Have you walked down the girly aisle of a toy store lately? Pink is everywhere. Assaulting the senses via toy boxes, promotional posters — even the display itself is saturated in shades from fuchsia to bubblegum. Not only toys, but girls’ room decor gives preference to the hue.
That leads to a lot of girls’ rooms looking like they’ve been — to borrow an expression from Sally Field’s character in Steel Magnolias — hosed down with Pepto-Bismol. Perhaps it’s their choice, or perhaps it’s because kids and parents aren’t confident to explore other options. But if you’re planning a girls’ bedroom makeover, think about ditching the pink for one of these more fun, and more 21st-century, themes.
- Save the wall color for last. One of the biggest mistakes people make is picking a wall color first, then struggling to find key components to go with it, says designer Suzette Sherman, who designed this room for a sixth grader named Madison.
“It’s always best to start with the most constraints,” she says. This could be an area rug, bedding or drapery material. For this project, it was the striped orange, yellow, black and pink comforter. Sherman showed it to her sixth-grade client, who loved it.
Having put comforter selection to rest, she then presented Madison with several fabric choices for the window seat. To her father’s and Sherman’s surprise, Madison picked the most unusual, least conservative fabric, a mostly orange and white print. The orange moon on her bedside table was already hers, so in picking up color clues, Sherman noticed Madison clearly loves orange.
Wall color came last. Sherman pulled together an array of orange paint samples for Madison to decide on. She picked the brightest one. “It goes to show you that if you allow a child to be a part of the process, they may surprise you,” Sherman says.
Wall paint: Sharp Cheddar, Benjamin Moore; duvet: Room & Board
Involving kids in the selection is important, because they get to show their personality in their bedroom design, and that personality sometimes, but not always, excludes pink. “I think if a child is given the option, they will often select a different color than the typical pink for a girl or blue for a boy,” Sherman says.
Here, light green walls (similar to Whales Green from Benjamin Moore) add a natural freshness and vibrancy.
- Get color inspiration from something unrelated. Designer Kenneth Brown designed this bedroom for two sisters, ages 9 and 11. Finding common ground for the girls was proving challenging, and Brown found that their parents’ input was actually holding the girls back from expressing what they really wanted. “So Mom and Dad threw in the towel and allowed me to guide the girls down a path that would let them express themselves,” he says.
Brown knew the girls loved fashion, so he asked them to pick four dresses that they loved. He pulled colors from the dresses to formulate this color palette of bright blue, yellow, purple, red and black.
This preteen girl’s room got inspiration from something really unexpected — potholders! She makes them as a hobby and often uses blue and green, which informed her bedroom design, including the 7-foot-long drapery panels that mimic her potholders.
- Find femininity in shape, pattern and texture. Western culture associates the color pink with femininity. But you can convey the same quality by using curves and delicate patterns.
Deborah Houston designed this curvy headboard and upholstered it in a fabric with a dainty geometric pattern. The bergère, with its rounded back and slender legs, also does the trick, creating an elegant and soft bedroom for a young girl — with barely a trace of pink.
Bed: West Elm (with custom bolster added); headboard and curtain fabric: Trina Turk; wallpaper: China Seas, San Marco
- Skip the delicate and go bold. Of course, a girls’ room doesn’t need to have a feminine vibe at all. This teen’s room is bold and elegant, with punchy yellow walls and classic black and white wallpaper and bedding.
- If you must use pink, add just a touch. Pink doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Use it in small doses, like this fuchsia chair in a swank teen’s bedroom. It can add a spot of brightness without overpowering the room.
Headboard: custom made with Elitis fabric by Applegate Tran
- To tone down a mostly pink room, use a heavy dose of another accent color. If you already have a pink bedroom — maybe inherited in a move — that you want to tone down easily, Sherman suggests adding a good dose of another accent color. It’s a good way to move a pink room away from the “standard saccharin experience,” she says. This bedroom’s vibrant pink is nicely tempered by the deep, rich brown accent color.
Rug: Bed Bath & Beyond
By: Karen Egly-Thompson (Houzz)
Suzette Sherman Design, original photo on Houzz