Everything You Need to Know About Decorating with Aubergine

updated Jan 11, 2023
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(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Bringing in a beautiful but under-utilized color like aubergine is an exciting way to transform a living room or powder bath with a simple coat of paint or accent rug, but this moody shade is often misunderstood. While it may feel like a bold, dramatic choice for your interiors, this color is incredibly versatile and, if you know how to use it correctly, can also create a soothing, laid-back scene. Let’s take a closer look at aubergine, from what it is to how to decorate with it in your home to help you optimize this beautiful shade in a way that will match your personal design style.

What Color Is Aubergine, Exactly?

Aubergine is actually the French word for “eggplant,” and it is also the word that the British use for the beloved summer vegetable. While aubergine and plum are often used interchangeably, the former is actually an entirely different color that leans more into purple and moody than reddish plum. 

As a result,  you’ll  want to use aubergine and plum  in different ways, as various hues pair better with purple than they do with shades of red. Understanding  this beautiful color will help you create spectacular spaces full of depth, intensity, and personality.

How to Decorate with Aubergine

Go all-in on the drama factor.

Take a page from Clements Design’s playbook and transform your home’s powder room into a jewel box space. Lacquered aubergine walls and matching cabinetry pair beautifully with Calacatta Viola marble for an elegant yet earthy vibe.

Bring in a bit of historic charm, no matter the age of your home.

We love how this New Orleans home in the French Quarter plays up aubergine to give the primary bedroom a dose of Old World glamour that evokes the neighborhood’s namesake roots. Paired with warm gold and brown tones, this color brings an element of luxury and regality to any room. 

Dip your toes into the trend with an accent piece.

Fearful of swathing your entire kitchen, bathroom, or sitting area in this bold color? Aubergine also makes a fantastic accent in an otherwise neutral space, as shown here in a New Orleans home. We love the way it looks paired with shades of gray and a bright white paint to bring depth and just the right hint of modern-bohemian flair.  

Use a Scandinavian sensibility.

Another way to use this color while showing a bit of restraint is by taking a Scandinavian-inspired approach. Here, a Netherlands home plays up aubergine throughout while keeping an otherwise minimalist design that uses plenty of natural materials and other organic elements with white walls as a backdrop.

Bring in elements from the outside world.

We love how designer Amal Kapen pairs a soft shade of aubergine with elegant greens and browns to create a formal dining that feels fresh, inviting, and anything but stuffy. Plus, we can’t get enough of that stunning wallpaper!