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Does purple work with red?

Does purple work with red?

Purple and red are both bold, eye-catching colors that can make a major style statement when used in fashion or interior decor. However, combining these two vivid shades in one look requires some careful thought. Used skillfully, red and purple can complement each other beautifully. But if not balanced properly, the pairing can easily become overwhelming or garish. Let’s take a closer look at the best ways to mix these colors for a stylish, put-together aesthetic.

The Color Theory Behind Red and Purple

In color theory, purple and red are considered complementary colors, meaning they are opposite each other on the color wheel. This makes them naturally high-contrast. When complementary shades are placed side-by-side, they create a vibrant, energetic look that pops. This is because they contain no hues in common. So pairing red and purple can be an exciting, dramatic choice.

However, it’s important not to go overboard. With both being extremely bold, saturated colors, red and purple can easily clash if the balance is off. Using high concentrations of both in a single outfit or interior scheme can seem garish and visually overwhelming. The key is using just the right ratio of each color.

Tips for Combining Purple and Red Fashionably

When building a red and purple fashion look, stick to just one color as the dominant hue. Use the other shade as more of an accent. For example, choose a bold purple dress or top as the main piece. Then add a red belt, shoes, bag or other accessories as splashes of contrast.

Alternatively, make red the star color with a dress, blazer or trousers. Bring in purple with a scarf, hat, heels or jewelry for interest. Just don’t pair a red top with purple bottoms, or vice versa, which can look mismatched.

It’s also smart to incorporate neutrals like black, white, gray or tan. These muted tones help ground the eye-popping purple and red, acting as breaks between the intensity. You can use neutrals in larger pieces like trousers, skirts or jackets. Or try shoes, handbags and other accessories.

When mixing prints and patterns, stick to just one colorful motif like florals or geometrics. Combine it with solid purple or red pieces. Too many competing loud prints can make an ensemble feel chaotic.

In terms of shade variations, pairing a lighter red with a deeper purple often works better than two darker, richer versions side-by-side. So try a pale red with an eggplant or plum shade for balance.

Tips for Using Red and Purple in Home Decor

The same principles apply when combining red and purple decor. Use one as the main wall color in a room, then bring in the other hue in smaller doses. For example, paint walls a deep red-violet shade. Then add purple pillows, throws and accessories for accent.

Or go for a bold eggplant or plum paint color on the walls. Add contrast with a red area rug, vase or other decorative objects. As in fashion, you generally don’t want to paint opposite walls in pure red and pure purple, which can feel overwhelming in a single room.

When selecting red and purple fabrics like curtains, bedding or upholstery, look for subdued, muted versions rather than intensely saturated shades. Soft red and lilac or lavender tones complement each other beautifully when used in the right balance. Then punch up the look with some rich purple and crimson accessories.

Don’t be afraid to integrate plenty of neutrals like white, beige and gray as well. These quiet tones allow the red and purple colors to really stand out while preventing an overly chaotic feel.

Examples of Red and Purple Done Right

Here are some examples of red and purple paired artfully in both fashion and interior decor:

  • A floral, purple maxi dress with red wedges and handbag
  • A red sheath dress with purple statement jewelry
  • Crisp white trousers with a purple blouse and red heels
  • A gray suit with subtle red pinstripes, purple shirt and matching tie
  • A bedroom with eggplant purple walls and a bold red headboard
  • A living room with light purple sofa and red curtains and pillows
  • A powder room with rich red paint and purple bath accessories

When worn or decorated well, red and purple placements create a bold, dramatic aesthetic full of personality. Just be strategic about how you combine them for the most stylish and put-together look.


Red and purple may seem like a challenging color combination at first glance. But with the right approach, these bold complementary shades can complement each other beautifully. The key tips to remember are:

  • Use one color dominantly and the other as accent
  • Incorporate neutral tones like white, tan or gray as balancing elements
  • Aim for lighter or softer shades rather than intensely saturated versions of both colors
  • Avoid pairing pure red and pure purple evenly in a single outfit or room scheme

With strategic use of purple and red, you can create stylish, polished looks with lots of visual interest. So don’t be afraid to experiment with mixing these vivid shade. Just keep the overall balance in mind. When used thoughtfully, this colorful combination packs a real visual punch.

Red Shade Purple Shade Type of Use
Crimson Eggplant Accent pillows
Light pink Lilac Bedding
Bright cherry red Deep plum Small decor items