Tickled Pink

I have a confession: I’ve recently found myself flirting with shades of pink! It started quite innocently, with the gleeful pleasure of designing bedrooms for my clients’ daughters, but the fixation has grown. The colour that I’ve long associated with plastic Barbies and girlhood daydreams has suddenly become all grown up and– dare I say it– even a little bit edgy!

Designer Bibhu Mohapatra sketches a look for Strawberry Ice and Dulux's Coppor Blush sizzles

I’m not the only one out there who has newly fallen for pink. Pantone named the rich pinkie-terracotta hue, Masala, as colour of the year in January and have suggested Strawberry Ice as the signature colour for Spring. But it’s not just Pantone whose heart is ablaze for pink; Dulux named the soft metallic Copper Blush as their colour of the year and everywhere I turn a new pink catches my eye. Rosy pink. Dusty pink. Neon pink. It’s hot hot hot, pink!

Now the question is, can we get over our limited association of pink being a girl colour and the images of Barbie, frilly bows and girly plastic toys that the word often connotes? Let’s look to the past before we dream up a whole new future for this bold hue.

Madame de Pompadour, mistress to Kind Louis of France, favoured pink and blue combinations

Pink hasn’t always been a colour for girls; in the 19th Century, pink was used for both girls and boys. In fact, it was favoured for boys as the hue was derived from the classically masculine colour, red. The defining characteristic of pink at this point in time wasn’t gender, but age as the colour represented youth and health à la the pink flush in healthy cheeks. Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of King Louis, mixed pink with blue making it the fashion must in the Court of Versailles. Her deployment of this pairing officially made pink the colour of seduction and romance. This romantic connotation stuck with pink for decades to come and has defined some of our favourite cinematic and cultural moments over the years. I mean, who can forget the enduring image of Marilyn Monroe stuttering her stuff in a pink gown in 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes?

Boy With Whip from 1840 and Marilyn Monroe in an iconic pink dress just over a century later

Fast-forward to today and you’ll notice that we’re seeing pink cleverly balanced with harder colours, like Madame de Pompadour’s pink being contrasted with blue, to again bring a whole new connotation to the colour. These dark colours are very complimentary and when they’re layered in the home with an array of contrasting shades, they bring depth and luxury to a space.

Mother Nature's beautiful pink peonies and 47 Park Avenue's eye-popping pink sofa

At the moment, I’m using pinks as accent colours in a few Smartstyle design schemes, which allows those who are wary of pink to warm up to the colour’s sweet charms. Jessica Zoob’s fabric range uses fresh sweeps of pink amid a sea of blues and greens, which creates a very chic palette that has greatly influenced modern fabric design trends.

Jessica Zoob's lovely fabrics in a Smartstyle home and some Smartstyle designs in progress

However I love the unashamed use of pinks on structured furniture and modern clothes, like the midi skirt. In both interior design and fashion, a pink is a great base colour to stand at the centre of a great look. When it comes to furniture, we love pops of pinks on sofas or lounge chairs to give a playful crispness and modern sophistication to clever designs.

We love this pink sofa at The Fig House & can't wait to wear our summery pink skirts à la Lace and Locks

If pink upholstery feels like a big commitment, try integrating the colour into your home with art, ceramics or lamp shades. By choosing to use pops of pink in accessories, you’ll be able to experiment with shades that compliment your existing colour scheme whilst finding the shades that capture your eye the most. Another wonderful way to play with pink? With flowers! Take a pointer from mother nature and grab a handful of pink buds at your local flower shop or market. If cherry blossoms, rhododendrons and fluffy pink ranunculus can drastically change the world with their presence each spring, just think what they’ll do to your interiors!

take inspiration from sofa.com and upholster a beloved piece of furniture in pink

Do you dare to use pink in your home? Tell us about it on Twitter, share your photos on Facebook or explore your inspiration with us on Pinterest!