For a room of your own, or a shared space, today’s rosy shades are just right.
In 1918, the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department published an article stating, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls.” The rationale: pink was “a more decided and stronger color,” while “delicate and dainty” blue was “prettier for the girl.” It wasn’t until after World War II that manufacturers and retailers began promoting pink as the color of domesticity and femininity, a trend helped along by Mamie Eisenhower, who had a penchant for a particular pastel tone that became known as “Mamie Pink.”
Now the shade is once again experiencing a renaissance. In 2016, Pantone named Rose Quartz — a clear, peachy pink — as one of its colors of the year. Soon afterward, men and women raised in the requisite blue and Barbie-pink fashions of the ’80s and ’90s started embracing pinks ranging from blush-tinged beige to salmon — colors now referred to collectively as “Millennial Pink.” Today, Falmouth decorator Penelope Daborn sees a muted member of this color family being appropriated across age groups and in rooms inhabited by both sexes. “This is a warm, almost brown pink that is more gender-neutral than the sugary pinks of the past,” she says. Whether the color skews feminine, or more androgynous, is largely a matter of what you pair with it, as Daborn demonstrates with these sophisticated home office scenarios.
To prove that pink can be feminine “without going into frilly mode,” Daborn matched a curvaceous blush-colored sofa with warm wood and rose-gold tones in a woman’s study. Rounded edges on the tables, chair, rug motif, and clock complement the sofa’s silhouette and work with the soft shades to create a ladylike vibe. Avoid veering into little girl or grandmotherly territory by sticking to modern, tailored shapes and keeping floral prints to a minimum, says Daborn — a few blooms on a throw pillow or in a frame go a long way.
- C2 Paint in Svelte
- Spicher and Company Lady Red framed print
- West Elm Lena Mid-Century Dining Armchair
- West Elm Jensen Desk
- Umbra Ribbonwood Wall Clock
- CB2 Marble-Rose Gold Pedestal Tables
- Restoration Hardware Perennials Textured Weave Drapery
- Fritz Hansen Three-Seat Sofa
- Randolph & Hein Lahar cocktail table
- Kate Spade New York Gramercy rug
- Schumacher Pyne Hollyhock fabric
Combined with square furniture shapes and notes of deep brown and black, pink appears more gender bending, says Daborn, who dreamed up this room for a couple or “self-confident man.” A crisp roman shade (versus a curtain) and painterly rug that conjures an animal print contribute to a den-like feeling, while a steel floor lamp inspired by the mast arrangements on sailboats brings in a hint of a red-blooded hue. Pairing pink with neutrals and analogous shades looks chic and helps neutralize any childlike connotations, says Daborn.
- C2 Paint in Barely There
- Hartmann & Forbes Himalaya-Annapurna roman shade
- Langley Street Calvet Wall Clock
- Resident Spar Floor Lamp
- Graham & Brown Rose Gold Glow Framed Canvas
- TOOU JOI Thirtysix Chair
- B&B Italia Eileen Writing Desk
- West Elm Mural Collection Abstract Rug
- Kravet Roxwell Chair
- West Elm Abrigo C-Side Table
- Menu Socket Occasional Lamp
Click here to see more color inspiration from Penelope Daborn!