Goooooooood Morning everyone and Happy Monday – or whatever time or day you are choosing to read this. I thought we would have a little look around the happy neutral that is soft pink today as it’s the most perfect background colour that you can tone down or punch up depending on your mood. It’s friends with everything else on the colour spectrum from dark orange and bitter chocolate to all the greens and and yellows. It’s also very adaptable so you can easily pick a shade that isn’t too strongly pink but just creates a warm background shade. Think of it as the new white.
First up is this maximalist room by the rug designer Wendy Morrison. That woke you up didn’t it! Now this will be too much for many of you, it’s probably a little too much for me if I’m honest, but, that said, the colours are all soft and tonal and while many of us would choose to go either leopard OR zebra, this is still a spectacular room. Wendy worked in fashion before moving across to rugs, so she is bound to be a little bolder than the rest of us. However, the colours all work from the green of the plants, to the green in the rug and the fringing on the sofa, which is also picked up by the pink fringing on the pendant lamp.
The plants are large and sufficiently jungly to work with the jungle animal theme and gold storks on the mantelpiece are symmetrical (if not identical twins) which is a good way to induce a feeling of calm. The brain likes symmetry so if you tend towards a maximalist style but find that it doesn’t quite make you as relaxed as you would like, try building up the look in pairs and that will help. Once you start to look closely at this image you can see that Wendy has a pair of gold framed doors either side of the mantelpiece, the plants mirror each other (and actually there is a third black and white palm between the two zebras on the rug) so while the designs are punchy, the overall look has been calmed with a restricted colour palette of soft tonal shades and objects working in pairs.
Now to the wonderful kitchen of Beth Dadswell, whose home featured on Grand Designs and who runs the interior design firm Imperfect Interiors. Although, I have to say I find this very perfect indeed. Once again the walls are a soft pale pink but the colour palette is otherwise minimal – consisting of cream, black and grey with natural wood and sisal rugs to warm it all up. This is a room that would work if the background colour was a more traditional white but using pink gives it instantly more character and warmth and you could build up the colours if you felt like it.
Here, rather than keep the pink as a background colour so you hardly notice it, the designer Rose Uniacke has added a burgundy table and a softly pink striped rug to the scheme to layer up the tones. In fact, if I’m being entirely honest I’m not sure the wall is pink but the idea is that the dark pink table is reflecting against the wall and building the sense of warmth. This is a great way to do subtle decor as you can keep the walls pale – in any colour you like – and then add punches of the same shade in darker to bring drama. Again, it’s restful because the colours are variants of of the same thing but it makes a statement. Which is always a good idea. A statement doesn’t have to be shouted after all, it can be just quite firmly said, if you see what I mean.
Here’s another example by Rebecca Wakefield, which I have shown you before but it makes the point here very well. A similar colour scheme to Beth’s kitchen above but the dark red bench cushion does the same trick as the Rose table above. Another trick, if you had a modern or cheap table would be to paint it, and the chairs, in a deep burgundy to bring out the colour of the walls.
This is another idea you can use in so many different ways. The walls in Bianca’s house aren’t pink but painting this giant pink frame around the gallery wall gives it focus and makes it even stronger as a decorative device. The pink will also reflect out into the room and makes the pictures stand out more. It also works if you have a favourite picture that’s too small for the spot you want to hang it in. Just pick a complementary colour and create a frame around it. It goes without saying this can be any colour you like but we are talking about pink today. I might do something similar in my office above the fireplace, which currently has a couple of pictures propped up on it. It’s painted burgundy (the walls are dark pink) and I think I might create a matching burgundy rectangle and hang a picture in the middle. It is, for the sake of argument, a modern version of the feature wall – painting a feature ON a wall rather than making the whole wall the feature. You can see below. I think it might look rather good and would definitely bring a bit more presence to this part of the room.
Finally, another example of layering paint shades this time with the darker version on the ceiling. Here the colours are all very soft and there is no pattern to speak of. These pink walls are in complete contrast to Wendy’s at the top but hopefully this has been useful in showing you, not just that pink is a neutral but how it can replace traditional white in a scheme and create so many different looks depending on how you dress the rest of the room from maximalist print and pattern to layers of the same colour all over.
That’s all for today. Back tomorrow with the first of the Christmas gift guides. As usual I will be tackling them room by room and we will start with the kitchen. Not least because the biggest item on my own wish list is for that room and I need The Mad Husband to see in plenty of time….
PS: I’m never quite sure how big the crossover between Instagram and the blog is but for those readers who don’t do instagram, I wanted to tell you – and actually specifically you my blog readers – that we won three awards last week. Firstly The Good Web Guide which recognised both commercial websites and blogs in related categories. The blog won in its home and garden category and also took the overall blog of the year award. Then, on Friday, at the Vuelio online influence awards, I was surprised and honoured to be inducted into the new Hall of Fame ( I think that means they don’t want me to win my category any more!) which was an incredible recognition, not just of the work that has gone into this site over the last eight years but also of your loyalty and continued support day in and day out. Thank you all so much. Without you there would be no blog and there would be no trophies. I am thrilled and grateful for your engagement and support XK