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What is complementary of mauve?

What is complementary of mauve?

Understanding color theory and color complements is important for artists, designers, and anyone looking to create visually appealing color combinations. Mauve is a light purple or lilac shade that was popularized in the late 19th century. When looking for complements of mauve, we need to consider the hue, saturation, and brightness of the color. Complements are colors located opposite each other on the color wheel that create maximum contrast and vibrancy when placed next to each other. Finding the right complement of mauve can help make designs and artwork pop.

Defining Mauve

Mauve is a pale purple or lilac color between violet and pink on the color wheel. The first synthetic mauve dye was discovered by chemist William Henry Perkin in 1856. Prior to this, mauve clothing was only available to the wealthy because mauve dyes were derived from rare mollusk snails. Perkin’s discovery of the synthetic mauve dye allowed the color to spread in popularity, particularly in women’s fashion in the late Victorian era.

The name “mauve” comes from the French word for the mallow flower. Mauve sits between purple and pink on the color wheel, desaturated from vivid purple and less saturated than rich pink. When searching for mauve color codes, hexadecimal values are often #E0B0FF or #DCD0FF. Mauve is considered a tertiary color, meaning it is created by combining the primary and secondary colors on the color wheel. For mauve, this involves mixing red and blue to get purple, then lightening the purple with white.

The Color Wheel

To understand color complements, we first need to understand the structure of the color wheel. The color wheel arranges colors in a circle based on their hue and relationship to primary colors.

Primary Colors Red Blue Yellow

The primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. When combined, these three colors can create any other hue. By mixing primary colors, we get the secondary colors:

Secondary Colors Green Purple Orange

Tertiary colors like mauve are created by mixing a primary and secondary color. Other tertiary colors include vermilion, amber, chartreuse, teal, magenta, and violet.

Complementary colors sit directly across from each other on the color wheel. These color pairs contrast strongly, creating vibrant combinations. Some examples of complementary pairs are:

Complementary Pairs Red & Green Blue & Orange Yellow & Purple

Using complementary colors together can create color harmony in visual design. However, complements used improperly can also clash, so it is important to balance them with neutrals.

Finding the Complement of Mauve

Now that we understand color relationships, how do we find the complement of mauve?

First, we determine where mauve sits on the color wheel. As a pale purple, mauve is closest to the purple section of the wheel between red and blue. This means mauve’s complement will be located opposite on the color wheel in the yellow section between red and green.

The exact complement of any color also depends on its saturation and brightness. A very pale mauve will have a different complement than a deep saturated mauve. Light values need a darker color for maximum contrast. Darker colors need a lighter complement for balance.

Most mauve shades are light and muted. Therefore, deep golden yellows and mustard yellows are ideal complements of classic mauve. These shades provide enough contrast without being overpowering. Some specific shades that complement mauve include:

Mauve Complements Goldenrod Amber Mustard Old gold

Warmer yellows with a hint of orange or gold suit the purple undertones of mauve. Greenish yellows would be too bright and clash with muted mauve. When in doubt, look at a color wheel to see which shades sit opposite mauve. The closer two colors are on the wheel, the more they will complement each other.

Mauve and Yellow Color Combinations

Now that we know yellows complement mauve, let’s look at some examples of mauve and yellow color combinations:

Mauve and Golden Yellow: A light lilac mauve pairs beautifully with a golden sunflower yellow. This combination is soft and soothing. Use in a bedroom or baby nursery.

Pale Mauve and Mustard: Mustard yellow has an earthy retro feel that contrasts nicely with pale mauve. Use this color scheme for 70s style kitchen decor or fall wedding accents.

Vivid Mauve and Amber: A vivid mauve saturated with purple undertones looks striking alongside rich amber. Use this dramatic combo for bold graphic design or modern abstract art.

Dusty Mauve and Old Gold: Dusty mauves with a gray undertone complement old gold and burnt yellow tones. Use for an elegant vintage look in furniture or decor.

Soft Mauve and Butter Yellow: Buttery soft yellows pair delicately with soft lilac mauves. Use this combination to create a whimsical, romantic aesthetic for bedrooms or baby showers.

How to Use Mauve and Yellow Together

When combining mauve and yellow, keep in mind the following tips:

– Use yellow as an accent color against a mauve background for balance. Too much yellow can overpower the softer mauve.

– Add cream, gray, or slate blue as neutral buffers between bright yellow and muted mauve.

– Use a soft buttery yellow alongside pale mauve for a delicate look. Deeper golds suit richer mauves.

– Monochromatic mauves with different saturations and brightnesses can prevent yellow accents from feeling mismatched.

– Add metallics like gold or silver to tie together mauve and yellow. Metallics reflect both colors for cohesion.

– Use mauve in large backgrounds like walls, textiles, or website backgrounds. Use vivid yellows in accessories, buttons, packaging details.

– Incorporate mauves and yellows in floral designs, paintings, or graphics. Contrast enhances the vibrancy of both colors.

Properly balancing mauve and yellow creates vibrant, harmonious combinations that catch the eye and leave a lasting impression.

Psychology of Mauve and Yellow

In color psychology, mauve and yellow carry very different emotional associations:


– Calming, soothing

– Feminine, romantic

– Nostalgic, vintage

– Introverted, sensitive


– Uplifting, joyful

– Energetic, youthful

– Attention-grabbing

– Extroverted, sociable

Combining these colors creates an aesthetic that contrasts quiet elegance with vivacious energy. Mauve calms the brightness of yellow, while yellow energizes subdued mauve.

Use this color scheme to appeal to both demographics in settings like hotels, salons, boutiques, events, and decor. Mauve offers familiar comfort while yellow brings excitement.

Mauve vs Purple vs Lilac

Mauve is often confused with similar shades of purple and lilac. While in the same purple family, these colors have distinct differences:


– Contains more grey and pink

– Muted, soft, pale

– Named after the mallow flower

– Associated with the 1890s


– Contains more blue

– Vibrant, deep shade

– Historically associated with royalty

– Named after the purple dye from mollusks


– Very pale, whitish purple

– Named after the lilac flower

– Can refer to mauve and lavender shades

– Used in Victorian era decor

Mauve has a greyer, dustier tone than vivid purple and is lighter than rich lilacs. When searching for a mauve complement, often soft yellows will suit better than bright complementary yellow-greens.


Finding complementary colors can bring any design scheme to life. The muted tones of mauve perfectly suit the vibrancy of yellow shades like amber, mustard, and goldenrod. Combining these colors captures attention while also creating balance. By keeping mauve the dominant color and yellow the accent, the pairing remains harmonious. From graphic design to fashion to interior decor, mauve and yellow offer endless possibilities for complementary color schemes.