Art History Lab

Burgundy Color: Unveiling its Rich History and Enduring Allure

Burgundy Color: A Comprehensive Guide

Burgundy is a rich, dark shade of red that is often associated with luxury, elegance, and sophistication. This beloved color has been a favorite among fashion designers, interior decorators, and graphic designers for many years.

Its versatility makes it a popular choice for everything from formal wear to home dcor to marketing materials. In this article, we will explore the origins of the burgundy color, its distinctive characteristics, and its various applications.

We’ll delve into the differences between burgundy and other similar shades, like maroon, and discuss how color theory can help us understand its warm undertones. We’ll also explore the historical popularity of burgundy and its enduring appeal in contemporary culture.

Burgundy color description and undertones

When we think of burgundy, we often think of a rich, deep red with brown undertones. This color is named after the region of Burgundy in France, which is known for its wine production.

The wine itself is often described as “burgundy,” which is how the color came to be associated with the region. Burgundy is sometimes also referred to as “oxblood” or “cordovan.”

Burgundy is a warm color, which means it has undertones of yellow, orange, or red.

In color theory, warm colors are associated with energy, passion, and optimism. Burgundy is a particularly rich and intense warm color, which makes it a popular choice for luxurious fabrics like velvet and satin.

Distinction from maroon, color theory, and warm/cool colors

While burgundy and maroon are often used interchangeably, there are subtle differences between the two shades. Maroon is a cooler, darker shade of red, with more blue or purple undertones.

Maroon is often associated with autumn and is a popular choice for seasonal dcor. The undertones of burgundy make it a particularly versatile color.

It can be paired with warmer colors, like gold and yellow, or cooler colors, like silver and blue. In color theory, warm and cool colors have different emotional associations.

Warm colors, like burgundy, are generally associated with excitement, stimulation, and passion. Cool colors, like blue and green, are often associated with calmness, balance, and peace.

Origins of burgundy color and Burgundy wine

As we mentioned earlier, the color burgundy is named after the region of Burgundy in France, which is known for its wine production. Burgundy wine is world-famous and highly valued for its quality and complexity.

The region itself has a long and rich history dating back to the Roman era. The region of Burgundy is located in eastern France and is home to some of the world’s most famous wine producers.

The soil and climate of the region create ideal growing conditions for the grapes used to make Burgundy wine. Historical popularity, goth culture, and Pantone color of the year

Burgundy has had a long and storied history of popularity.

In the Middle Ages, it was a popular color for clothing and textiles. In the 19th century, it became associated with royalty and luxury.

Today, the color continues to be a favorite among designers and creatives, particularly in the fashion industry. Burgundy has also played a significant role in subcultures, such as goth culture.

The color’s dark, brooding undertones make it a perfect fit for gothic fashion and aesthetics. In 2015, burgundy was named the Pantone color of the year, further cementing its popularity and versatility.

Pantone is a color-matching system used in various industries, including textiles, graphic design, and printing. The Pantone color of the year is chosen annually and serves as an influential trend-setting color for the year ahead.


In conclusion, burgundy is a rich and complex color that has a storied history and enduring popularity. Its warm undertones make it a versatile choice for a variety of applications, from fashion to home dcor to marketing.

Understanding the color’s origins, characteristics, and applications can help creatives make informed decisions about how to use it in their work. Whether you’re a fashion designer looking to create a luxurious look or a graphic designer looking to grab attention, burgundy is sure to make a statement.

Meanings and associations of burgundy

As one of the darker shades of red, burgundy has a more subdued and sophisticated quality that evokes feelings of passion and luxury. It is a timeless color, often associated with classic and elegant aesthetics.

Burgundy is a color that exudes confidence, strength, and possibility. In color psychology, burgundy has various meanings and associations with positive attributes such as ambition, success, and wealth.

It is also associated with qualities such as perseverance, leadership, and strength of character. The color is thought to promote creativity and inspire innovation, making it a popular choice for brands in the creative and design industries.

While burgundy is often viewed positively, it can have negative associations as well. The color’s intensity can evoke feelings of aggression or danger.

It can also be associated with darker emotions such as anger, frustration, and melancholy.

Emotional traits associated with burgundy

The color burgundy is often associated with emotional traits such as passion, power, and determination. It is a color that can inspire confidence and courage, as well as feelings of sensuality and intimacy.

