Thursday, September 20

Feminine Colors in Decorating: Yay or Nay?

When we went shopping last Saturday, I came across a book by April Cornell entitled Decorating with Color at Marshall's. Since I'm a fan of everything April Cornell and I love to decorate, this book came home with us!

While reading through it though, I was interested to read the following under a section entitled Pastel Palettes:

"For and innocent and delicate feel, for a very special event like a wedding picnic or garden party, try using soft pastels. Mint green, baby pink, and lavender with a strong grounding of white are as delicate and whimsical as a bride's bouquet... A delicate pastel palette can be used in a young girl's room or a nursery. I would use it reluctantly in a master bedroom or a public space; it is too feminine and limiting."

What do you think of this?

Personally, the colors we decorate with are brown (wood), white, violet, lavender, dusty blues, a little bit of black, etc. Though I definitely don't cover our house in frou-frou girly things, I see no problem with a good balance of masculine and feminine... even when the feminine part mainly manifests itself in colors and textures, while the masculine is mostly furniture.

In some cases, the primary color combinations and floral patterns (see her company's website for some examples) that are pictured in this book seem more feminine to me that the idea of using pastel colors.

I will try to post some pictures of things in our home that illustrate what I mean as far as our home goes tomorrow, but I am interested to know what you think about this topic.


Jamie Carin and Claudio Romano said...

I think it is all about personal taste. If you like the pastels and are happy with how they look then use them. Her tastes may not be the same as yours (I LOVE AC also btw).

My house has a good mix I think. My living room is painted a very pail pink and my couches are mint green and cream plaid with cranberry red accent pillows. Most everything else is wood.

Dining room is painted a bright yellow with a red floral rug (I LOVE the rug in my dining room)

Bedrooms are: Green (it was specifically called guacamole) with a pink and green quilt. Lavendar with an offwhite painted wood floor. And the back bedroom is also a nice yellow with offwhite carpeting.

Maybe not a lot of pastel but I consider my house very feminine!

You should do a series for everyone to post picturs of the main rooms of their home. I love seeeing how people decorate.

AmyG said...

I think it depends on what you and your husband like. Our bedroom, is more "feminine" with botanical prints, floral linens in green and cream and apple green walls. My husand is ok with this and likes it, as it looks "restful".

The main parts of the house are more neutral...The living room is navy blue with cream furniture and all sprts of antique americana accents. The kitchen and dining room came pre-decorated by previous owner and we liked it, so we kept it. French blue with pink and creamm accents in kitchen and cream walls in dining room with a matching (to kitchen) wall paper border at top of walls. the chandelier is painted french blue as well. All the wood-work is very dark, wich adds a msculine touch.

My hubby drew the line at a pink bathroom, when his mom and I painted it for a prank. It is now a carmel color.

His own "man" room, where he has a tv and his video games is a '50's type blue-ish color but most of that is covered by car and movie posters.

This is what works for us, but I think there isn't any wrong way to do it, as long as you both agree.

Tammy said...

Firstly, I believe that each woman should decorate with her husband's tastes in mind. Some men do not mind their wives decorating with more feminine touches, while others would strongly object to their bedrooms being lacy and frilly.

My husband has had no problems with the way I decorate. The only girly-girl room in the house is my sewing room. I painted the walls a soft pink, and there are filmy curtains on the windows. I LOVE this room...but there is NO WAY that I would decorate the whole house this way! I want my husband (and guests too!) to feel comfortable.

For the main rooms of the house I have chosen darker colors - there are certainly feminine touches in each room, but the colors lend themselves to less-fussy decorating.

So ultimately, my husband's comfort is the first and foremost concern. I *know* that he wouldn't like lace curtains in the living room (some men wouldn't care!), so I don't buy lace curtains. I *know* that he doesn't mind if I have a lace tablecloth on the dining room table, so I'm free to buy a lace table cloth! Isn't it kind of funny how people's likes and dislikes go? I knew a couple that the man didn't want flowers of any sort on anything. Their bedspread was gorgeous - it was striped in dark pretty colors which accented the dark woods of their bedroom set.

Well, this is turning into quite a long comment! I'll go now...oh, but I have to say that I loved going into the April Cornell store when we lived near a mall that had a store. I never bought anything, but the color combinations were just so stunning.

Tammy said...

LOL @ Amyg - I can't imagine painting a whole room for a prank!!! I hate painting! LOL

Anonymous said...

I live alone, so I decorate however makes me happy. :) That said, I tend to like more autumn tones than pastels, but I don't think the fact that certain colors are currently seen as "feminine" is a reason not to use them if you like them.

Anonymous said...

Our colors vary from room to room. Our living room has a dark turquoise wall to contrast the flat-screen tv on that wall. And we are actually painting our baby girl's room light blue- I guess that's pretty "unconventional". I am not a huge pastel person unless it applies to bedrooms, then I don't mind as much. But for the rest of the house, I prefer brighter colors with the contrast of subdued colors (tans, beige, etc).

AmyG said...


we have a very very very small bathroom. My MIL and I love to do stuff together--even paint! lol!! We had some left-over pink paint from previous owners and we made a bet on how long it would take hubby to notice that the bathroom was was a scream! We had planned to rennovate the bathroom anyhow, so it was no big deal and everyone laughed.


Anonymous said...

I think that the home should be pleasant and homey to ALL living there... My DH is a big guy- 6'8" and he'd both look and feel silly I think in a pastel room with frilly girlie things about ;) I tend toward sage greens, barn reds, butternut squash golds etc. myself... Not a fan of pastels.

To each their own- I don't think any hard and fast rules should apply in regard to decorating. ;)

nannykim said...

I think couples should go with colors that make them happy. My daughter has used some pastel colors in some of her rooms, but she is taking colors from an ocean theme. Some very soft blues (the palest you can go), mint green, and also some more brilliant yellow and a light green in another room. She had used some darker colors and they made her think of a child's golden book. The lighter colors made her husband and her feel much happier. I think go with the feelings you like to have in a room--we have some bright yellow in one room if you have looked at my posts; some paler greens and paler yellows and sea greens---the yellow makes us very happy and sunny in feeling; the green makes us feel peaceful the sea green makes us feel like the beach etc. So you use colors you can both like and live with...

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