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Green and purple – the colour combo you didn't know you needed

From the Resene decorating blog

If you’ve decided to change up your home interior, and want to play with a bolder, unexpected palette, it’s hard to go past purple and green.

An interior with the feel of a conservatory

Layers of leafy greens against this bold Resene wallpaper give this room the feel of a conservatory, with a strong connection to the outdoors.

The walls are wallpapered in Resene Wallpaper Collection 2311-168-01. Add in tonal green layers with Resene Dingley, Resene Highland and Resene Chelsea Cucumber with darker Resene Green Leaf on the lightshade and contrast in Resene Half Spanish White for contrast. Try a neutral wood stain on flooring such as Resene Colorwood Natural.

It might not be everybody’s cup of tea, or the first combination that springs to mind, but used in the right shades, tones and intensities purple and green together can evoke the same visual and emotional response as the most beautiful flower garden.

The trick to working with unexpected colour combinations like this is to think broadly about what you mean by ‘purple’ and ‘green’. We’re not just talking saturated Wonka-style purples or vivid Kermit greens. Adopting a purple and green palette opens you up to a world of lilac, grape, mauve, amethyst, lavender, moss, forest, sage, herbaceous, olive, apple – and more.

Right space, right colour

As Resene Colour Expert Meryl Southey says: “Purple and green is a combination we love when it comes to flowers, so why not bring it into your home?”

The keys to success, she says, are to choose the right colour tones, to balance the proportions of the colours you use to suit the size and warmth of your room, and to have a clear idea about how you want the finished space to look and feel.

“Light, muted, and dusky tones of purple will create an elegant feel to a space and can be easier to accent with green. Try Resene Grape Escape with the freshness of Resene Springtime.

Soft sage walls can team brilliantly with accents of lilac and mauve for a vintage floral-inspired finish, she says. For this look try Resene Field Day with mauve Resene London Hue, a shade that will also work well with darker green Resene Celtic.

In large living spaces, Meryl suggests creating a fresh, modern palette by teaming accents of mauve such as Resene Marionette with earthy greens like Resene Bandicoot and adding a cool-toned white such as Resene Half Black White. The crisp white finishes will give the more muted, greyed-off colours a punchier finish.

If it’s drama and high impact you’re after, then Meryl suggests switching up a gear to use deeper purples such as Resene Black Doris, with a mid-toned green such as Resene Wabi Sabi. The lighter green will emphasise the impact of the darker plum but keep it from becoming overwhelming.

A lilac lounge with green decor

This dreamy lilac lounge area is given some freshness by pops of green decor and plants.

The wall is painted in Resene Ghost, with battens in Resene Santas Grey. The floor is stained in Resene Colorwood Rock Salt. The DIY artwork is Resene Gumboot, Resene Matakana, Resene Zulu, Resene Jimmy Dean, Resene Santas Grey, Resene Ghost, Resene In The Mauve and Resene Sea Fog with frame in Resene Sea Fog. Vases are Resene In the Mauve, Resene Matakana, Resene Jimmy Dean, Resene Santas Grey and Resene Zulu. Bookshelf in Resene Santas Grey (outside and edges) and Resene Jimmy Dean (inside). Sofa from Nood, throw from H&M Home. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Melanie Jenkins.

A bedroom in jade green, lilac and pastel yellow

Jade green, lilac and pastel yellow are an expected combination that brings a sweet liveliness to this bedroom.

The wall is painted in Resene Urbane with floor finished in Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy. Side table in Resene Boundless, lightshade in Resene Green Acres, DIY artwork in Resene Moonbeam, Resene Rice Cake, Resene Lola, Resene Boundless and Resene Green Acres, rug in Resene Moonbeam and vase in Resene Green Acres. Bedlinen from Adairs, throw from H&M Home. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

“Lighter purple equals tranquillity and teamed with walls in a soft sage you have a calm palette that’s perfect for a restful bedroom or a wellness space,” Meryl says. “A bedroom is not the room for vibrant shades of purple as they are too energetic to promote peace and quiet. Instead, try colours such as pale green Resene Secrets with delicate mauve Resene Divine.”

Top tip:  Instead of relying on just a green accent colour to set off your purples, fill the space with large, leafy plants to add another layer of green as well as texture and movement against mauve or deeper purple walls.

