The Story of Lilac

May is one of the most beautiful months of the year. As the cow parsley froths along lanes dotted with celandine, red campion and mallow the verges begin to swell with new growth. One of the jewels of the British hedgerow is lilac; in flower for only a few weeks, it raises our spirits in anticipation of summer.

On the colour wheel, where purple occupies the space between red and violet, violet sits between purple and blue. Part of the violet colour family, lilac is less intense than pale purple. It is more calming, more  contemplative.


In English, lilac is derived from the French lilac and from Persian nulik meaning ‘bluish’. With a history rooted in Greek mythology, Pan’s pipes were said to have been crafted from the hollow reed-like stems of the lilac bush, the Celts regarded lilac as magical due to its intoxicating fragrance. In Russia, the tradition of holding a sprig of lilac over a newborn is believed to bestow wisdom.

According to The Victorian Dictionary of Flowers, lilac symbolises ‘feelings of first love’, which explains why is it one of the few colours women were able to wear when mourning the loss of a loved one.

How it makes us Feel

Romantic, calming and contemplative, lilac is said to represent the future. It is thought to encourage creativity and inspire our imaginations whilst at the same time, keeping us grounded.

Perfect for a bedroom, child’s nursery, bathroom or kitchen it can be muted with grey or balanced with green and looks particularly fresh when combined with mint or regal when teamed with teal.


Decorate with Lilac 

Favourite paints are Eiderdown from Earthborn, Modern Lilac from Icelandic maker Eico, Gentian Violet by Fired Earth (shown below), Farrow & Ball’s Brassica and Lilac Love from Dulux.

Fired Earth, Genetian Violet

For lots more inspiration and to find out how to introduce lilac into your home delve into our Pinterest board. We’d love to hear from you if you are planning an interiors project and offer a range of services to help you fulfil your interior design goals.  In the meantime, Happy colour planning!

07870 357604