Blush: the hue of 2016.
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