The Power of Pink

By Kate Riley May 22, 2013

I’ve been increasingly drawn to deep pinks and pale blush shades in recent months. I love a vivid raspberry paired with classic navy, so much so I use the combination in my home office. Equally as appealing to me are shades of blush and pale rose partnered with gold, the two together are a chic and sophisticated match made in heaven.

So I was delighted when contributing writer Courtney Lake decided to tackle the topic this month in his most recent article. Please welcome back Courtney and his reflections on this often ignored color that deserves a second look.

Diana Vreeland Pink Quote

“There is something delicious and whimsical about the color of pink yet frequently the hue is aligned with Barbie’s Dream House or romantic sunsets. There is a dichotomy to this color that can’t be ignored – it is what I think represents the best of design duality. Pink certainly has the ability to skew towards juvenile delight but also to uptown sophistication. It’s because of this dueling personality that I find it to be one of the most interesting, under-utilized, and least appreciated colors in a designer’s arsenal.

country living pink walls

Country Living

pink walls elle decor

Elle Decor

Pink is technically a tint of red – a red base that is then augmented with white, which gives unbelievable control to a designer to create the perfect intensity of color. So when a client states that he or she doesn’t like pink, I always ask them to point out what their concept of "pink" on my color wheel and without fail it either veers towards Bubble Gum or Hot Pink – both of which lean toward a younger audience. 

It is only when I inform them that pink encompasses all the hues from pale pink to purple leaning magenta that they start to fully comprehend that pink can be a sense of depth, visual interest and calmness to a room that few colors can match. Keep in mind that pink plays well with other hues from blue to yellow to green, and gets along superbly with dramatic black.

pink and yellow living room mwells

Michael Wells Photography

 pink and black sitting room tobi fairley

Tobi Fairley


Photographer Hallie Burton captured the dreamy mood of pink in this space where there’s a sense of calm from the tonal multiple hues of pink which create a design that is both sedate and sophisticated.

Hallie Burton

 Hallie Burton


Designers Suzanne Kasler and Francesco Lagnese use pink as the backdrop to their mostly neutral designs. In the case of Lagnese, he employs a poppy fuchsia shade of pink to showcase his gold and lacquered black accents in a masculine way, and tempers the whole design with a healthy dose of white. Kasler uses a more subtle shade of pink in her design with a mix of natural fibers. The effect is more soft, feminine and grounding, but still unmistakably pink!

pink walls house beautiful

Lagnese in House Beautiful

pink walls suzanne kasler house beautiful

Suzanne Kasler for House Beautiful


You may have noticed that I used the term "masculine" and “pink” in the same sentence. This is by no mistake! Aside from the fact that historically pink was the color of male nobility, it is also a great foil to modern architecture. The unexpected combination of modern lines and arches with the color makes for an unexpected pairing that can inject energy into space and make it feel less staid.

The design featured on Apartment Therapy mixes mid-century aesthetics with accents of pink in the rug, curtains and accessories. The room reads as masculine but not predictable. The design featured on Coastroad Hearth combines soaring ceilings and windows with a coral leaning shade of pink. You can tell the room had a woman’s touch with the addition of the lighting and upholstery but I am sure the man of the house feels right at home.

pink accents apartment therapy

Apartment Therapy

coastroad hearth

Coastroad Hearth


Designer Lindsey Harper works what is often dubbed the forbidden hue into her library design including this striking color on the millwork. Traditional built-ins are given a modern twist with a bold injection of color.  Miles Redd, famous king of color partnered a vivid shade of deep pink with brass trim. If you are not that daring, then try back painting plexi panels to sit on top of your shelving or paint the rear of the bookcases instead to give your room a shot of color in a more subtle way.

magenta bookcases lindsay harper atlanta homes mag

Atlanta Homes Magazine, design by Lindsey Harper 

miles redd magenta and brass office

 Miles Redd


Continuing with the millwork theme, San Francisco-based design Grant K. Gibson used a paler shade of pink to paint the millwork in a recent design showcase house with stunning results. The pink door and jamb beautifully outline the entry to the bathroom, creating a beautiful frame that welcomes guests.

pink bathroom grant k gibson

Grant K Gibson

Speaking of bathrooms, this boldly striped bathroom from Lonny Magazine screams fun and preppy before feminine. The mix of pink and orange is a vibrant choice for a bathroom and one that results in a refreshing space.

striped walls lisa sherry lonny magazine

Lisa Sherry in Lonny

Pink is neither masculine nor feminine, juvenile or adult, traditional or modern when executed well. It is a color that easily adapts to the needs of modern design, adding fun, vitality and a beautiful background from which to build from. So the next time someone raises an eyebrow when the color pink is suggested, just remind them that they are missing out!”

