The Pleasures of Plum The Pleasures of Plum

October is the month of harvesting the garden's remaining fruits, and what better time to take a look at the shade of purple that we call plum?

This color is striking, warm, and delicious as the William Carlos Williams poem:

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

If that poem doesn't send you to the plum department of the local paint or fabric store, nothing will.

Here, we see this shade used with a variety of styles. We're probably most accustomed to seeing plum used in a formal, elegant setting. The cylindrical, tufted pillow above would fit in perfectly with a formal living room with heavy drapes, deep sofas, and perhaps a Bichon Frise curled up on the ottoman.

  • Tip: But while plum is entirely at home in a formal environment, it also springs to life in a more modern room. A frequently-used technique for designers is to combine the modern and the traditional in ways that are surprising, and here plum provides the traditional note.

In this photo on the right, we see a modern easy chair covered with distressed plum leather. The combination of the modern style of the frame, the choice of leather as the material, and the choice of plum as the color combine to make it a playful chair of interest.

In the photo below, we see another modern, playful setting which is anchored with plum. A round bed is of course, avant-garde, and the mirrors facing each other, the collection of lava lamps, the modernist lamp, the bright pillows on the floor all signify the modernity of this bedroom.

However, all this is nicely balanced with the deep plum of the round bed, which brings in a note of tradition and solidity.

Plum can be used as a wall color, but of course you need to beware of making a room too dark with it. Instead, how about cream walls with plum trim? A few plum accents can bring in a note of elegance to any room; try a throw pillow or two, or a plum lampshade with a fringe?

And then, of course, as the final plum accent to pull the whole room together, a bowl of nicely chilled plums on the coffee table.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design

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