Home design: Think pink, ‘a very joyful and energetic colour’

Home design: Think pink, ‘a very joyful and energetic colour’

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Joyful, energetic, warm, fun, friendly, full of life. Those are some of the words that designer Kate Austin uses to describe the colour pink.

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“I absolutely adore a vibrant hot pink. I love pink because it’s a very joyful and energetic colour. It brightens any room – like a big bunch of bright pink peonies or tulips – and is a huge mood lifter,” says Austin, the artist whose original prints are the cornerstone of Kate Austin Designs. The brand creates women’s fashions and home accessories.

Austin has had a hot pink kitchen table for the past decade and still loves it. Hot pink can be found in the sun and sky at dawn and dusk and it’s the colour of so many flowers, she reminds. “It’s such a warm and inviting colour full of life,” she says. “I have a small Toronto garden with about 30 rosebushes all crammed together in different shades of pink…I love how pink glows and radiates such a fun, friendly vibe.”

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Six years ago, the Pantone Institute crowned Rose Quartz, a gentle rose tone, one of its colours of the year, along with a cool and tranquil blue. In 2020, Benjamin Moore named First Light its colour of the year – the first time the paint giant bestowed the coveted title on a pink hue. “It symbolizes an upbeat and hopeful start to the next 10 years,” it said at the time.

Years later, pink is still on trend. “We’re certainly seeing a lot of pink in fashion and in the springtime, we always see pinks and pastels but pink specifically has been really hot for interiors for some time,” says Benjamin Moore Canada colour consultant Sharon Grech.

This room features a light pink ottoman, a pink padded dining chair and pink tassel pillow.
This room features a light pink ottoman, a pink padded dining chair and pink tassel pillow. Photo by Homesense photograph


She’s especially excited to see pink being used as a neutral. “We’re so used to seeing a whole home in white, grey or some variation of those colours so it’s nice to see how pink works as a neutral. Seeing it as a full-on backdrop shows how it works with the woods and metals that we’re using in our interiors, as well as black and so many other colours. That’s the secret to a good neutral: it plays well with other colours.”

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As an offspring of red, pink contains some of red’s characteristics, albeit sometimes in a subtler manner. “The emotional aspects of pink and its attributes are quite diverse,” says Jane Boddy, a creative contributor with the Pantone Institute. “While soft and gentle lighter pink tones display a delicate and tender touch and fragrant floral pinks promote well-being, sweet candy pinks are imbued with a more playful nature and high-spirited hot pink hues energize and uplift.”

Grech encourages you to consider the intensity of its chorma – a quality of colour that combines hue and saturation – when choosing a pink. “It has a of versatility and can be from a whisper to a scream,” she says. Blush can set the background, for instance, while fuschia and earthy clay tones create a “nice energy” when used as accents.

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“While historically you might have looked the pinks as very feminine/girly, today we think of pinks as modern,” says Boddy. She describes the “slightly aloof colour” as “both feminine and masculine, modern and playful, refined and expressive” and says updated pinks are clean and fresh and have a tiny trace of lilac or blue.

Grech agrees. “We once had really strong associations with colour but I think those have really broken over the past 20 years in a wonderful way so we can think of colour as a form of self expression but not so much as just a label…Pink has become the poster child for gender neutrality.”

Kate Austin Design’s spring home collection features tulip pink.
Kate Austin Design’s spring home collection features tulip pink. Photo by Esther Hollywood photograph

How to use pink in your home

Thinking pink? Here are some of the ways Benjamin Moore suggests incorporating the flattering colour into your home:

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  • Brighter, sweeter pink paint colours work well as accents or in rooms with plenty of natural lighting. More muted, pale pink hues are great for entire rooms.
  • Pink walls in living rooms are both comforting and sophisticated. Pink is a popular choice for bedrooms and bathrooms. Soft pink paint colours offer a refreshing alternative to white ceilings, adding a design edge to a room’s fifth wall.’
  • Complementary’ colours is the term for hues that sit opposite of each other on the colour wheel. When thinking of pink complementary colours, look to the green colour family. Pair a blush pink with a grounded green for beautiful balance, for instance. Pink also works well with cool greys and warm taupes.

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