Puce Color

Puce Color – Learning About the Ambiguous Shade of Puce

You might think that the color puce is green, or maybe you thought it was a type of gray. So, what color is puce? To find out about this ambiguous color, read further for not only the answer to this question, but more about what colors go with puce if you are thinking of using it in your next design project!



What Color Is Puce?

Is puce green? Some might think the puce color is a shade of green. However, this is a misconception that seemed to develop, where the name “puce green” became linked with “puke green”. Although, nobody is quite sure where the association developed. In general, and if you search online for this color, puce is more of a purplish brown.

Puce has its own identifying hex code, but there are also quite a few different shades of puce available, some appearing closer to mauve, while others appear browner than anything else.

Puce green does not have a hex code, and is, therefore, not an officially recognized color. You can say puce is part of the red family and can also be described as being more of a slightly desaturated darker red hue or dark reddish purple. You can place puce and burnt sienna in the same category, as they are closely related.

Color Puce

Puce ShadePuce Hex CodeCMYK Puce Color Code (%)RGB Puce Color CodePuce Color
Puce#cc88990, 33, 25, 20204, 136, 153 
Burnt Sienna#e974510, 50, 65, 9233, 116, 81 


Puce Color: A Brief History

The word puce is derived from 18th-century French and directly translates as the word for “flea”. The color reference comes from the stained bedsheets after a flea has been squashed. The name came about in the 18th century when Marie-Antoinette, the last Queen of France and wife to Louis XVI, donned a gown in a color. When her husband was asked what he thought of the gown, his reply was, “C’est puce”, which means he thought the gown was “flea colored”, which eventually led to the color being named puce.

As all trends tend to start, this color went on to become quite the fashion statement. 


Meaning of the Color Puce

Since puce is a color close to purple, it shares many similar meanings. This includes being associated with royalty, wisdom, creativity, reliability, luxury, stability, confidence, and power. The puce color is not as stimulating as red and offers more of a calming or soothing effect. In general, the puce color can be seen as sophisticated and elegant, and feminine.

Puce can help to add warmth and depth to designs, whether it is for fashion or interior design concepts.



Shades of Puce

As we have mentioned, you can get a variety of puce tones. So, when working with the color, you do not have to stick to a single color You can easily incorporate lighter or darker shades of puce that suit your needs.


Puce Pourpre

This particular shade of puce is quite popular in France and is considered the original puce color that all other shades of puce come from. This color can be found on the Pourpre.com list, which is well-known in France.

What Color is Puce

Puce ShadePuce Hex CodeCMYK Puce Color Code (%)RGB Puce Color CodePuce Color
Puce#cc88990, 33, 25, 20204, 136, 153 
Dark Red#4e16090, 72, 88, 6978, 22, 9 


Pantone Puce

Many designers follow the trends and colors of the year Pantone chooses. You can also find a Pantone puce color that is used in their textile paper color list and is listed as #19-1518 TPX. This color is a lot darker than the web puce used below in the table.

Puce Green

Puce ShadePuce Hex CodeCMYK Puce Color Code (%)RGB Puce Color CodePuce Color
Puce#cc88990, 33, 25, 20204, 136, 153 
Dark Grayish Red#4f3a3c0, 27, 24, 6979, 58, 60 


Maerz and Paul Puce

In the Dictionary of Color (1930) by Maerz and Paul, the puce color can be found on page 37. As you can see, some see puce as a darker purplish brown or red, while others classify it closer to a more moderate red, mauve, or even a darker shade of pink.

Puce Color Tints

Puce ShadePuce Hex CodeCMYK Puce Color Code (%)RGB Puce Color CodePuce Color
Puce#cc88990, 33, 25, 20204, 136, 153 
Moderate Red#a95c680, 46, 38, 34169, 92, 104 



What Colors Go With Puce?

There are ways you can use to learn what colors go with puce. The best way to find out is to turn to color theory and have a look at the various color combinations available. To do this, you can make use of a color wheel, or the many online tools available will provide this information for you.

However, puce does go well with greens, yellows, and shades of orange as an accent color.


Complementary Puce Colors

Colors that fall on opposite ends of the color wheel are considered complementary colors. When you use these colors and place them together, they will form a contrast, and the colors usually stand out. As a general example, blue and orange are complementary colors. In the case of puce, its complementary color will be a slightly desaturated cyan.

However, other shades of green and blue can also work.

