple and maroon more true red. But in many cases, the differences are subtle enough that burgundy can stand in for maroon without much notice. In particular lighting conditions or when viewed side-by-side, the colors may clash slightly. But overall, burgundy can successfully pass as maroon in most practical applications like fashion, interior design, and graphics. Choosing between these rich red hues ultimately comes down to the vibe you wish to convey and your own color preferences.

So in summary, though they have their differences, burgundy can often pass as maroon quite well. As long as you don’t mind subtle earthy tones mixed with your bold reds, using burgundy when maroon is specified should not pose much of an issue. With its sophisticated persona, burgundy brings its own flair to any maroon application.