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Bordeaux Color

Bordeaux Color: A Rich Pigment for Sophisticated Style

The sought-after Bordeaux wine refers to the wines produced in the Bordeaux region of southwestern France. But did you know that it’s also the name of one of the most sophisticated hues?

Read below for everything you need to know about the Bordeaux color. We shall discuss a little about the pigment’s history before delving deeper into potential uses and how to make the most of this exquisite pigment.

Introducing Bordeaux

Bordeaux Color

This deep and somber shade of red characterized by oaky undertones. It’s hex code is #7F1734.

The color may also be contextually called by other names, including maroon, claret, and burgundy. However, ‘Bordeaux’ is the pigment’s generally accepted term since its alternative monikers are considered individual colors.

Is Bordeaux A Warm or Cool Color?

Bordeaux Color

Red, yellow, and orange are the primary warm colors while blue, green, and purple are the major cool colors.

That said, it’s not uncommon for a warm color to have cooler variants or a cool color to have warmer variants. A case in point is the color carmine which is cool-toned despite being a shade of red, a warm color.

Now, the fact that Bordeaux is darker than many shades of red might have some bundle it together with cool colors. Bordeaux’s rich saturation of red makes it a warm color.

What Colors Go Well with Bordeaux?

It should blend seamlessly with a variety of colors. Noteworthy ones include black, olive, gray, and tomato.

Being a shade of red, it will also go with most other shades of red. The color will also look exceptionally elegant when used with berry tones, such as blackberries, blueberries, and elderberries.

You can combine Bordeaux with cooler colors like blue and green to create a fascinating contrast.

How Did Bordeaux Get Its Name?

Bordeaux France

The color Bordeaux derives its name from the eponymous French wine. The first usage of the term ‘Bordeaux’ with respect to a color was in 1891.

Before its association with the Bordeaux wine, the Bordeaux color was known by numerous names in different countries. For instance, the Russians referred to the pigment using the word “chermny.”

But it was not until the English language adopted the word ‘Bordeaux’ for this dark shade of red that the color’s popularity began to soar. Although still considered a rare and novelty color by many artists, Bordeaux’s popularity has surged tremendously since the 1890s.

Origin and History of Bordeaux


Interestingly, the wine from where the Bordeaux color gets its name has been around for over two millennia.

Bordeaux wine’s history can be traced back to the Roman periods when the first vineyards emerged. Production of the wine reportedly began around 43 AD after the Romans established vineyards in Gaul during their occupation of the region. These vineyards were planted to produce wine for the Roman soldiers.

Later on, the historic marriage between King Henry II of England and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine of France in the Middle Ages led to the spread of the Bordeaux wine to the English market and eventually to the rest of the world. Today, Bordeaux is one of the finest French wines consumed the world over.

Like the color whose name it inspired, the Bordeaux wine stands out for its deep shade of red. The wine is also famous for its inviting aromas, which range from black currants to plums, and earthy notes of pencil lead and wet gravel.

Meaning and Symbolism of Bordeaux Color

people tossing their clear wine glasses

The color Bordeaux is steeped in meaning and symbolism. Here are some of the qualities and emotions associated with this beautiful shade of red;

1. Confidence and Stability

The pigment is conspicuous enough to stand out from any artwork or surface it’s used on. It’s noted for its ability to inspire confidence and esteem while also conveying a sense of humility.

2. Balance and Harmony

Grey and brown often get the most credit when discussing colors that convey harmony. But while most shades of red do not resonate with this quality, Bordeaux is a noteworthy exception. Consider this elegant variant of red for any artwork that aims at promoting peace and reconciliation.

3. Power and Status

Ancient rulers wore varying shades of Bordeaux as a symbol of authority. No wonder the color has always been associated with power and status. Whether used for interior decorations or as the underlying theme color for formal occasions, Bordeaux will do a great job at adding a touch of royalty to the setting.

4. Magic and Fantasy

Are you working on an upcoming fantasy movie or novel and are looking for a befitting background color? Well, you’d do well to look in the direction of Bordeaux.

Bordeaux has this magical appeal that resonates with fantasy-themed settings. Whether used in designing the costumes for movie characters or as the background color for your romantic greeting cards, the color will surely infuse a sense of wonder into your designs.

5. Faith and Devotion

Most shades of red are surrounded by an air of mystery. Bordeaux is no exception. As a mysterious pigment, Bordeaux can aptly suit religious or supernatural themes. And thanks to its darker tone, the color will perfectly suit darker spiritual themes like reincarnation and Black Magic.

6. Love and Passion

Humans have associated red with love for thousands of years. The love poem “Roses Are Red” wasn’t composed for no reason. Bordeaux is one of the many shades of red that connote love and passion. You can easily use the color to replace common reddish hues that are traditionally related to love and sensuality, such as scarlet.

7. Life and Growth

It may also convey life and growth. Again, this has much to do with the fact that the color is essentially a shade of red – the color of blood.

8. Sadness or Melancholy

Like all colors, Bordeaux has a negative side when overdone. Too much of the pigment can echo sadness and melancholy.

Noteworthy Applications of the Bordeaux Color throughout History

The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb

The Bordeaux color might have gotten its name in the 1890s. However, the pigment had already appeared in numerous artworks long before its association with the Bordeaux wine.

Belgian painter Jan van Eyck (1390 – 1441) is probably the most notable artist who used Bordeaux extensively in his works. The realistic oil painter was noted for his mastery for blending Bordeaux with burgundy.

Van Eyck’s most famous painting created in 1432, known as The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb or Ghent Altarpiece, utilized pops of Bordeaux. The artist also used Bordeaux in his other major credits, including;

• Timotheus or Portrait of a Man aka Léal Souvenir (1432)
• The Madonna of Chancellor Rolin (1435)
• The Virgin and Child with Canon van der Paele (1436)
• Lucca Madonna (1437)
• Portrait of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini (1438)
• Portrait of Margaret van Eyck (1439)

French painters Peraire Paul Emmanuel (1829 – 1893) and Henri Bordeaux (1852 – 1929) also used different shades of Bordeaux in some of their works. Which is unsurprising considering that both artists hailed from France, the land of the wine that lent its name to the Bordeaux color.

Some of their notable paintings featuring the pigment include ‘French Riverscape’ and ‘Rolla,’ respectively. It was also a favorite color of European rulers at some point in time.

Common Uses for the Bordeaux Color


It’s a fairly versatile color and can suit a plethora of design projects. Below are the common areas where the color would look exceptionally great;

a. Fashion Design

The hue combines the brightness of scarlet with the dullness of maroon to create smooth, balancing effects. The color would suit a variety of outfits that elicit passion. Think dinner dresses, night gowns, and yoga pants.

Another way to rock it in Bordeaux would be to use the color for accessories rather than the main outfit. From jewelry to shoes and belts, the pigment can go a long way in accentuating your fashion accessories. Needless to mention, ensure the Bordeaux accessories worn match the general color of your main attire.

b. Interior Design

Bordeaux’s powerful visual effects make it a top choice for interiors. You could paint your dining room in this color to create a sense of love and homeliness. You could also use it for your bedroom décor to cleverly arouse the sensual animal in your partner.

It would also look excellent if used on furniture. However, be sure to pair it with the right pigments to mute its often-intoxicating effects. Remember that the pigment can be quite overpowering if used excessively.

What’s more, you could use Bordeaux as the main pigment for your front door, entrance hall, or façade. The color can make a bold statement on your property and leave a lasting impression on your guests.

c. Holiday Decorations

Since Bordeaux isn’t a color you get to use every other day, why not invite it into your seasonal celebrations. The pigment can help uplift your festive mood, allowing you to immerse yourself fully into the spirit of the occasion.

Christmas is among the holidays where you could use Bordeaux. And there’s no limit to the kinds of designs you can render in this refreshing color. From Christmas lights to Christmas cards, home decorations, etc.

How to Make Bordeaux

how to make Bordeaux


This shade is fairly easy to create. A typical preparation method would unfold as follows;

i. Combine three parts of a brilliant red undertone with one part of a dark blue undertone in a color mixing bowl.

Scarlett would be a great choice for brilliant red while navy blue would be a perfect choice for dark blue.

ii. Add a small drop of yellow to the mixture and carefully stir until there are no streaks of either color.

The result will be a warm and intense shade of Bordeaux. You can add more blue to darken the pigment or more yellow to lighten it.


Wrap Up

Bordeaux has a reputation as one of the most alluring shades of red. Invite this color into any setting and watch it transform the ambiance into something magical.

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