What Colors Go with Puce

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Puce#cc88990, 33, 25, 20204, 136, 153 
Desaturated Cyan#88ccbb33, 0, 8, 20136, 204, 187 


Analogous Puce Colors

A more harmonious color combination includes colors that have similar characteristics and are located in a similar area on the color wheel. For example, various shades of red and orange can form an analogous color combination. Puce can therefore work well with pinks and other shades of red.

Light Puce Color

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Puce#cc88990, 33, 25, 20204, 136, 153 
Desaturated Pink#cc88bb0, 33, 8, 20204, 136, 187 
Desaturated Red#cc99880, 25, 33, 20204, 153, 136 


Monochromatic Puce Colors

To create a sense of depth and harmony in a color combination, you can try using a monochromatic color scheme. This uses a single color like puce, and then finds a variety of other shades and tints of this one color.

Dark Puce Color

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Puce#cc88990, 33, 25, 20204, 136, 153 
Moderate Pink#b5526b0, 55, 41, 29181, 82, 107 
Light Grayish Red#e3bec70, 16, 12, 11227, 190, 199 


Triadic Puce Colors

To create a color combination that stands out even more, try using triadic colors. These are colors that appear within a triangle outline on the color wheel. Pairing these colors will create a lively combination and should be used carefully to balance out the colors.

For puce, it is shades of green as well as blue.

Pale Puce Color

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Puce#cc88990, 33, 25, 20204, 136, 153 
Desaturated Blue#8899cc33, 25, 0, 20136, 153, 204 
Desaturated Green#99cc8825, 0, 33, 20153, 204, 136 



Working With the Color Puce

You might want to create a beautiful puce paint color, so you will need to know what colors make puce. Since puce is quite a versatile color, you may also want to include the color in your wardrobe or use it in your next interior design project.


What Colors Make Puce Acrylic Paint?

When mixing a puce color and you are wondering what colors make puce, the simplest combination is to blend purple with brown. Consider using magenta and adding small amounts of burnt sienna until you achieve a puce color. Remember to always keep a color chart of your mixing proportions.

Of course, you can start from scratch and create your own purple and brown mix from the paint colors you have on hand.

You can create a magenta by mixing equal amounts of blue and red paint and then add in some white to lighten and brighten the color. If you do not have any burnt sienna, you can also mix some orange and purple paint, which should create a brown with a reddish undertone.

Puce Color Hue

ShadeHex CodeCMYK Color Code (%)RGB Color CodeColor
Magenta#ff00ff0, 100, 0, 0255, 0, 255 
Burnt Sienna#e974510, 50, 65, 9233, 116, 81 


The Puce Color in Fashion and Interior Design

Puce might not be on the top of your list when it comes to using it in any type of design, but it can be used to create a more unique color combination. Since there is a variety of different puce shades, the color can be a beautiful color choice for evening formal wear, and any other clothing item from jackets to pullovers, shirts, and pants.

This particular hue can also be a great lipstick or make-up color choice. Pairing it with browns and other neutrals can also produce a stunning look.

Puce Color Shades

When using puce décor, it can also be paired wonderfully with natural wood elements, and other neutral colors like white, black, gray, various shades of brown, and beige. Lighter and softer shades of puce could be used as a warmer neutral color and can add a more relaxing feel to a room, while darker puce colors can be used as beautiful accents. Experiment with layering different tones and bringing in different textures and patterns.


Now that you have become slightly more acquainted with the puce color, you might consider it for your next design project. Since there is a variety of tones, there should be one that fits perfectly into your color scheme.




Frequently Asked Questions


What Color Is Puce?

The puce color can be described as a purplish-brown or a reddish-brown color. What colors make puce? The colors that make up puce include purple and brown, in a variety of lighter and darker shades.


What Colors Go With Puce?

Puce can work with most colors including white, gray, black, beige, shades of blue and green, as well as other shades of red, purple, and pink.


Is Mauve the Same As Puce?

Puce has many definitions. Some say it is a greenish color, others a brownish-purple, and still others characterize it as more of a purple-pink or mauve. However, mauve and puce are two separate colors, with mauve being a brighter shade of violet, while puce is a darker shade of red.


Cite this Article

Charlene, Lewis, “Puce Color – Learning About the Ambiguous Shade of Puce.” Art in Context. September 22, 2023. URL: https://artincontext.org/puce-color/

Lewis, C. (2023, 22 September). Puce Color – Learning About the Ambiguous Shade of Puce. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/puce-color/

Lewis, Charlene. “Puce Color – Learning About the Ambiguous Shade of Puce.” Art in Context, September 22, 2023. https://artincontext.org/puce-color/.

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