Peony Pink Peony Pink

In many parts of the United States, May is the month of peonies, with perennial beds just beginning to spill forth the blushing, generously frothy flowers.

This shade is just a few shades warmer than a pale pink, but is considerably more subtle than a hot pink. Where a hot pink cries out for attention, demanding that all heads in the room turn to it, peony pink is softer, and allows the viewer to discover it slowly. Peony pink is like a shy yet mischievous girl, peeking out from behind a parasol for a momentary glance.

In this first photo we see Peony Pink put to use in a pale room based in pastel tones. This room could easily be a seaside cottage, as it has incorporated the shades of the seaside at dawn or dusk with its abundance of pale lavenders, soft blues, and clean whites. You can see that the pink in this room is, in fact, not the predominant color, and this is one reason this room works so well. Too much pink and the feeling of the seaside would be lost here.

As it is, you can see the peony pink only in the lampshade by the small desk, in the cushion on the rocking chair, and picked up a bit in the painting over the sofa. This bit of peony pink enhances the soft, feminine feeling of the room.

However, peony pink isn't just for feminizing a room, or for creating a beach-side mood.

In this second photograph, we see peony pink used in a more formal setting, even though this setting is also more rustic.

Here, the floors are white-washed, giving them an antiqued, worn feeling. In addition, the lack of baseboard molding furthers the unfinished feeling of the hallway.

The tall door, and the tall window with long, simple drapes, contributes to a feeling of elegance without being fussy. Notice that the only intricate patterns here are in the carving above the door and in the edge of the side table in the dining room; other than that, all the lines are simple and unadorned.

But more importantly, note how the color is used in this room, and how different this palette is than that of the previous photo. Here, the background in both the hallway and dining room is off-white, a blend of creams and whites and eggshell.

The decorator of this room has used this palette of various neutrals to create a background against which any color at all is sure to stand out. Hence, the armoire in the hall, the side table and dining table in the dining room, the shade on the lamp on that side table, and the pink Parsons chairs, get the attention of the viewer, without being too bright, and certainly staying well clear of being flashy or gaudy.

The use of Peony Pink in this room is the perfect choice, as it brightens up the off-whites, and yet it isn't too far over in the spectrum of color from the pale neutrals.

Peony Pink is pale enough that you could use it for a wall, with a cream or eggshell trim, but remember that if you do, this color will certainly dominate the room. Peony Pink may be better just to give enough of a spot of color as to act as a reminder of spring's ever-replenishing promise.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design

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