Purple reign: Pantone’s color of the year is no shrinking violet

Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year: Ultra Violet. Various hues of this color can easily be incorporated into the garden; here, Waterdrops from Seventy Acres Landscape Architecture and Design in Wilton are reflective of the color. — Seventy Acres photo

The Pantone Color Institute has announced its 2018 Color of the Year — Ultra Violet — a blue-based purple full of emotion and creative inspiration. “We are living in a time that requires inventiveness and imagination. From exploring new technologies and the greater galaxy, to artistic expression and spiritual reflection, intuitive Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.

Purple has also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance, according to the Pantone Color Institute website. Here, Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year — Ultra Violet — is reflected in these living room sofas. — Houlihan Lawrence photo

Selection involves thoughtful consideration and year-long trend analysis. “Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality,” Eiseman notes.

Since selecting its first Pantone Color of the Year, the company’s color choice has influenced home décor. “Painting an entire room, using it on an accent wall, or getting a large piece of furniture definitely makes a statement,” observes Karli Smith, owner of Creative Homestylers in Trumbull. For people wary of the strong hue, Smith suggests experimenting with Ultra Violet as an accent color through decorative pillows, throws, artwork, picture frames, vases, or other accessories. “Ultra Violet pairs well with yellow or lime green for a warmer, more vibrant look, and subtle grays, blue-grays and blue-greens for a subdued feel,” notes Smith. “Imagine a room with a velvet Ultra Violet sofa, dark gray walls, a Persian rug, silvery silk curtains, and framed artwork. It would feel very formal and the bold color choice of the sofa would demand your attention.”

“The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today,” notes Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. — Pantone Color Institute photo

Cecy Gillen, owner of Cecy Gillen Designs in Norwalk, used variations of Ultra Violet to add character to a room. “It’s usually lighter tones in bedrooms or mudrooms and darker tones in a living room and a bathroom,” says Gillen, noting the shade should reflect the room’s ambiance and the homeowner’s personality and style. “The homeowner needs to be bold to like a strong color like Ultra Violet.”

Ultra Violet can also enhance a room’s ambience. “A beautiful living room can have a dark or bright violet wall color, white ceiling and trim, gray and white furniture, and lots of gold accessories,” Gillen states. “Gold will make it spark versus silver metals that will dim the brightness of violet. Dark, antique wood furniture will give it a very mature look, but it will have an old world-style ambiance, yet some sophistication at the same time. Informal will have more modern, bright-colored furniture.”

Consider adding a pop of color to your garden with the new Pantone color. “Ultra Violet is a very high-voltage color — even the name sounds full of energy,” says Nancy King, owner of Seventy Acres Landscape Architecture & Design in Wilton. “Purple tulips, crocus, and other spring-blooming bulbs are great fun to see after a long winter.”

The Perennial Plant Association selected Allium Millenium (ornamental onions) as the 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year. “They have colorful purple globe-shaped flowers on upright stems bobbing in the spring or summer breeze. When planted in large drifts they can be quite whimsical in the landscape,” King explains.

The color purple: Hyacinths, from Palmer’s Darien. — Palmer’s Darien photo

Gardeners will appreciate purple’s versatility. “Purple is a wonderful color that can be paired with similar hues of lavender, rose, rosy-violets, and pinks, or blended with smoky, silvery tones for a quiet, calm mood,” King explains. “A more vibrant palette includes the saturated complementary colors of bright yellows, yellow-greens and yellow-oranges for impact. Another option are plants, shrubs, and trees with purple foliage.”

Dan Holmes, owner of Holmes Fine Gardens in Newtown, uses purple to add a contrasting vibe. “The richness and color saturation of both Ultra Violet and light Ultra Violet is both bold and very soothing. I love to use alliums with their long, slender chartreuse stalks and globe inflorescences, which seem to float above the other plant companions in the perennial border,” he notes. For architectural interest, he prefers Gladiator, Globemaster, Purple Sensation, and other large varieties. To add a jolt of Ultra Violet to the garden, Holmes suggests planting certain cultivars of lilacs or a butterfly bush in addition to easy-care, long-blooming perennials, such as Salvia nemorosa, iris, and Spanish lavender.

The versatility, its warmth, and its mystical feeling attracts Holmes to purple. “It seems to hold the attention of the viewer, unlike other colors,” Holmes comments. “The use of Ultra Violet and other blue-purple plants and garden objects evokes a certain coolness and cachet that other colors just don’t seem to carry.”

A passion for purple: A living room gets the royal treatment with various violet hues. — Benjamin Moore photo  
A bright purple front door makes a great first impression and contributes to the curb appeal of this home. — Benjamin Moore photo
These native lupines, available from Holmes Fine Gardens in Newtown, would add a pop of purple to virtually any garden. — D. Holmes photo

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