Thinking pink: Bold designs bring the hot pastel home

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

      

The simplistic form of the L-Cube vanity designed by Christian Werner for Duravit has subtle details that make it special, like shadow gap between countertop and the wall-mounted furniture and the subdivision of the drawer fronts, all uninterrupted by hardware. Available in apricot matte or gloss.

Stop panicking: It’s really just light red.

No other color gets dissed and dismissed as often as pink when it comes to home design — unless we’re talking baby girls’ rooms. Yet in home decor, shades of pink have circled through a number of decades, often in tandem with other colors — gray, chocolate, navy and preppy jade green.

For the past three years or so, pink has been re-emerging in Europe. More precisely, beige-y blush kept cropping up in upholstery and even cabinetry at the Maison & Objet shows in Paris. Not uncommon in Scandinavian countries, pink easily streamed into housewares as well, with whisks, salad utensil sets and peelers. Variant shades like petal, carnation and even deeper rose started inserting themselves into fabrics and cabinetry. Attractive mixable metals like rosy copper or pink-toned glass or quartz are showing up in lighting, tabletop and accessories.

"To most consumers, pink is associated with a child’s room," says Ann Haagenson, divisional merchandise manager for Anthropologie. "So it has taken a while to progress into the living room and master bedroom." The retailer is selling bedding, lighting and votive holders in the color. "But blush or ‘biche’ (fawn in French) is the most flattering color for the home. It makes everyone and everything look pretty. It’s also the most neutral color, outside of creme, so it’s easy to use in a totally new room design or to integrate into an existing one. "

Stacey Senior, marketing director for fabric/wallpaper manufacturer Thibaut, says the color can make a room feel more feminine — with a surprising impact. "Blush pink/quartz is very refined," says Senior, "and instantly changes a room’s mood to sophisticated and pretty. It is a complementing color to brassy gold and sharp white tones. Integrating pink into an already furnished room is easy with accessories and peek-a-boo accents like throw pillows or picture frames. As a main color, going bigger is better — like pink wallpaper or a rug."

Add some gilt, and pink can take on a luxe edge. Thibaut’s Marlow damask pattern, from its Serenade collection, dials up elegance with a wallcovering that honors tradition but feels so fresh — especially with pretty blooms to match and on-trend raw quartz or coral decor accessories.

Designers at Koket, a furniture company based in New York, chose a shade of rose quartz for the sensual Besame chair. They call the hue "calming" and say it is welcoming because "it creates a relaxing and lighthearted ambience."

Designer Tobi Fairley, whose Ellison table for Woodbridge uses pink with a gold leaf border, loves blush for furniture and fabric design. "It’s a fabulous barely-there pastel that combines pink with an almost taupe tone," says Fairley. "I like to mix it with navy or citron to balance the sweetness." Fairley also has placed blush leather on sleek chairs and benches for CR Laine.

Fairley and the Kate Spade brand are fond of teaming pink with bright, almost Kelly green. Depending on the shade, Anthropologie’s Haagenson says a taupe-y pink teams up well with warmer neutrals such as camel, nubuck, even orange. "If it’s cooler, it’s best paired with magenta, gray and navy."

She offers some tips on effortless ways to integrate the color into decorating:

Accessorize: "Small-scale linen pillows make an easy update to a sofa, bed or low living/casual areas."

On the tabletop: "I have a blush pink/stripe vintage dinnerware collection that makes me smile when I have my morning coffee."

Go large-scale: "Try an upholstered sofa in blush pink leather. It is a divine statement piece that is both soft and hard. It will be the envy of any guest."