Pretty in #MillennialPink

Sketch, London, England

Sketch, London, England

The world of social media has recently been flooded with inspirational (and aspirational) images boasting captions using the tag #MillennialPink. Instagram has been inundated with perfectly composed snaps of soft pink blooms and flowy peach dresses. Beyond florals and fashion, interiors boasting the new 'it' color have been feverishly posted. For example, 'Instagrammers' went crazy for the scheme of London's 'Sketch' restaurant. Those of you who are millennials are members of the generation which has currently catapulted this hue into online-stardom. But, sorry, young lovers of all things pink-with-a-slight-orange-undertone; millennials cannot brand this hue as their own. Before there was #PrettyInPink and #RoséAllDay, this color had a patron who created Instagram-worthy interiors nearly a century ago.

'Millennial Pink' in a 1920s English country house

Where professional interior design is concerned, this apricot-peony-salmon hue is not having its first bout of stardom in the world of home decoration. Nancy Lancaster, renowned self-appointed American decorator, was particularly keen on an apricot-pink tone when she decorated the Hall of her English country home, Kelmarsh, in the late 1920s. Ensuring that the paint color was just right was not as straightforward as picking a swatch and committing it to the room. The light from the windows was astutely factored in by one of Lancaster's decorative advisors, Mrs. Guy Bethel of Elden Ltd.

According to legend, after many color tests, Mrs. Bethel presented two final cards of paint samples to Mrs. Lancaster: labelled on the back of one was "this is the color you want" and the other was labeled "this is the color you use to get the color you want." Sure enough, the latter, although said to be looking like the color of a brown paper bag on the card sample, was the winning tone and in fact, when applied to the walls of the Hall, it was the perfect hue—what would be tagged today as Millennial Pink.

'Millennial Pink' in an award-winning film

A similar tone proved to be a scene-stealer in the 2014 film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, chosen as the dominant color for the hotel's facade as well as several of its interiors. With many award nominations and several notable wins for its design and production, this movie set featured a color that was, perhaps, the uncredited 'character' in the film, providing a wonderful juxtaposition of contemporary freshness with nostalgic whimsy. Although the story is set in the 1930s, the widespread success of the film may have indeed been the genesis of the now much adored Millennial Pink.

'Millennial Pink' in today's home

But how is it that this particular color is interpreted as the epitome of contemporary sophistication and not as juvenile or too precious, as pinks of previous times have been labelled? Broadly speaking, the thread of continuity is the inclusion of a grounding color, commonly black. When incorporated into the scheme of an interior, whether through flooring, furnishings, cabinetry or wall treatment, the anchoring effect achieved by a darker color immediately transforms an otherwise ethereal and fluffy room into one of innovation and confidence.

While not everyone might wish to paint their living room in the same apricot-pink as Nancy Lancaster's Hall at Kelmarsh or clad the exterior of their home in the cheeky blush-pink of The Grand Budapest Hotel, there are many ways in which one can incorporate the taste for the revival of the famed tone. Many areas in today's home can benefit from the mix of pink and black. The dimension of the scheme can be further increased by the incorporation of metal.

Lighting, hardware and fixtures all offer opportunities to add a layer of luxury to a space. When planning a new decor scheme, a scroll through these examples of color application and fixture selection will, hopefully, inspire the incorporation of this amazingly versatile hue. It is up to you whether or not you tag your new space as #MillennialPink!

millennial pink gallery


Links to Photos

NB: All fixtures are from Moen's website.

Sketch London:

Kelmarsh Hall:

Set of Grand Budapest Hotel