Damson jam, made with the rich purple-red plums of the damson tree, is one of Britain’s top conserves.
Whether spread on toast or on a scone, it is a comfort food, and these associations with cosy tea-times are one of the reasons why the colour damson is set to dominate in decor in the seasons to come.
In tough times, we tend to want an extra element of reassurance in our surroundings.
But the shade’s ascent is also being propelled by other factors. There is a movement towards more formality in interiors, as part of the continued shift from minimalism.
Burgundy beauty: Soho Home’s Audrey sofa. Damson blends well with many other shades meaning you carry out a budget makeover to get the look for less
Meanwhile, the love affair with the aesthetic of the 1970s, when design and fashion went through a purple patch, is also going strong.
Any shade of purple — burgundy, mauve, mulberry, plum or violet — is sophisticated. But damson is also playful, a quality that appeals at present.
One damson early adopter has even painted his bedroom in the shade. He loves the hotel-like opulence, but also the connection with nature and his favourite flavour of jam.
Major retailers are betting on the damson trend not only because it supplies a powerful bolt of glamour, but also because it blends well with a wide range of other shades.
This allows households who want to carry out a budget makeover to get the look for less.
‘Damson is easy to layer with neutral tones,’ says Nicky Line, chief product officer at the sofa and bed company Loaf.
‘And it’s also a complementary shade to green tones, which have been a really popular choice with customers over the past few years. Damson also adds something to pinks and ochres.’
The shade’s adaptability was one of the drivers of John Lewis’s decision to use it, following a period of deliberations at the company’s colour council which sets strategy for home and clothing.
Such is John Lewis’s commitment to the colour that it has collaborated with brands to deliver products in damson for every room.
Tasteful: John Lewis Le Creuset dish
For the kitchen, there is a £285 Le Creuset casserole dish; for the homeworking space, an Anglepoise damson lamp; and, for the bedroom, a tiny Roberts radio.
‘Damson is the perfect shade for autumn,’ says Charlotta Elgh, director of design for home at John Lewis.
‘It’s both bold and harmonious. But it also blends effortlessly into customers’ existing schemes, which was important. Our ambition is to keep adding one core statement colour to the collections each season, ensuring they can all be styled together in harmony to bring longevity.’
Such is the adaptability of damson that cushions in this tone work well on a sofa of almost any colour: beige, mint-green, navy, orange or teal. The options include the £35 Opulence cushion from Graham & Brown and the £24.99 velvet cushion in plum purple from Not On The High Street.
However, it seems that people are opting not just for cushions but whole sofas in the colour damson. John Lewis has launched the Swyft Model 07 sofa (£1,995), or check out Soho Home’s Audrey two-seater (£2,995)
At Loaf, the Drenched Damson velvet is fast becoming a popular upholstery choice even for larger corner sofas — the type made up of separate units, some for watching TV or reading, others for lounging.
And with a Loaf Chill-Seeker corner sofa in Drenched Damson costing £4,525, this is an indication of a willingness to commit to damson’s blend of ease and elegance.
There are options for other budgets, such as Roseland’s Alfie chaise sofa in plum for £836.95, down from £929.95. One reason for the rise of damson is the warmth that it brings to an interior.
In the luxe sector it is already being used in chandeliers, a trend that is set to influence lighting looks in the high street.
Ian Cameron, creative director of bespoke sculptural lighting company Cameron Design House, notes increasing demand for coloured glass in chandeliers and for damson in particular.
He says: ‘Our Kuulas chandelier in plum provides a dramatic centrepiece to any space.’
The Kuulas, made up of hand-blown glass spheres, is the ultimate statement contemporary piece.
If you want to introduce just a touch of damson, Nordic Nest has the LED portable Flower Pot lamp in plum for £124.40. John Lewis also offers a portable lamp in damson (£65) — useful, and an ideal way to establish whether damson enlivens your home or is just too 1970s for you.
Damson can divide opinion. The damson bedset from La Redoute (prices start at £32) spells out sweet dreams to some, but for others it is a reminder of an era of dubious taste.
Another way to add a hint of the hue is a vase. The Marks & Spencer autumn-winter home collections include the £39.50 large, ridged Fired Earth vase in a plum and buff wash finish.
In this retailer’s look book, the key guide to items set to dominate in the coming season, the vase is pictured next to a dish of grapes and damson plums — a fruit bowl at the height of fashion.