Blush: the hue of 2016.

The Weekend Australian - Life - - FOOD & DRINK - LAURA WHATE­LEY

If 2015 was all about gen­der flu­id­ity in Hol­ly­wood, 2016 marks its ar­rival in the world of wall cov­er­ings and soft fur­nish­ings.

Af­ter Pan­tone last month named girlie-pink Rose Quartz its colour of the year, along­side the cool baby blue of Seren­ity, in­te­rior de­sign­ers and buy­ers are tout­ing the more mas­cu­line and sub­tle shades of “blush” as the hip new hues for the north­ern spring. (Our ver­dict on Rose Quartz, de­scribed as “a per­sua­sive yet gen­tle tone, like a serene sun­set, flushed cheek or bud­ding flower” is that it is rather too lit­tle princess’s bed­room.)

“In many parts of the world we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a gen­der blur as it re­lates to fash­ion, which has in turn im­pacted colour trends in all ar­eas of de­sign,” says Leatrice Eise­man, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the US-based Pan­tone Color In­sti­tute. “This more uni­lat­eral ap­proach to colour is co­in­cid­ing with so­ci­etal move­ments to­ward gen­der equal­ity and flu­id­ity.”

Char­lotte Cosby, the cre­ative head at Bri­tish paint com­pany Far­row & Ball, says its se­lec­tion of blush-toned paints is prov­ing pop­u­lar as peo­ple look for a coloured neu­tral to use in their homes, of­ten along­side com­fort­able, fa­mil­iar grey.

Its Pink Ground paint has a large dose of yel­low pig­ment for the “soft­est, dusti­est blush of colour on the wall, cre­at­ing sooth­ing rooms with­out be­ing too sug­ary”. Set­ting Plas­ter is named af­ter the blush­ing walls in newly plas­tered houses, “def­i­nitely a pink in his­toric terms, but with an un­sur­passed gen­tle qual­ity to it be­cause of the in­clu­sion of yel­low pig­ment”.

Far­row & Ball’s new­est blush shade, Peignoir, is in­spired by the chif­fon gowns that Vic­to­rian women wore in their boudoirs — ro­man­tic, but not too sweet.

“Blush tones such as Pink Ground and Calamine are soft and sooth­ing, and make rooms feel pretty, soft-edged and ac­ces­si­ble,” Cosby says. “Pair­ing soft

pinks as a sub­tle neu­tral with richer tones will add a touch of glam­our to th­ese gen­tle shades ... Peignoir in­cludes a large dose of grey, mak­ing it feel serene but so­phis­ti­cated, and when used on the walls it creates ten­der but ul­ti­mately in­trigu­ing rooms.”

Jemma Jaques is brand man­ager of in­te­ri­ors com­pany Cox & Cox, which has fo­cused on blush for its spring-sum­mer 2016 col­lec­tion, in­clud­ing the Loire range. It has a very Marie An­toinette-style arm­chair and foot­stool up­hol­stered in a minky pink cot­ton vel­vet.

Jaques sees blush as a so­phis­ti­cated neu­tral and an easy way to add sub­tle colour: “In­te­rior de­sign­ers are mix­ing it with rose-gold or cop­per ac­ces­sories,” she says. “Blush pink equally looks at home with Scandi-in­spired in­te­ri­ors and is a per­fect match for blonde or grey-washed wood.”

Fur­ni­ture com­pany Barker and Stone­house’s new Vin­tage Blush col­lec­tion in­cludes shades of rose com­bined with cop­per, and tex­tures of vel­vet and worn wood.

Claire Hornby, a cre­ative stylist at Barker and Stone­house, says: “Pink can be cool and in­ter­est­ing, a fresh al­ter­na­tive to beige. “A del­i­cate blush painted on walls will help to re­flect light but will also ra­di­ate a soft warmth that will pre­vent a room feel­ing too cold. If you’re look­ing for a slightly quicker fix, an arm­chair in a gor­geous dusky vel­vet or cur­tains in a tac­tile linen will add soft­ness to a space.”

M&S’s Din­ton range in­cludes blush pink wooden din­ing chairs, while H&M Home has sev­eral blush items in its spring-sum­mer col

lec­tion, in­clud­ing vin­tage-in­spired cups and saucers and geo­met­ric print cush­ions.

Eve arm­chair from Cult, from $3020, cult­de­sign.com.au; pinks from H&M, right; Far­row & Ball’s Calamine, far left

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