The Power of Pink

Welcome back. And so we slide into another month in this strangest of years. Yes, it’s back to school and university for some, but with a very different feel this time round. I suspect the excitement levels might be high from both parents and children as they attempt to find some sort of normality with a return to work and friends (or perhaps just the chance to visit the bathroom alone for the first time in six months) but it’s also tinged with a sense of unease about what the changing season may bring.

open shelves at

So, what have you learnt from lockdown? I have learned, and am thankful to realise, that I mostly love my house. And, perhaps more importantly, that I still love my husband, and that relations with two trapped teenage boys remain intact. We have all clearly drunk too much (the aperitivo hour became a vital marker in the transition from working day at home to evening at home) and we have had supper together at the table just about every night which feels like a huge achievement. That said the boys now regularly go to bed at 3am so they can find hours without parents in the house.

It will feel strange when the eldest returns to university (although I suspect he is counting the minutes) and I’m not sure how any of us are going to get up at 6.30am to get the 17yo off to school on time.

walls in threadneedle by mylands

But, on the upside, I get to reclaim my office, which was initially seceded to the 17yo for zoom classes and then, over the summer, to the 19yo who wanted to four different walls as background to his computer scrolling. It also filled with bags of unwanted stuff from other rooms as the great clear out of lockdown began. I have now managed to get rid of most of these and the room is once again clear and the desk empty. It’s time I heave myself off the sofa to work and I imagine my back will like it too.

pantry door in threadneedle by mylands

So the study stays the same. But there has been a small kitchen revamp. For those who were here last week, I mentioned The Mad Husband suggesting we paint all the walls of the kitchen pink.

Previously we had the back of the open shelves and the wall opposite in a muddy plaster pink called Temple by Paint & Paper Library. It’s a gorgeous colour but I had (truth be told) always felt it was a little too brown beside the chocolate brown of the cupboards.

However, one thing I have realised during lockdown is that I need all my walls to be painted the same colour. I can’t be doing with a mix and match of a wall here and a door there. Let’s not also forget that pink has been scientifically proved to be a calming colour which after six months of lockdown is probably a good idea for everyone.

So the following day I grabbed a brush and started painting everything in Temple. Much to the husband’s dismay. It was too dark, it was only an idea, he hadn’t actually meant me to actually start painting when he suggested I start painting.

walls in threadneedle by mylands

That said, the Temple was too dark. So we reverted to Threadneedle by Mylands, the soft barely there pale pink of my office and our bedroom. It has become the new neutral in this house. The teenage boys approved. It’s much lighter they said. I felt instantly calmer – having all the walls and doors in the same colour immediately makes me breathe easier.

Only The Mad Husband remains unsure: “It’s pink,” he protested.

walls in threadneedle by mylands

Turns out he has forgotten about the bedroom (also his idea after I initially vetoed pink in favour of grey) and never goes into my office. It seems he liked the dark pink because his brain told him it was brown. He is, for now, apparently, able to live with it. Which, if I have learnt anything after 20 years of marriage, means he can’t think of anything better to replace it with, which may also, as it turns out, be a metaphor for marriage.



Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Your posts always make me smile, but the end of this one made me laugh out loud…good thing I’m still working from home!

  2. Hi Kate

    I feel serious envy of your pink kitchen, my own can of pink paint is still sitting in the shed from last year. The other half doesnt think it will go with the grey tiles in the kitchen! Another summer gone and very little done.

    Speaking of coming winter I have a dilemma I hope everyone will help me with. I live in small terraced house with a narrow vestibule from the south facing front door to the north facing backroom. My question is how to bring all that lovely southern light to the back of the house. There are transom windows above both doors so the living room isn’t completely dark, but still rather gloomy. Glass doors for the front room and backroom would have helped tremendously had I not started money pinching in the last weeks of a exhausting renovation. I am now thinking of metallic paint and mirrors. Please make a post about design ideas for this issue.
    Google searches for narrow hallways only bring up massive American entry ways that are no help.