Thank you Courtney for your insight on the color pink today! Catch up with Courtney at his blog Courtney Out Loud for all his food adventures and observations on great interior design.

How have you incorporated pink into your home?  Have you been bold enough to add pink to walls or added bright pink accents to your decor?



  1. I am loving pink lately too. I have added raspberry accents to my existing navy and yellow color pallet, it just looks so bright and ready for summer. I am thinking of adding pink to our gray and white masterbath through artwork and curtains after watching an episode of Sarah Richardson. Hoping my hubby will go for it!

  2. Love the quote. I’m such a fan of pink- for home + fashion. I enjoyed your mix of images. I love the elle décor image & pinned it. I love the pale pink walls mixed with pops of deeper hues + modern lighting. Have a fabulous week!

  3. I have to say that I’m not really liking any of these rooms; maybe I’m just not sophisticated enough but I feel that they are so garish and gaudy. The exception is the Coastroad Hearth room. To me, it’s elegant. I only like pinks if they are more peachy or salmon-y and usually only like them as a pop of color in a couple accents, not featured throughout. But that’s what is so interesting about the world. Everyone is unique. It was a very intelligent article, even if most were not my style. Thanks!

  4. I LOVE this.

    Maybe a color like the Tobi Fairley is a good compromise on the red dining room my husband wants!

    I just wish I knew the color!

    • Bravo Leslie, that is the perfect pop of pink in your home!

  5. I love pink!! Not sure I could get away with pink walls in the living area, but pink id s great color. Love all the rooms.

  6. Pink is my favorite, always! My husband isn’t such a fan, unfortunately. My dream is to have a pink front door. I’ll keep dreaming ;)

    • Hi Cristina, my good friend painted her front door a deep magenta color (her house is a neutral) and her door sits under a small portico. From the street it reads deep red but as you get closer you can see it’s a sassier shade, I love it!

  7. Although I love the pink/gold combination, and the orange/pink/navy that seems to be everywhere, I think we are teetering dangerously close to bringing back everything horrid about 80’s decor. (Hello, Coastroad Hearth pic). When I see pink paired with black or teal I find myself twitching in the corner. There are some design trends that should never be brought back. Thanks to Courtney for the other sophisticated options to integrate pink in unexpected ways. Btw, have you seen Jenny Komenda’s post about pink and burgundy? I noticed it in one of Courtney’s examples too–it’s growing on me.

  8. I love pink but have yet to find a way to put it in my home without making my boys feel out-of-place! These are all gorgeous examples, thank you Courtney and Kate!

  9. Having lived in a bubblegum pink bedroom from age 4 to 14, then attempting to make it more sophisticated but never truly succeeding due to circumstances out of my teenage control, I have not yet had the inclination to use pink as an adult! I certainly don’t rule it out, but I also think it would take a very well thought out plan to get my husband on board with using pink anywhere but a future nursery.
    We do have some pink accents, particularly sentimental things, but right now I’m careful to balance my keepsakes with his. So for every old ballet photo, there is something space related. Makes for an eclectic display, but one that really tells guests who we are!

  10. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’ve really never decorated with pink. Even my daughters room was purple, blue, and candy apple green (before we moved into a rental). The pink is kind of growing on me though; great post!

  11. Thanks for this! My four-year-old son’s favorite color is pink, and I’ve been having such a hard time figuring out how to decorate his room the way he wants without it looking like a stable for My Little Pony. His second favorite color is orange, so I’ve got some options. Thanks for these ideas and examples!

  12. As much as I’m not a fan of pink, I have noticed that light pink goes with every. single. color. Black, brown, blue, green, purple, burgundy, red, orange, yellow, the color combos are endless.

  13. The Diana Vreeland quote is really “Pink is the navy blue of India”!!! But I know what you meant!

  14. I am a huge fan of pink. Funny when I was a little girl I disliked pink. I did not want any pink in my room and I wouldn’t wear anything pink. Now as an adult I love pink and am attracted to all shades of pink. The first photo of the Country Living- living room is lovely. Cassie of HiSugarplum did a beautiful job with her dining room. I love the shade she used. Really a fun and vibrant room.