Burgundy is also associated with refinement, sophistication, and elegance. In contrast to these positive emotional traits, burgundy can also evoke negative emotions such as anger, frustration, and even sadness.

The color’s dark and intense quality can be overwhelming and evoke feelings of negativity, particularly when overused or paired with opposing colors.

Shades of burgundy

There are various shades of burgundy, each with their own distinctive tone and character. Vivid burgundy is a bright, bold shade of red that is often associated with youth and exuberance.

Old burgundy, on the other hand, is a darker, more muted shade of burgundy that is associated with history, tradition, and timelessness. Bruised burgundy is a cooler, more purple-toned version of burgundy that evokes feelings of decay and sadness.

Schauss pink is a shade of burgundy that is named after the scientist who discovered the color in a dye experiment. This particular shade of burgundy is a brighter, more neon version of the color and is often associated with energy and excitement.

Vulcan burgundy is a deep, dark version of burgundy that is named after the planet Vulcan in the Star Trek series. It is a favorite of sci-fi fans and is often used to evoke feelings of mystery and other-worldliness.

Hex codes, CMYK color codes, and RGB color codes

In order to accurately reproduce the color burgundy in various applications, such as graphic design or printing, it is necessary to use specific color codes. Hex codes, or hexadecimal codes, are six-digit codes that represent the amount of red, green, and blue in a particular color.

The hex code for burgundy is #800020. CMYK color codes are used in printing, and represent the amounts of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink needed to reproduce a color accurately.

The CMYK code for a rich, dark burgundy is typically 25% cyan, 100% magenta, 100% yellow, and 30% black. RGB color codes are similar to hex codes but are used exclusively in digital applications, such as web design or computer programs.

The RGB code for burgundy is typically 128, 0, 32. It is crucial to use the correct color codes for reproducing the burgundy color, as color accuracy is essential for maintaining a brand’s identity or creating the desired effect in a design.


In conclusion, the color burgundy is a complex and multifaceted color that is rich in history, significance, and symbolism. It has various shades and tones, each with its own distinct character and associations.

Whether it is used to evoke feelings of sophistication, passion, or sadness, burgundy is a versatile color that remains popular and relevant in contemporary culture. The use of specific color codes is essential for accurately reproducing the color across various applications, and understanding the emotional associations and meanings of burgundy is crucial for effectively using it in design and branding.

Complementary colors to burgundy

Complementary colors are colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. For burgundy, the complementary color is dark cyan.

Pairing burgundy with its complementary color can create a striking contrast and make the burgundy shade stand out more.

Analogous colors to burgundy

Analogous colors are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Dark pink and dark red are two examples of analogous colors to burgundy.

Pairing burgundy with analogous colors can create a harmonious and cohesive color scheme.

Triadic colors to burgundy

Triadic colors are three colors that are evenly spaced apart on the color wheel. For burgundy, the triadic colors are dark blue and dark green.

Using a triadic color scheme with burgundy can create a balanced and colorful design.

Monochromatic colors to burgundy

Monochromatic colors are shades and tints of a single color. For burgundy, very dark red and strong red shades are monochromatic colors that can be used together for a cohesive design.

Creating burgundy paint

Burgundy paint can be created by mixing various colors, including red, blue, and black. The specific proportions of each color will depend on the desired shade of burgundy.

One popular method is to mix equal parts of red and blue, and then slowly add small amounts of black until the desired shade of burgundy is achieved. It’s important to mix the colors thoroughly to ensure a consistent shade.

Burgundy color palette and record keeping

Creating a burgundy color palette can be helpful in ensuring consistency across various design projects. Keeping a record of color experiments, such as the proportions of red, blue, and black used to create a specific shade of burgundy, can also be useful in achieving the desired color in future projects.

One way to keep a record is to create a physical color swatch, which is a small sample of the color that can be easily referenced. Another method is to keep digital records, either through a color-matching software or using a spreadsheet to document the specific color formulas.

Consistent record keeping can help designers maintain a cohesive branding and design identity, and ensure color consistency across different mediums and applications.


In conclusion, understanding the different color schemes that work well with burgundy, such as complementary, analogous, triadic, and monochromatic schemes, can help designers create cohesive and visually appealing designs. Knowing how to create burgundy paint and keeping detailed records of color experiments can also be useful in achieving consistency across various projects.

Whether it’s in fashion, home decor, or branding, burgundy remains a timeless and versatile color that continues to be a popular choice among designers and creatives.

