Making a Case for Lilac

“A very cold, unfriendly colour,” said Polly Dickens. “The go-to colour for people who can’t decide what they like and don’t want to make a mistake,” said interior designers 2 Lovely Gays. Of what do I speak? Lilac. Old non-complaining, blend-into-the-background, nearly-grey lilac. I have news for you. Lilac is on the rise. It’s making a comeback. Standing up to the haters. And, liking nothing more than a challenge, we wanted to present A Few Good Reasons To Get Behind Lilac.


1. Lilac trend | The Apartment | The Chromologist

Image from The Apartment

In some ways, there endeth the conversation. But I’ll continue. Copenhagen design and art studio The Apartment is housed in an 18th Century apartment that also acts as an exhibition space full of 20th Century furniture, vintage finds and contemporary collectables. You know, exactly the kind of 18th Century apartment in Copenhagen that you want to live in. Its founders Tina Seidenfaden Busk and Pernille Hornhaver curate the most exquisite exhibitions, all within this home-style setting and their latest show – a focus on lighting by Michael Anastassiades and woven textiles and rugs by Marta Maas-Fjetterstrom – just highlighted to us that a deeper lilac is more than acceptable. Brass and red are pretty dashing in the mix there too aren’t they?


2. Society Limonta | bijou

Image from Society Limonta

Look at the way this faded lilac linen by Society Limonta works with all that surrounds it – pale walls, lemon (super-combo), grey, geometric print – even a birdhouse where you’d expect a bedside table. Ok, maybe not that. It’s soothing, it’s backdrop material. It’s a bit different to white or grey.

3. Calluna Bedroom-2This bedroom is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Calluna with Churlish Green on the ceiling, a Folly Green door and Cooking Apple Green architrave. What does this tell us? Lilac works well with green. Which brings us to…


4. Form us with Love  Lilac as an accent  The Chromologist

Images from Form Us With Love

Lilac as an accent is the perfect way for all the lilac-sceptics out there to get on this train. This is Temperature Wallpaper collection by Form Us With Love (tasteful Swedes), putting forward the idea that with greens and browns lilac just seems to fit in like it belongs in their gang, and with corals and terracottas it’s an unexpectedly good twist.

5. Droog | Lilac room | The Chromologist


 Image from Droog 

Droog adding further fuel to the green and yellow fire – lemon or mustard, mint or forest, all the shades work. Try it. The black here looks striking with it too.


Image Niki Jones

I wouldn’t have thought to put lilac with blue and yet here’s a man weaving a blanket for designer Niki Jones that’s now firmly on the Wanted list. 


7. Designer'sGuild | Lilac rooms | The ChromologistImage from Designers Guild

This falls under the romantic category, which might be a bit love or hate. But it is hard to argue with a crumbly mansion with bits of non-decaying wall that are toned with the furniture and fabrics. It’s all a tiny bit Versailles and who couldn’t handle living in that?

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist