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This article will discuss the differences between mauve, magenta, and purple colors.

Purple has long been a color of royalty and power. Because it’s strong on the red spectrum, it is also quite popular with pollinators looking to feed.

Purple can be cooled with green and heated up with blue and red, but it’s always a cool color.

mauve vs magenta vs purple paint colors infographic

Mauve vs Magenta vs Purple paint colors comparison

mauve, magenta, purple colors wall art


Of the three colors in this listing, mauve will be the easiest color to coordinate with. It’s the green in mauve that actually makes it rather friendly.

While mauve is obviously not tan, it has enough yellow in it to fade a bit when paired with another strong shade.

If you love bold colors, mauve can serve as a wonderful background shade against cobalt or cerulean blue.

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It can also work well with small pops of orange.

Consider using a buffer color that contains more yellow against any strong warm colors; for example, you may find a pillow or upholstery fabric that features rust and a mauve throw that you love, but they may not work well side by side.

Put one on your brown sofa and the other on the tan chair beside it.

Mauve can also provide a beautiful contrast against colors within the green spectrum. For example, a deep mauve can hold its own against a moss green; both colors will draw the eye and complement each other.

This combination would be wonderful in a space that has a warm light, such as a family room with a fireplace.

This dusky purple tone is also wonderful to use in textured pieces. A throw pillow or small blanket that has a deep texture will provide its own shadow as the room darkens.

If you have a dark grey sofa or a brown leather side chair, a rich texture mauve throw will invite friends and family to snuggle in.

RGB: 187, 133, 171
Hex Code: #BB85AB

mauve color wall art above a desk


Both magenta and purple are the “take no prisoners” colors in this review. Any colors that have a 0 in their RGB listing are going to be more likely to contrast than to blend.

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To the eye, colors that are prone to contrast can actually be quite exhausting. However, if you love bold colors, you can set up your space to let magenta fabrics and objects take center stage.

magenta color wall art

Magenta is made only of red and blue. There is no yellow in this tone, so any form of green will provide a contrast.

Emerald green will step and compete with magenta (hint: magenta will win) while hunter and moss green will give magenta a step up.

If you’ve ever studied magenta flowers in a garden, this color looks richer against darker green leaves.

Because magenta is such a hot color, consider pairing it with greens that have a higher content of blue than yellow.

Many desert blooms that feature magenta have greenery that is closer to celery or sage; while this looks terrific against a pale tan desert floor, in your home this combination could leave the green looking rather sour and unpleasant.

Pairing magenta with purple will work beautifully in a child’s room or a playroom. It may be hard to get this combination to appear anything but juvenile in the rest of your home.

However, if you can pair magenta with colors that have more yellow and are a bit more muted, such as cobalt blue, dark teal or a deep moss green, you can make magenta a bit more effective in an adult space.

Unless you love the energy of it, magenta is not a great wall color. However, it can be incredibly effective in small doses, such as

  • a single vase on a white or plain wood shelf
  • a set of summer dinner napkins or dessert plates
  • a festive, energetic print on the wall

A little magenta goes a long way. If you’re not keen on a long-term commitment to magenta, get a blooming houseplant that features magenta blooms.

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RGB: 255,0,255
Hex Code: #FF00FF

magenta color wall art above a desk


Purple also contains no yellow at all. It’s a bold, strong shade that is generally ready to go to battle with whatever color it’s next to.

Curiously, purple is a great shade to use against a variety of whites and very pale grey shades; as long as the colors in the white spectrum have little to no yellow, you can actually warm up purple.

purple color wall art

A dark purple can be a terrific background for pastels.

For example, if you have a collection of crystals or minerals, put them on a white shelf and paint the back of the shelf unit purple to give your collection the chance to stand out against multiple shades.

Unlike magenta, purple is pure as opposed to invasive. Yellow can stand beside purple without losing intensity, while yellow next to magenta will likely be washed out. Green tones with a higher concentration of yellow can deepen and enrich purple in your household.

Curiously, if you pair pure purple with a blue green such as aqua or mint, you can actually convince purple to grey out slightly. However, this combination can get a bit combative. Mint, which is generally visually cooling and soothing, can appear a bit tired and grey against a pure purple.

Getting purple to back down will be tough once it’s on the wall. Like magenta, this is a color that can be a wonderful addition in small doses.

Consider investing in purple table linens, special plates, pillows or throws. When you’re tired of it, you can put it away until you’re ready to celebrate it.

Pair it with white for a clean, crisp combination on your summer table or on your sofa. Go ahead and add some texture. A rich, fluffy purple throw may be the only blanket you need on your sofa on a cold winter night.

RGB: 128,0,128
Hex Code: #800080

purple color wall art above a desk

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