If your birthday is in the month of September, your flower is the Aster. The name of this flower, also known as starwort, is derived from the Greek word for "star", and "aster" is the root of the name of the star-shaped symbol known as the asterisk. It should come as no surprise then, with its astral appearance and associations, that the aster has long been considered an enchanted flower with magical powers.
In ancient times, it was believed that the perfume from the burning leaves of asters could drive away evil spirits. Victorians, with their complex language of flowers known as "floriography", used asters to send messages of love, daintiness, affection and patience. Today, asters also hold the honor of being the traditional flower of 20th wedding anniversaries.
Blooming in late summer through fall in most climates across the U.S., asters are easy to grow and can be found in colors ranging from white to pinks and blues, lavenders and purples, almost all with yellow centers. Purple asters are my favorite, even though the color purple itself is not one I tend to use at all in my own interiors and have yet to use for a client.
["Asters and Pumpkin", 10x8 oil by Jan Blencowe on The Painting a Day Project]
This year, and right now as we enter fall especially, purple seems to be everywhere. In fashion, furniture, paint and other finish materials as well as accessories for both your wardrobe and your home. Like the aster, the color purple is associated with magic and mystery and creativity. Light shades of purple evoke romantic and nostalgic feelings while dark shades can cause feelings of gloom and sadness. A true "royal" purple symbolizes nobility, luxury, extravagance, ambition and wisdom.
["Asters and Fruit on a Table", by Henri Jean Fantin-Latour, 1868]
According to color theory as found on pantone.com, "purple is the most enigmatic of all colors". It is a combination of the excitement and energy of red and the calm tranquility of blue. It the most complex color of the rainbow and the people who choose it as their favorite tend to be complex as well: artists, performers, mystics, non-conformists, designers, and eccentrics. Are you a fan of purple? To which of these groups do you belong?
["Aster de Chine", Pierre Joseph Redoute', original work published in 1833]
["Asters", Claude Monet, 1880]
As with any color, there are a wide range of hues in the group we call purple. From the palest lavender and the pinkiest mauve to almost-blue periwinkle and the grapey purples used by athletic teams, there's a purple out there for just about everyone, even me. As I said, I am not a fan of purple for my own home, but I can certainly appreciate it from afar. Let's take a look at some interior spaces, and a few other items, appropriate for lavender lovers of all ages:
I love periwinkle blue. So a purple that leans periwinkle is just fine by me. Throw in some orchid and gold plus pattern on decor and fabrics, and I just might be able to live with it!
This girl's room found at Pottery Barn Teen is sweet without being syrupy. I think it's the green furniture and graphic pattern on the purple sheets that does the trick.
Pre-teen heaven: large doses of purple plus other equally vibrant accents, cool paper lanterns and a trundle for overnight guests!
Here's another large dose of purple that's decidedly more grown up. If you look back at the previous photo and then again at this one, you'll notice immediately that it is the style of the furnishings and accessories that make the difference. The paper lanterns and cottage style of the bedroom furniture are youthful and fun while the patinaed antiques and finer fabrics used above give the room age and elegance.
On the other hand, purple can bring a sense of youth and fun to even the most grown-up space. If you didn't see this home in a recent issue of Elle Decor magazine, you might be surprised to know that the purple swirls above were painted by the homeowner herself in an attempt to bring new life to a well-worn (and a little bit stained) area rug. That this room is in the home of the oh-so-serious Washington DC commentator George Stephanopoulos (along with his actress wife Alexandra Wentworth and their two daughters) may be an even bigger surprise!
Paired with lots of white, dark woods and a not-too-sweet floral at the window, purple can be every bit as calming and relaxing as blue.
Another soothing purple bedroom with a completely different, more modern personality.
Again, purple stands in for the watery blues and greens most of us would probably choose for the relaxing bathroom of our dreams. The texture of the boards that wrap around the floor, walls and ceiling plus the very traditional fixtures, do a nice job of keeping this room from feeling too cold.
And here, the warmth of wood cabinets and flooring balances the cool whites and mauves and chrome.
A casual tablescape looks like the perfect setting for a spring luncheon.
A purple wedding table set in the garden. Flowers continue the theme and the fresh greens provide the perfect counterpoint.
A purple kitchen? It seems the lighting in this space plays a big part in wrapping this room in a cool purple glow. Not my cup of tea. Is it yours?
Ah, this is better. More purple in the garden.
I couldn't resist this chair I found at horchow.com. Purple done like this could definitely grow on me!
Fantastic wallpaper. And such a smart idea to paint the base moulding to match.
I love Anthropologie. Doesn't everyone? This velvety purple settee is romantic and whimsical, even in such stark surroundings.
Also from Anthropologie. Did you know they sell one of a kind art like this platter full of purple flowers? Click on the photo to learn more about this artist and her wares.
Okay, now here's where purple loses me completely. Garish and bright and unnecessary—but that's just my opinion. If you love purple and Halloween, this could be the look for you!
And I definitely draw the line at purple for Christmas. I am a traditionalist through and through when it comes to this holiday. The colors are pretty, and I like the ornaments dangling from what I assume to be the chandelier, but this table and tree do not say "Happy Holidays" to me. You?
Finally, to erase the memory of purple Christmas, here is the image that is my favorite of all that I found for this post. I love everything about it. Even the wacky light fixture and that crinkly little bonsai-looking thing on the table. Okay, maybe not so much that one thing. Perhaps a vase full of purple asters would be better.
Which image here is your favorite? Do you use purple in your home? Are you a September baby? (Happy Birthday if you are!) How do you feel about asters? Talk to me.
My apologies for not citing the interiors I've pictured here. I was a lazy blogger today!