Skip to Content

What colors do not go with purple?

What colors do not go with purple?

Purple is a versatile and popular color that can complement a wide range of shades. However, there are certain colors that do not pair well with purple and can make an unappealing or clashing combination. In this article, we will explore what colors do not go with purple and why these color combinations should typically be avoided.

Warm Colors

Purple is a cool color on the color wheel, meaning it has blue undertones. As a general rule of thumb, cool colors like purple do not go well with warm colors like red, orange, and yellow. The contrast is too stark and the color clash is visually unappealing. Here are some specific warm colors that do not complement purple:

Red Red and purple are on opposite sides of the color wheel, making their pairing jarring. The high contrast of a warm red against a cool purple is abrasive.
Orange Like red, orange is a warm color that clashes with cool-toned purple. An orange and purple combination can look garish and loud.
Yellow Yellow is a bright and cheerful color that does not mesh well with the more somber, serious tones of purple. Yellow often looks dated or cheap when paired with purple.

The vibrancy of warm colors like red, orange and yellow overwhelm the cooler, more muted purple. Unless you are intentionally going for a funky, eclectic color scheme, it’s best to avoid pairing purple with these warm shades.


Brown is another color that rarely complements purple. Brown is an earthy, neutral color derived from orange. As such, it shares orange’s warm undertones that conflict with cool-toned purple. Also, brown’s mutedness paired with the vibrancy of purple tends to look drab and dreary rather than sophisticated. Very few shades of brown work with purple, so it’s generally best to avoid this combination.


While green and purple are not direct opposites, certain shades of green often clash with purple. Cooler greens with blue undertones like emerald and teal can work well with purple. However, earthy greens with yellow undertones like olive green, chartreuse, and lime green tend to look garish and disjointed when paired with purple. The green takes on a sickly, unpleasant tone next to purple. Stick to bluer greens if you want to pair green and purple.

Emerald green Works well with purple – both are cool colors
Teal Works well with purple – shares purple’s blue undertones
Olive green Clashes with purple due to yellow/green undertones
Lime green Too bright/warm for purple – unappealing combination


Most neutral colors like whites, blacks, grays, tans, and browns do not complement purple well. Neutrals tend to drain the vibrancy out of the rich purple shade. An exception is pastel lavender, which works nicely with other pale neutrals like blush pink, eggshell white, or dove gray. In general though, stick to pairing purple with other cooler-toned colors rather than neutrals.


Certain shades of pink can be too sweet and playful to pair elegantly with regal purple. Bubblegum pink, hot pink, and Barbie pink often look cheap, tacky, or juvenile next to purple’s refined hues. However, softer pinks like pastel pink, lilac pink, and mauve pink coordinate beautifully with light, airy shades of purple. The key is to avoid pairing fluorescent, saturated pinks with purple.

Bubblegum pink Too garish with purple
Hot pink Too loud and neon against purple
Pastel pink Goes well with pale purple shades
Mauve pink Lovely, elegant complement to purple


In summary, purple pairs best with other cool-toned colors like blues, cooler greens, and soft muted pinks. Avoid pairing purple with warm colors like orange, red, and yellow as this creates too much contrast. Brown, olive green, and bright pinks also tend to clash with purple’s regal elegance. But feel free to experiment with different purple color combinations and break the “rules” if you find shades that work well together unexpectedly. Trust your own eye for color and explore all the possibilities with this versatile secondary shade.