  15. What a great post – and so nice to think of pink in a non-Barbie way. I wear a lot of pink but often overlook it in design – thaks for the tips!

  16. Oh yes I have — just painted my dining room pink, and the ceiling a deep red!! I LOVE it!!!! (posted it this week)

    So nice to know I’m on trend…if Courtney says it’s good, then it’s good!!

  17. Picked up a new magazine (by bhg) today and it had a great article about you!!

  18. Fabulous Rene, I think the Refresh is due out anytime soon…. but our Alma Project bathroom and kitchen was going to be featured in their Budget Bathroom & Kitchens issue, which was it?

  19. It was Refresh. Came out in the midwest today. I’m excited to have a new magazine!

  20. I just love pink. Great tip on how to deal with clients when the word pink is mentioned.

  21. My husband and i have always had a pink bedroom, our house shutters are raspberry pink and i have a 10×12 grownup playhouse painted pale pink out back near our woods! I cannot do without the color pink and im thankful my husband doesnt mind!

  22. Great article!! !

    Just what I needed to get courage and paint my mismatched dinette chairs in “Raspberry” color. I already spray painted the table in a kind of asparagus green. Since I have always been attracted to pink I though raspberry will be fun and different but I have started hesitating on been too corny with my pinkish chairs.

    I’ve been looking at so many paper colors and either they are too pink or too red. I would like the perfect in between color. The one that makes you wonder if is pink or red. I believe I have found it it’s called Berry Blush (Valpasar).

    Can’t wait to start brushing my chairs. I’ll sent you a pic of my finish project :)

  23. I love the pinks in this group; although never really was much of a pink person through life. I remember my Mums’ friend years ago (30 or so now), painted her entire hall and living room what she termed “Menopause Pink”. Beautiful! hahaa
    Cheers once again from Brenda in Oshawa Ontario.

  24. I love this! Right now, my living room has a lot of red in it. The cellular shades are red, the area rug is red, etc. My walls are a beige color. I’m not sure how to incorporate pink into the color scheme without it reading as over-saturated but I would love to see this color in my home!

  25. Ever since I moved into my house I’ve wanted to bring pink into the color scheme. I’ve hesitated because I was afraid it would be too girly, too bubblegum (for lack of a better word) and would overwhelm any room. Now that I’ve seen this I’m inspired again and I can’t help but think maybe now is the time to try some pink. Maybe in the hallway…

  26. I love it! The first room in our house is a pink similar to the first picture posted. The one following that (living room) is a light pink/peach combo =) I use warm wood and cream colored furniture, plus use a lot of other colors such as yellow, blue, and greens in the decor

  27. looove it! we have a gorgeous pink turkish rug in our living room, which hubs dad bought years ago. I was more than happy to give it a new home and to use it as a jumping off point for decorating the room! so fun!

  28. Funny. Ironic. This is a quote, from Wikipedia: A 1927 survey of 10 department stores reported that pink was preferred for the boys in 6 of them and 4 for the girls.

    If you look it up its history is very varied, and in some times and places considered a masculine colour.
    What I find most antagonistic about our culture is that a grown woman is almost shunned for enjoying pink and wanting to utilize it in her wardrobe or home.

    References to it being childish. Gee, hello folks, look at the fifties. Pink appliances were considered vogue. I am tired, and a little pissed off , that people can tell me or assume that a woman or man cannot consider pink to stand on its own just as well as brown, green black etc.

    I have always loved pink, being denied my desire for it as a child in loo of navy and brown, and then growing up to find my culture abhor it.

    Well , I decided to go against the naysayers, my husband letting my hearts desire reign , I now own two pink chairs, and a recently 50’s pink dining table. And let it be said, ” I am tickled pink”

  29. I always love all of your pictures! However, I am not fond of this pink concept. I think we need to remember the ‘Dusty Rose’ and ‘Country Blue’ craze from the early 90’s. Eww! ;-)

  30. A few months ago, my husband and I painted our bedroom pink. We used Cream Puff by Benjamin Moore. He gave me the stink eye about it for sure, but now he thinks it’s as beautiful as I do!

  31. Just last week we painted our living room ceiling a light shade of pink. It works very well with our new wall color, Perfectly Pesto by Benjamin Moore.

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