Interior Designer’s Guide: How To Style An Aubergine Color Palette
Once the bastion of royal courts and little-girl and teen bedrooms, purple has made a comeback. At least one shade has. Aubergine, the French word for eggplant, is fast becoming a designer favorite. The deep purple-brown shade, which mimics the vegetable's skin to a T, fast-tracks into sophisticated territory, unlike its lavender and violet cousins.
The color elicits either all-or-nothing approaches, or pops here and there. Celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard recently posted a photo of his bedroom in his Los Angeles home. The “Million Dollar Decorator” host added a splash of the hue to the black-and-white color scheme of the room via an Alicia Adams alpaca bed throw and a pair of MLB fabric-covered shades atop bedside table lamps.
Sometimes that pop of aubergine works to anchor a bold look. At the Design Museum Holon, Israel’s first museum dedicated to design, aubergine is the anchor color on a gradient scheme that graduates from the dark hue at its base to yellow at the top. The metal building, designed by Ron Arad with Asa Bruno, appears to undulate and has been called a new wonder of the world.
Going all-in on the purple shade adds drama and mystique to entryways such as in this Victorian house. Though the foyer may recall the old days, aubergine looks thoroughly modern when popped with turquoise and a graphic black-and-white rug. Eggplant also gives an unexpected twist to Peter Pennoyer and Katie Ridder’s country home. A settee covered in purple velvet and an antique couch covered in ikat add bohemian flair to hexagonal Moroccan tiles.
Aubergine makes a strong statement for unique seating in a living room that eschews a traditional sofa. A Mies van der Rohe settee in the deep shade grounds this ’70s-mood sitting room. Set upon a patchwork floor rug in shades of orange, the color’s natural complement furthers the statement, though don’t mistake this for any hippie den. Same for the adjustable suede-covered daybeds in this Neapolitan palazzo living room, which pop against a black-and-white tile floor and walls covered in Londonart wallpaper. Multiple shades of purple combine in this ample cushioned seating in this Moroccan living room.
Aubergine may be best served in small doses for anyone curious but not 100 percent convinced to try this audacious hue. Artemest offers several eggplant accents, including the Venezia storage basket in classic leaf decoration made from new Technoleather, a fine-grade regenerated leather made by Rudi; and the Kastle vase by Karim Rashid for Purho, with sharply chiseled lines made from mouth-blown Murano glass.
For a softer edge, try Jacopo Foggini’s J. Jungle tall vase in magenta or Nason Moretti’s Idra Ritorto vase with fine twisted grooves encircling its surface, both at Nest Casa. Moda Operandi suggests this handmade Stories of Italy crackled-effect tall vase, also made from Murano glass. Another option in the same famed Venice glass comes from Sonne Carlo Moretti, whose Murano contemporary mouth-blown oval vase contrasts eggplant with stark white.
Throw pillows are accent colors’ favorite vehicles. These options from Missoni, in the design house’s signature vibrant pattern, and CB2, in solid eggplant, do the trick. Books can also be a place to sneak in some color. These coffee table beauties on French fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent and fashion photographer Mario Testino display a deep purple beauty. And for a cheeky and literal way to add aubergine, this earthenware platter available on Moda Operandi replicates an actual eggplant. It’s by Bordallo Pinheiro, famed for turning humorous caricatures into ceramic objects for the home.