Design tips

Decorating with pink

2 October 2023

Pink has always been one of my favourite colours to work with. When it comes to adding elegance, warm and charm to your home, few colours can match the timeless appeal of pink. From the soft blush tones that evoke feels of calm to more vibrant raspberries, pink has the power to transform any room into a welcoming comforting space.

In my article I set out some simple tips on where to get started with pink.

Choosing the right shade

Selecting the right pink for your home can be overwhelming and it’s easier to go wrong than you might think! You need to consider the following aspects.

Firstly, consider the feel you would like to create. Each shade has its own emotional impact. Light pinks create a sense of calm making them suitable for bedrooms in particular. Bright and intense pinks, such as raspberry, are more energetic and I normally reserve just for accents.

Then think about the room size. I think light pinks are perfect in smaller rooms creating an illusion of space. I would always choose a light pink over a neutral in a small dimly lit bedroom.

In larger rooms you need to be more careful with the bolder pinks and I would recommend balancing with a complimentary colour (such as soft blue) to avoid pink overwhelm! Or use a neutral on the walls and pink on the fabrics.

Next, consider the lighting in the room. The amount of light a room receives makes a huge difference to how a pink shade appears. Natural light softens the colour whilst artificial light enhances the vibrancy. If you space lacks natural light, consider lighter pink shades.

Finally, and in my opinion the most important point is to consider the undertone. I will expand more on this in the next section as it’s so important!

Consider undertones

Pink, like grey, can sometimes be hard to get right. What you need to consider is the undertones, which in my opinion broadly break down into three main categories. There are more but whenever I am considering which pink to choose, I think about it in this way!

Pinks with a brown undertone – these are the easiest pinks to use as have a dusky muted undertone with brown pigments. They work perfectly in old houses with brown beams as compliment their colour. They also react the least to light changes or cold light which can change the colours of other pinks. My favourite dusky pink is Desert Rose by Paint and Paper Library which looks perfect in all lights. It is my failsafe Go To pink.

Pinks with a peach undertone – these pinks are beautiful and warm and can sometimes have a slight peach undertone. I would describe these as the most feminine pinks and a more “definite” pink than a colour like Desert Rose. My favourite blush pink is Setting Plaster by Farrow and Ball.

Pinks with a grey undertone – these are the coolest pinks but can also be the most sophisticated. The key here is the light. If you use them in dimly light north facing rooms, they can look distinctly lavender or even edging on mauve. However, if you choose them for the right room, they can look beautiful. My favourite pinks in this category are China Clay Dark by Little Greene and Peachblossom Light by Little Greene. But this is definitely a colour that needs to be used carefully and combined with another colour to tone down the mauve. I also love deeper versions of these pinks such as Blush by Little Greene.

Of course, there are other pinks such as corals and raspberries, but I tend to reserve those for accents in homes where a client wants to introduce a happy feel into a room.

How to use pink as the dominant colour in a room

Using pink as the dominant colour can look so beautiful but it relies on carefully using different shades and incorporating texture.  Too much of one shade can overwhelm a space so the key is finding the right balance between the shades and layering the room. Consider using lighter and darker tones and introduce some neutral colour such as beige or grey to temper the pink. Too much of the same shade and same textures and a room will fall really flat.

In this living room we created a welcoming and inviting atmosphere by using Peach Blossom Light by Little Greene on the walls. We balanced it with other pinks (both lighter and darker) on the upholstery and cushions.  I incorporated texture with subtle two linens on the sofa and a herringbone weave on the ottoman. We also incorporated a neutral botanical patterned curtain to add balance. It’s the layering in these kinds of rooms that really makes it work.

Using pink with other colours

Pink pairs beautifully with other colours. My top favourite pairings are pale blue, pale aqua and sage green. All of these pairings create a calm atmosphere in a room.

Pink and green is a classic colour combination that offers a fresh and balanced contrast. Pale pink and soft green can create a calming and nature inspired atmosphere in bedrooms. In this bedroom I used Setting Plaster by Farrow and Ball on the walls, which works perfectly in this very badly lit small room. I combined with a sage green headboard and bought all the other colours together in the curtain print.

Another way to combine pink and green is to paint the walls in a sage green and bring the pink through in the fabrics. In this bedroom we incorporated a deeper shade of pink in the fabrics to add warmth to work with the paint colour on the walls. I used my favourite muted green from Farrow and Ball called Mizzle.  The beautiful headboard fabric pulls together the whole room, with both light and darker pink shades, as well as the soft green.

modern country home bed light on

Pairing pink with shades of blue is another way to create a serene feel. This combination is perfect for relaxed yet elegant living rooms. In this beautiful drawing room, we used pale aqua blue as the dominant colour as used pink as the accent. Using a blush pink on the ottoman and cushions added a feminine touch without overwhelming the room. I like to use the duskiest of pinks in linen or velvet to create softness and a sense of comfort.

I also love using pink and blue in bedrooms too, using the pink to warm up the blue to stop the room feeling too cold. In this bedroom we kept the walls as neutral, to let the beams in the room shine. Then added atmosphere and warmth with the fabrics on the headboard and cushions. The choice of a deeper, smokey blue in this room added a more sophisticated feel.

Using pink in kitchens

I felt this deserved its own section as this can be a difficult room to get right! I adore pink in kitchens and it can be used creatively to add warmth. To balance the pink pair it with quartz or marble countertops and incorporate natural materials such as wood. This kitchen by Middleton Bespoke is the perfect example. The cabinets themselves are a neutral paint with only the slightest undertone of pink. Then the walls in pink perfectly compliment that shade.

lisa pink kitchen interior design 2

Another combination I love is pink with black or very deep smokey blue cabinets. In this beautiful kitchen the client’s original brief was to pick a neutral that would work with the cabinet colour they had already chosen. The room was so dark and badly lit that I was worried that a neutral would look very drab. Instead, we chose China Clay Dark by Little Greene, which when combined with the dark blue/black had a lovely, sophisticated feel. On the windows we choose neutral chunky linens to work with the other chalky natural textures in the room.

If you are considering decorating with pink, I hope these tips and projects have inspired you. Do get in contact if you would like help designing your home.