Use of burgundy in home design

Burgundy is a power color that adds a touch of sophistication and elegance to any space. When used in home design, this deep and rich color can create a calming effect and bring warmth to a room.

Whether used as an accent color or as a dominant shade, burgundy can transform a space and create a luxurious ambiance. Utilizing the 60:30:10 rule and color schemes

When incorporating burgundy into home design, it is often helpful to follow the 60:30:10 rule.

This rule suggests using 60% of a dominant color, 30% of a secondary color, and 10% of an accent color. Burgundy can serve as either the dominant or secondary color, depending on the overall color scheme.

For a more subtle and calming color scheme, pairing burgundy with pastel colors or neutrals can create a balanced and serene environment. On the other hand, for a more opulent and dramatic look, accents of gold and yellow can complement the rich tones of burgundy.

Incorporating burgundy through furnishings and accessories

To truly bring out the beauty of burgundy in home design, consider incorporating it through various furnishings and accessories. Wood furnishings, such as dining tables or bookcases, can provide a warm and classic backdrop for burgundy accents.

Leather couches in shades of burgundy can be a statement piece in a living room, exuding luxury and style. Pairing burgundy accents with Persian rugs can create a sense of depth and texture, adding character to a space.

Consider incorporating burgundy through throw pillows, curtains, or textured fabrics to further enhance the richness and warmth of the color.

Utilizing burgundy in specific areas of the home

In bedrooms, burgundy can create a cozy and intimate atmosphere. Consider using burgundy as an accent color through bedding, decorative pillows, or curtains.

Pairing burgundy with warmer lighting, strategically placed mirrors, and artwork can create a tranquil and inviting space. In the kitchen, burgundy can be incorporated into the color palette through accents like curtains, dishware, or even small appliances.

The warm and inviting qualities of burgundy can create a welcoming space for family and friends.

The versatility of burgundy and similar colors

Burgundy is a versatile color that can be closely related to shades like maroon, oxblood, cranberry, and cordovan. These colors all share a similar richness and depth, but each has its own unique undertones and characteristics.

Maroon tends to have more purple undertones, while oxblood leans towards a darker and browner shade. Cranberry and cordovan have lighter and brighter qualities, with cranberry leaning towards a more vibrant red shade.

Burgundy as a warm or cool color and its associations

Burgundy can be seen as both a warm and cool color, depending on the context and its surrounding colors. Its warm undertones of red and brown give it a cozy and comforting feel, while its intensity and depth also evoke a sense of coolness and sophistication.

Burgundy is frequently associated with strength, power, and elegance, making it a popular choice in both fashion and home design.

Colors that complement burgundy

Burgundy pairs well with various colors, allowing for diverse and visually appealing color palettes. Shades of gray and neutrals create an elegant and timeless combination when paired with burgundy.

Green hues, such as olive or sage, can provide a fresh and natural contrast to the richness of burgundy. Pinks and dark reds can create a harmonious and romantic color scheme when used alongside burgundy.

The addition of golden yellow adds warmth and brightness to burgundy, while navy blue, teal, and turquoise can create a striking and vibrant contrast. These colors open up opportunities for creativity and provide endless possibilities for incorporating burgundy into various design schemes.

In conclusion, the use of burgundy in home design can create a sophisticated and elegant atmosphere. Following guidelines such as the 60:30:10 rule can help achieve a balanced color scheme, while incorporating burgundy through furnishings, accessories, and specific areas in the home can enhance its impact.

Understanding the versatility of burgundy and its associations can guide designers in making informed choices, and knowing the colors that complement burgundy can help create harmonious and visually appealing spaces. In conclusion, burgundy is a powerful and versatile color that adds sophistication and warmth to any design scheme.

Its rich and deep tones evoke a sense of elegance and create a calming ambiance. By understanding the various color schemes and complementary colors that work well with burgundy, designers can create cohesive and visually appealing spaces.

Incorporating burgundy through furnishings, accessories, and specific areas in the home can enhance its impact and create a luxurious atmosphere. The importance of color accuracy, record-keeping, and understanding color codes cannot be overstated in achieving consistency across various projects.

With its timeless appeal and associations with strength and power, burgundy remains a popular choice in both fashion and home design. So why not consider adding a touch of burgundy to your next design project and experience the transformative power of this exquisite color?

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