Give pink a chance – there’s a shade to suit every taste

Pink is a colour that comes with a lot of baggage: both good and bad. Some have memories of party dresses and advice5-1romantic teenage bedrooms, others associate it with feminine frippery. But it’s time for pink to step away from its stereotypes.

In decorating terms, it’s actually a relatively modern hue. In fact, pink and purple were first made synthetically in the 19th century. Pink, created by diluting the newly created synthetic red, was first used as a decorative option in the late 1800s.

Also relatively new is our association between pink and all things feminine. Look back a couple of centuries and things were entirely different. In the 1800s, blue was associated with the Virgin Mary. It was a serene and passive shade more appropriate to girls. Red, on the other hand, was an aggressive hue, reserved for manliness. As boys were a ‘dilution’ of men, they got landed with pink.

So if pink as a colour can evolve, why not our view of it? Give pink a chance, says colour consultant and interior decorator Sarah Kerr. Personally, she admits to being more into red, but she does find herself increasingly bewitched by hot pink mixed with limes and turquoise, and the idea of pink walls and opulent chandeliers, like you might find in a grand Italian bathroom. As New Zealanders, we’re very much addicted to our love of a neutral palette. Why not have some fun with pink? Behind closed doors of course.

“While I don’t blame you for keeping the kitchen and main bathroom neutral, for those who have the money, inclination and a joyful spirit, why not splash out?,” says Kerr. “An ensuite can become a secretive, shabby-chic statement in pink or lilac mosaic. Team with a chandelier and, if there’s room, a white leather chaise longue. Can’t you just imagine it?”

Wherever you look in the world for interior inspiration, you’ll find there’s a pink to match

  • Oriental ambience: Silks and sari fabrics often pair pinks with purples, tied together with a touch of gold. This colour combination will bring an Eastern feel into your home.
  • European sophistication: Fabrics with a Parisian feel are making a comeback. For the bedroom, pair them with a hint of brown for vintage romance.
  • New York Glamour: Pink doesn’t always mean pretty. Combine it with black and white animal prints for a strikingly modern feel.


  • Grandma had it right with her pastel-coloured kitchen. Brand new pink cabinetry may be a bit out there, but a new pink paint job on existing wooden doors means an instant ‘vintage’ makeover.
  • Major kitchen brands are embracing pink. SMEG refrigerators and dishwashers come in a delicious pastel shade while German manufacturer Poggenpohl has introduced elements of glossy berry cabinetry mixed with stainless steel into its range of luxury kitchens.
  • Don’t want to spend the big bucks? Spray-paint an old white fridge ice cream-pink for the perfect accessory in a 1950s-style kitchen.


  • A pink bedroom doesn’t have to be a solely feminine domain. You can get away with hot-pink flock floral pillowcases, if they’re down-played with white linen and dark timber furniture.
  • Mix it up when it comes to patterns. Team a pink floral with a striped design in pink and lilac.
  • Your little princess keen on a pastel boudoir? Give her a choice of pinks, lilacs and mint green, and if she insists on choosing a shade you