Pink As A Neutral

We are all familiar with the connotations of sweetness in regards to the color pink.  I would like to offer a different take – how to incorporate pink into more “masculine” interior schemes.  So instead of sweet pink think savory pink.  Whenever I get hungry my writing takes a culinary turn, unfortunately I’m hungry alot.  Pink is adorable, sweet, delicate, feminine, floral, hopeful, compassionate.  Pink is also warm, fierce, calm, and clear which makes it a marvelous partner for dark colors.  Pink paired with dark colors adds warmth in a way ivory or creams do not.

Pink is a hard sell.  One thing I find unfortunate are paint companies that opt to give their pink shades juvenile names. I would think this limits sales.  Blush is good, Little Piggy, not good.   My mission is to change your perception of pink if you don’t already LOVE it.  I LOVE it!

Pink compliments most skin tones.   Madame Ritz of the Hotel Ritz in Paris insisted all the lampshades in her hotel be lined in pink.  She felt the rosy glow made her guests feel more attractive and ensured repeat customers.  Pink was a favorite hue of Marie Antoinette.  She adored collaborating with craftsmen on the designs of her palaces.  It could be said she is the first interior designer to meet the guillotine.  Popular in the 1950’s,  it was named the color of the decade.

In India, pink is widely worn by men, especially at weddings where the groom and his attendants don pink turbans.   Diana Vreeland notably remarked “pink is the navy blue of India”.  In Thailand, pink is the color of Tuesdays and it’s considered good luck to wear it.

A great shade of pink is found in this photograph of rhodonite.  Rhodon is Greek for rose.  Not too bright, a little hit of gray, but still warm.

Rhodonite – characteristic dark pink coloration.  The black marks are caused by oxidation.

Here are a few color pairings with pink accompanied by fabrics, art, and interior spaces for inspiration.

Pink & Dark Green

Below is a pink guest bedroom Steven Gambrel designed for his country house.  Love the use of dark and olive greens with the pink.  Definitely a grown-up bedroom.

Guest bedroom design by Steven Gambrel

A fabric scheme of dark greens and pink in different textures.


In the photo below pink is replaced with ivory to show the difference in overall tone when pink is removed.



Love the dark and light interplay in this room by Kelly Wearstler.  And check out the ceiling!

Designer Kelly Wearstler often works pink into her interiors.   The sculptural chair frame is softened by the light pink upholstery.


19th c. Italiante house in Upstate New York.  Columns painted dark green highlight the black and white awnings and pink brick.  Kelly


A painting by Elizabeth Beegle Duquette. c. 1960


Confetti Pink from Green Paint Company


Pink & Gray

I find inspiration through art.  Subject matter, colors, reactions, all provide impetus to design. The Clare Elsaesser painting below appeals to me and provides a starting point to an interior color story.  The subject is lovely holding her giant bouquet of flowers.  There is movement.   The individual colors have been grayed down.  I feel calm and hopeful.  Pull colors from paintings you love for your design scheme.

“So Much” Clare Elsaesser, 2013 Acrylic on watercolor paper.


Pink and gray


Pink walls set off an eclectic art arrangement.  Gray wainscoting and trim.  Martha Stewart


I’m obsessed with this gorgeous, pieced, silk  Schumacher fabric by Miles Redd.    This would look killer on an antique settee.


Sitting room in soothing gray pink palette.  Brian J. McCarthy design.


Il Papiro, Italian card


Pink & Brown

A wonderful combination, think chocolate and strawberry ice cream.   Also, a great clothing combo.  Brown was out of favor for a bit, but it’s back now!

Brown and pink scheme.
Brown and ivory scheme with less pink.

The brown in the bedroom below comes from the furnishings, a fixed element of the design.  Dark wood furniture looks fresher when light colors are selected for walls, bedding, upholstery, rugs, and draperies.

Designer unknown
Love that rug!  Fiona Newell Weeks design.
“Portrait of A Lady” 1890, Raimundo De Madrazo y Garreta  oil on cradled panel.  Meadows Museum
Chocolate walls and pink settee.  Spare but bold, old world and modern.  Designer unknown
Altuzarra handbag.

Fabulous Furnishings

IMG_3853 (1)
A secretary designed by Tony Duquette.  Panels of reverse painting on glass inlaid on antique gold and sequined embroideries.


One Kings Lane ottoman




Artful Pink

“The Princess’ Bathroom at Pavlino” Sotira, 1835, Watercolor.

The watercolor depicts a luxurious Russian bathroom circa 1830.  The walls behind the marble statue of Venus are ruched, pink silk with silvery white fringe.  The other walls are covered in a paper simulating the tub wall possibly made by Zuber or Dufour in France.  The divan is upholstered in pink velvet.    “An Album of Nineteenth-Century Interiors”


“Concetto Spaziale” Lucio Fontana, 1964


Some favorite paint shades…

Farrow & Ball’s Pink Ground #202


A few from Sherwin Williams
Selection from Benjamin Moore


The paint samples look better in person, photos don’t due them justice, same goes for me 🙂