The soft tone of lilac makes it an excellent choice for decorating. But what's the difference between this shade and other purple hues? While lavender and periwinkle are in the same family, they have more blue and gray undertones. Lilac, however, skews slightly more pink or red. This doesn't necessarily make it challenging to design with, but like all color schemes, you'll need to decide how much of the standout shade you'd like to weave into your space.
Lilac is a color that works well with soft neutrals like shades of white, gray, or taupe. "Paired with a crisp cool white like Blackened, you can create a space both elegant yet thoroughly modern," says Patrick O'Donnell, international brand ambassador for Farrow & Ball. However, it can also be striking with bright reds, blues, or rich greens.
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"When we think of the color lilac, blue instantly comes to mind," say designers Janelle Hughes and Kim R. Williams, co-owners of KJ Design & Mortar Styling. "The pairing creates both a calming and serene palette that reminds us of the ocean with its kaleidoscope of colors and the calmness." On the other hand, if you want to warm things up, designer Fran Keenan favors the use of brown, saying, "The earthiness of brown mixed with a purple shade like lilac makes it more livable. Lilac makes brown furniture and upholstery feel young again."
No matter what accent color you pair it with, lilac will add a serene and soothing note to your home's palette. It's a soft shade that doesn't dominate, but it certainly can boost your mood. Freshen up your decor by introducing the shade with accent pillows, bedding, a lampshade, or even wallpaper. Or try something a little bolder and go with a lilac tile backsplash or appliance. And don't forget some fresh-cut lilac flowers placed in vases around your home for a fragrant and eye-catching touch.
While we've seen light blue and pink dominate decor over the last few years, lilac is a nice pastel alternative. It's a subtle way to amp up the drama and moodiness in your space without losing that light and airy look. If you are thinking about using the pretty shade in your space, here are 11 colors that go beautifully with lilac, plus some expert advice to get you started on the right foot.
11 Lilac Color Combinations
1. Lilac and White
If you want to lean into the hue's subtlety, pair lilac with white. Follow the lead of interior designer Melanie Lissack and opt for an upholstered headboard flaunting the purple shade. The white wall with picture frame molding acts as the perfect backdrop.
2. Lilac and Gray
You can't beat the color gray as a perfect match for lilac. The industrial hue has undertones of blue, green, or purple, which all work beautifully with the purple shade. Lilac also has a hint of gray, making the two a dreamy pair. Take this combination spotted on Bed Threads showcasing soft lilac and charcoal linens perfect for a bedroom update. Play with different tones of each color to give your space a moodier or lighter feel.
3. Lilac, Yellow, and Purple
A fail-safe method for coordinating any color scheme is to simply pair two or more colors in varying shades or saturation, also known as a monochrome or tonal approach. For instance, Erin Williamson used both purple and lilac to set the stage in this stylish dining room. The pale wall color is the perfect complement to the area rug that adds depth and grounds the colorful space. The canary yellow artwork adds a bit of warmth and is sure to be a conversation starter at every dinner party.
4. Lilac and Burnt Orange
Warm colors like brown, orange, and green are always on-trend. But adding lilac to the mix can actually bring surprising results. Just take a look at this eclectic bedroom by Reath Design. The burnt orange curtains, brown bedding, and olive green lounge chair don't feel nearly as dark and heavy as they might otherwise, thanks to the lilac area rug.
5. Lilac and Royal Blue
While lilac and navy blue are a stunning twosome, we like the idea of going with something a little brighter and unexpected, like royal blue. Linen brand Bed Threads spotlighted this bedroom belonging to Melbourne artist Bobby Clark, who added the vibrant color by hanging one of her own pieces on the wall plus a matching nightstand. The contrast between the bold color and the light lilac bedding makes for an intriguing vibe.
6. Lilac and Peach
This stunning powder room by Shannon Eddings proves how effortlessly pastel shades can work together. Here, a floor-to-ceiling floral wallpaper design — made up of warm and cool colors such as lilac and peach, to name a few — is definitely the star of the show. The black ceiling and floor ground the busy pattern, but the white toilet and pedestal sink keep the small space from feeling too dark. The brass mirror and faucet are the perfect finishing touches.
7. Lilac and Eggplant
If you really want to complement lilac, pair it with the color eggplant. This dark, rich shade of purple adds jaw-dropping contrast yet feels right at home next to its lighter counterpart. Let the team over at Annie Sloan show you how it's done with this charming kitchen setup decked out in chalk paint.
8. Lilac and Light Blue
As much as we love dramatic and moody spaces, we are equally fond of light and airy interiors like this bedroom sitting area by Michelle Gage. While the little corner has no shortage of color, it still feels bright and fresh thanks to the lilac and light blue color palette.
9. Lilac and Fuchsia
At first, fuchsia and lilac may seem like a color combination that clashes. But one look at this situation by Danish designer Nadia Olive Schnack will undoubtedly change your mind. The walls flaunting a dreamy shade of lilac (that looks like Sugared Almond by Farrow & Ball) have a pink undertone that pairs stunningly with the vibrant artwork and oversize pendant light. The neutral flooring and furniture temper the vibrant scheme.
10. Lilac,Teal, and Burgundy
Like a shade of blue or green, teal is another great color to pair with lilac. You can go bold with the combo, as proven in this living room spotted on Tomassini Arredamenti featuring teal artwork and a matching stool along with a lilac couch and burgundy accent chair. Or, if you want to try adding the jewel tones in a more subtle way, opt for some colorful throw pillows or a patterned area rug, keeping your walls white or light gray to balance the dramatic scheme.
11. Lilac and Yellow
The complementary opposite of purple on the color wheel is yellow. Lilac and yellow will brighten any room with the fresh feeling of spring, but the combo looks especially cheerful in this kitchen design from Pluck. The pastel hues of each shade work together to create a soft and inviting feel that will only enhance your culinary masterpieces.
Colors That Go With Lilac
Lilac is a beautiful color that can feel even more so paired with a variety of different colors. But before you commit, consider the overall feeling you are going for in your space. For something more moody and dramatic, pair lilac with darker shades like charcoal gray or teal. If you're looking for a vibe that's peaceful and serene, pastels like mint green, yellow, or powder blue are lovely. And remember, you don't have to dive into the deep end — you can incorporate color sparingly with the help of textiles, rugs, and decor.
Here is a recap of some of our favorite colors to pair with lilac:
- Canary yellow
- Burnt orange
- Royal blue
- Light blue
- Light yellow