Decorating and Styling with Lilac Hues

by Kelli Kehler

When it comes to decorating with accent colors, shades of purple aren’t usually the first people go for, and they’re certainly not considered to be the most popular. But I’m making a case for the floral hue of lilac, because depending on how it’s used in a space — and the intensity in which the color is saturated — it can come across as calming, or energizing, or even ethereal.

Because lilac isn’t necessarily one of the trendiest design colors of the moment (ahem, blush), its presence in a room is that much more striking, unexpected and unique. In these 16 examples, you’ll see each space’s use of lilac hues invites an “oh!” reaction — because we just don’t use this color in interiors very much. And I think it’s time for that to change. —

Image above: lends a jovial yet sophisticated vibe to this remodeled 1915 brownstone in Brooklyn’s Park Slope borough. The pairing of a joyful color and original wainscoting adds dimension and intrigue to the room.


A splash of light lilac paint on this detailed headboard – and pillows in the same color family – take a bright San Francisco apartment to the next level.


In Anchorage, Alaska, a vibrant floral rug punches up a mid-century modern living room with jolts of lilac. By keeping the abundant color on the floor, the rest of the space can be more neutral in decor.


A breathtakingly beautiful bedroom in Edinburgh, Scotland pulls from a lilac color palette with this idyllic wallpaper by . Bright purple butterflies make an appearance on the wall, but the overall tone of the wallpaper creates a dreamlike vibe in this space.


Merry Lake’s 1800s New Orleans home has colorful surprises everywhere – including her bedroom. Here a DIY wallpaper made of sheet music creates a detailed yet neutral palette for the room, and a swath of on the upper part of the wall injects the space with energy.


Artwork from ferm LIVING casts a pale lilac tone over this otherwise neutral bedroom in Australia.


In Los Angeles, a darker lilac-toned vintage couch pairs well with both warm and cool colors throughout the space.


This custom-built home in Sunshine Coast, Australia features a truly unique element in the kitchen: a pink and purple watercolor wallpaper backsplash. This is a great place to use a bold color – in an otherwise sleek and minimal room.


Lilac is the name of the game in this North Carolina living room. Its color presence in the rug energizes the room, while the hue on the chair is more calming. Click through to see more lilac decor in the same room.


In their texture-filled Hudson Valley home, Philip and Leong elevate the power of a pop of lilac by pairing it with its complementary counterpart: yellow.


Hues of purple burst throughout this basement hallway, thanks to Cole & Son “Prism” wallpaper. Using a bright, fun color treatment in the basement is an unexpected way to pull off a design that’s a bit riskier. It also energizes a part of the home that is usually deemed as dreary and forgotten.


In artist Stephanie Ryan’s meditation space, her own painting creates a calming vibe with a striking lilac hue. The painting also lifts softer purple tones found elsewhere in this vignette.


A rooftop lounge area in Manhattan gets a lift from cheerful lilac pillows with bold patterns.


To try out this color in a smaller space, a tabletop vignette is a great option. Here a bundle of dried lavender and a brightly colored textile bring forth lilac hues in a more minimal dose.


In this home, a tried and true pairing of light purple and punchy red brightens up this bathroom.


One of our very favorite lilac moments was featured years ago in the Brooklyn bedroom of David Stark. By using the color in a very soft, subdued shade, it evokes an airy and zen-like feeling over the whole space.

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