Skip to Content

What is a pretty shade of purple?

What is a pretty shade of purple?

Purple is a color that exudes royalty, creativity, and mystery. With roots dating back to ancient times, shades of purple range from light lavenders to deep violets. When searching for a pretty purple, there are many factors to consider such as hue, tone, and context. By examining some of the most popular and aesthetically pleasing purple shades, we can determine what makes them visually stunning.

What is purple?

Purple is a secondary color made by combining red and blue. On the color wheel, it is located between violet and magenta. While many people use “purple” and “violet” interchangeably, violet is technically a spectral color with its own specific wavelength of light. Purple is a broader term encompassing violets, lavenders, lilacs, and more.

The first known use of the word “purple” dates back to the 1300s. It comes from the Old English word “purpul” which was adapted from the Latin word “purpura.” This referred to the purple dye that was highly coveted in ancient times and came from a specific type of sea snail. Tyrian purple, as the dye was known, was incredibly difficult and expensive to produce. As a result, purple fabrics became associated with royalty and nobility who were the only ones who could afford them.

Psychology of the color purple

It’s no coincidence that purple is associated with royalty. The color relays a sense of luxury, ambition, and extravagance. Purple has also long been associated with spirituality and mystery. In ancient times, purple robes were worn by royalty and people of authority like magistrates, priests, and emperors. The rarity and expense of purple dye meant it was worthy of such high-ranking individuals.

Purple is also a combination of the stability of blue and the energy of red. It’s considered a balance between warm and cool colors. Therefore, purple takes on some of the psychological attributes of its two component colors:

  • Red – passionate, energetic, urgent
  • Blue – calm, wise, focused

With shades ranging from light to dark, different purples take on some of these characteristics more than others. Light purples like lilac evoke a sense of gentleness, romance, and nostalgia. Bright purples like fuchsia exude energy, playfulness, and drama. Dark or muted purples are more somber and sophisticated.

Cultural and historical significance

The significance of the color purple has roots in antiquity. Here are some examples of purple’s cultural and historical significance:

  • In Roman times, rulers wore purple robes as a status symbol.
  • In Catholicism, purple represents penitence and mourning. It is worn during Advent and Lent.
  • Purple is associated with royalty in British history, featured in crowns, scepters, and thrones.
  • Purple ribbons are used to represent Alzheimer’s awareness.
  • In Thailand, purple is used to represent mourning and widowhood.
  • The Purple Heart medal recognizes those wounded or killed while serving the U.S. military.

As we can see, purple has carried importante meaning since ancient history. Today it maintains an aura of luxury while also being whimsical, creative, and inspiring.

Defining shades of purple

There are limitless shades of the color purple. However, certain shades stand out as being particularly pretty or aesthetically pleasing. What defines a pretty purple depends both on personal preference and principles of color theory. Here are some factors that impact a purple shade’s prettiness:

  • Hue – The actual color (red, blue, green). Purples range from reddish-purples to blueish-purples.
  • Tone – The lightness or darkness of a color. Pretty purples often strike a pleasing balance.
  • Saturation – The intensity or richness of the color from muted to neon.
  • Context – How the color is used and perceived in a given setting.

With these key factors in mind, we can break down some examples of traditionally pretty purple shades.

Pretty light purple shades

When people imagine a pretty light purple, a few shades often come to mind:

  • Lilac – A light violet with hints of pink and blue. Its soft, delicate nature is universally flattering.
  • Lavender – A light, cool purple with blue undertones. It’s gentle and calming.
  • Wisteria – A vibrant, blue-tinted purple named after the flowering vine.
  • Thistle – A pale purple-gray that takes its name from the flowering thistle plant.

Pretty bright purple shades

Vibrant, saturated purples can also have an lively, pretty effect. Examples include:

  • Orchid – A rich purple with blue undertones, inspired by the color of orchid flowers.
  • Purpleheart – A reddish purple that gets its name from an exotic shade of purplewood.
  • Magenta – A pinkish purple that is one of the primary colors in modern color printing.
  • Mulberry – A red-toned purple named after the mulberry fruit.

Pretty dark purple shades

Deep, darker purples can also have an elegant, pretty look:

  • Amethyst – A jewel-toned purple named after the precious stone.
  • Byzantium – A rich, royal purple with red undertones.
  • Eggplant – A darker purple with blue tones inspired by the plant.
  • Plum – A red-toned purple said to resemble the fruit.

Most popular pretty purple shades

Based on color popularity data, consumer surveys, and expert recommendations, the following emerge as some of the most admired and aesthetically pleasing shades of purple:

Purple Shade Hex Code Description
Lilac #C8A2C8 Soft, light blend of pink and blue
Wisteria #C9A0DC Vibrant, blue-toned purple
Lavender #B57EDC Light, airy pale purple
Orchid #DA70D6 Rich blue-toned purple
Byzantium #702963 Deep red-based purple
Amethyst #9966CC Jewel-toned, luxurious purple

As we can see, lighter purples like lilac and lavender emerge as pretty crowd-pleasers. More vivid orchid and wisteria are energetic and playful. Deep hues like Byzantium and amethyst speak to purple’s mystical, sophisticated side. Choosing the right shade comes down to individual taste and intended use.

Using pretty purples effectively

Context plays a key role in determining how aesthetically pleasing a purple will look. Here are some tips for effectively using pretty purples:

  • In fashion, lighter purples complement cool skin tones. Darker eggplant purples pair well with warm complexions.
  • In interior design, purples make striking accent colors against gray and beige backdrops.
  • In floral arrangements, pair complementary colors like yellows and whites with purples.
  • In graphic design, bright purple grabs attention. Soft purple makes a relaxing background.
  • In food, purple adds visual appeal to dishes and drinks. Use naturally purple ingredients or infuse with dye.

whatever the usage, keep in mind the symbolism and mood you want to convey, whether it’s energizing or soothing, friendly or luxurious. The right purple can evoke the desired aesthetic and emotional response.


There are many stunning shades of purple that qualify as aesthetically pretty. Factors like hue, tone, saturation help determine a purple’s beauty and appeal. Light purples like lilac and lavender have an inherent prettiness. Vibrant orchid and mulberry add striking color. Rich amethyst and Byzantium relay sophistication. While personal taste plays a role, shades like wisteria, lilac, and orchid emerge as crowd-pleasing purples. Whatever purple you choose, use color theory and context to make the biggest visual impact.