Other purple and green combinations to try:

Outdoor elegance: 

Add elegance to your garden by staining wooden fences in deep green Resene Woodsman Canopy, then paint planters and pots in purple shades like Resene Wonderland, Resene Perfume and Resene Honey Flower for a pretty contrast. A dark green fence can make the borders of your section recede from the eye and make it feel larger. If you prefer a lighter, brighter approach try staining your fence in the eucalyptus tones of Resene Woodsman Grey Green. For painted border walls and fences instead of stain try Resene Holly or Resene Paddock.

Extra exteriors: 

Greens are becoming popular as exterior house colours, whether you opt for the green-tinged neutral of Resene White Rock, earthy Resene Flax or more of a statement green like Resene Dell. With a pale green main exterior you can play with bolder, plummy-purple accents like Resene Upstage on areas like the front door. For mid-tone greens like Resene Flax try a contrast in moody Resene Aubergine, and for bold Resene Dell try a softer contrast in Resene Twilight.

Fun for the kids: 

If you want to go for a more maximalist colour-drenched approach to greens and purples, kids’ bedrooms and playrooms are an excellent place to let your colour instincts run free. Take some inspiration from Willy Wonka or Barney the dinosaur, with classic purple Resene Christalle paired with acid green Resene Spritzer. Add a touch of fairyland wonder by painting purple and green flowers on the wall in Resene Kingfisher Daisy with bright green Resene Japanese Laurel, against a pale lilac background in Resene Sonique or pale green Resene Kandinsky. Use the brighter hues in play spaces or as accent colours in children’s bedrooms and team with lighter shades of purple and green to make sure the bedroom still feels calm enough to sleep in.

Sweet lilac against a botanical green

Sweet lilac and mauve notes against a botanical green leave this room feeling fresh and playful. The rear wall is painted in Resene Eighth Fossil with the middle feature wall in Resene Norway. The cabinets are Resene Norway with panels in Resene Rice Cake. Floor painted in Resene Quarter Fossil, dining table in Resene Highland, plates in Resene Amulet, Resene Pale Leaf, Resene Norway, Resene Rice Cake, Resene Lola, Resene Butterfly, Resene Antidote and Resene Highland, green jug and cake stand in Resene Pale Leaf and ribbed vase in Resene Lola. Glassware from Città, lamp from Kmart, floral plate from Bolt of Cloth, chairs from Freedom. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Relax and retreat: 

Opting for pale pastel or muted shades of lilac and greens in olive or sage notes can create a finish that is quite restful and relaxing, perfect for bedrooms, creative spaces and bathrooms. Experiment with blurring the lines between the shades with techniques like colourwashing or using Resene FX Paint Effects Medium for a sponged, watercolour, or lime-washed effect. As well as restful shades like Resene Poet, Resene Lola, Resene Ghost, Resene Surf Crest and Resene Ottoman, add notes of a soft off-white neutral like Resene Quarter Parchment.

Opulence at home: 

Richly saturated jewel tones in greens and purples will lend a room an immediate sense of luxury and opulence. Purple is traditionally associated with royalty, after all. Look for lush wallpaper patterns like Resene Wallpaper Collection 2311-168-01 and pair with wainscotting or wall panelling stained in Resene Colorwood Mahogany for that stately home finish. For a fresher look reminiscent of the sitting rooms of Bridgerton or The Crown, try pairing the wallpaper with a pale cream neutral like Resene Quarter Solitaire and a dado rail in Resene Green House or Resene Pukeko. Or switch out the wallpaper for a feature wall in emerald Resene Green Pea, with highlight accents in regal Resene Violent Violet against a soothing backdrop of Resene Pearl Lusta. For extra opulence add touches of metallic Resene Gold.

Top tip:  If you’re nervous about experimenting with unusual colours, Meryl suggests starting in a small guest bedroom, powder room or toilet so you can test your combinations on a smaller scale in a room that’s used less than, say, your lounge or kitchen.

Resene Springtime

Resene Breathe Easy

Resene Grape Escape

Resene Field Day

Resene Wabi Sabi

Resene Green Acres

Resene Black Doris

Resene Boundless

December 15, 2023

For help with your perfect pairing of purple and green, visit your local Resene ColorShop, book a Resene Colour Consultation, or ask a Resene Colour Expert online.

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