  3. Fabulous colours! May I ask what specific colour and brand your brown cupboards are painted ? It’s a perfect compliment to the pink.

  4. Kate! So very glad you are back. I’ve enjoyed re-reading the August posts, however, I love reading your take on the day. This COVID situation is very stressful, but it has certainly made me appreciate my home. I feel so fortunate to have a comfortable (thank you Air conditioning) clean home. All of our children have homes of their own now, so I feel responsible only for the dogs, husband and myself. A blessing. Thank you for continuing to inspire.

  5. A metaphor for marriage: It’s fine since I can’t think of anything better to replace it with.

    Genius. Stay at home during Covid times has us all gong a little bit buggy with the husbands, I guess. Glad to know I’m not the only one feeling it! LOL

    My oldest daughter lives on her own (she’s 26), but my two younger ones still live at home (ages 20 and 17). My son works, but found college not to be for him right now and my daughter is a senior in high school doing Online Learning Academy through her regular high school so that at least she has teachers she’s already familiar with and contact with kids she’s known from pre-Covid school days during school through a Zoom like meeting situation. It’s different, to be sure, but we’re all doing pretty good with the changes.

    I love my home, too. So, being here isn’t a problem. Definitely not loving wearing masks when I go to the grocery or wherever, but they protect other people and I’m all in for doing what I can to help my community try to get through this rough time. So, here’s to hoping a vaccine is found and that we can all find some more normal soon! 🙂

  6. Welcome Back! Beautifully written as usual! Love the pink! Love the metaphor at the end! So funny!

  7. Love it. I like jewel colours on soft furnishings but prefer a limited number of colour changes in my home.

  8. Stunning! Did you do it yourself?
    I love pink too. I’ve got Alhambra Stone from Craig & Rose in my bedroom. It’s a lovely warm colour, dare I say it, verging on peach. It’s on the ceiling as well as that slopes downwards and it would look strange being a different colour. The rest of the place is mainly white though although I do have sage green kitchen cabinets.

  9. It’s a triumph Kate!
    But I will never know how you manage with a just single sink in your kitchen?
    A double sink (they come in all sizes), is indispensable to the way I work.

  10. Hi Kate, I love this! I’m looking to replace my ugly kitchen radiator and the heating guys advised not to go with the cast iron beauties (something to do with reduced output). Your radiator looks great here and would seem to not have the output problems: Can you please let me know where your radiator is from and whether you’d recommend it? Many thanks!

  11. I painted my kitchen pink during lockdown too! It’s Middleton Pink from F&B which looked really barbie pink on the colour card but actually with white gloss cabinets and in a not-very-well-lit part of my house looks great and has really lifted my mood. 🙂

  12. Hi Kate. Looks beautiful. I love seeing the evolution of colour in your house and your refreshing honesty when it doesn’t work!
    Have you also painted the area around your table or has that part remained white?

      1. Thanks! Have you managed to sneak the pink tap in yet? That bit of last week’s podcast really made me laugh.

  13. I admire your energy to paint. It’s a task I don’t like at all. To much preparation before hand to look professional. Do you have any suggestions to make the paint job more palatable?

  14. Erm, Kate….your ceiling is still white! Now, what are you always saying to us about being brave and going for it on the fifth wall? Love the colour combo.

    1. I HEAR you. However, I live with a man who was really quite cross the first time I painted the radiators in the bedroom and who took a lot of convincing when I painted the doors and skirtings to match the wall in the sitting room – although yesterday I heard him insisting on it to a friend – so when I say it has taken me two years to get the walls all pink I think we can all agree that a pink ceiling may be a stretch too far. For now. However, that is part of my reasoning behind white floors – matches the ceilings. If we ever get his dream of parquet flooring then watch out for the ceilings! And I do already have a gold ceiling and a tin ceiling so I have gone for it on the fifth wall in other rooms!

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