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Apart from roses, nothing says Valentine’s Day quite like decorating with the color pink. At the same time there’s nothing quite like that hue’s ubiquity and kitschy misuse to set your teeth on edge. Is there a way to rescue pink and reclaim its romantic femininity? The answer is a definite yes.
Northern European designers and decorators have an under-appreciated facility with all pastels and are unafraid of the pink shades many of us would dismiss as clichéd. While their interiors usually share a crisp white backdrop, it’s the introduction of subtle pastels that make them a calming refuge from the unremittingly bleak weather that blankets the region through the long winters.
Who wouldn’t want to spend hours—and perhaps a romantic dinner—at this gathering table surrounded by what amounts to a concerto in pink from the pale tint of the walls to the stunning contemporary graphic over the crisp fire surround. Even the flowers and accessories echo the tonal theme, which pairs beautifully with the stark whites and earthy browns of the other pieces. The heart-shaped cut-out in the mantel is a lovely Valentine’s Day reminder, but it actually was a common decorative touch during the English and Belgian arts and crafts movements at the turn of the last century. No clichés in this beautiful room (above).
Paired with a modern graphic, as it is in this heart-lifting table cloth, pink actually can be a soothing touch of gentle beauty. At the same time, a slightly hotter pink tone—as in the votive candle on the condiment tray can add just the right note of cheerful punch. Who knew that girlhood’s favorite color could play such a versatile role in a grown-up woman’s space?
Pink turns out to be a color of many moods, as you can see here. The wallpaper strikes a delicate, almost ethereal mood with its sketchy repeat of conventionalized natural leaves and acorns, while the pink fabric-covered pillows—a great way to bring a feminine touch to any home decor all year long—easily pair with the rustic stool. What’s really amazing is how both pinks help set off the vintage tiles on the hearth.
Pink is a hue for many moods and, in these examples, it shows off its capacity to bring a touch of whimsy that will produce smiles even in gray February. Pink roses are an elegant counterpoint to the happy ceramic boot with its vintage glaze, but an array of printed fabrics in a variety of tones gives the whole vignette a youthful richness. The lesson here is not to fear mixing and matching, whether on a table or console or against a kitchen wall.
Photos by Yvonne Eijkenduijn of the blog Yvestown. Dutch-born designer is the mistress of the light-hearted pastel gesture.