We can’t always change everything from top to bottom in our homes. There are some finishes we have to live with for a while. This reader’s wall-to-wall pink carpet is causing a decorating roadblock. But, can she really make her bedroom look less like it belongs in a Molly Ringwald movie from the 80s?
The answer is yes! And I have a few decorating tips up my sleeve to share.
When this question landed in my inbox I realized it would answer soooo many other decorating dilemmas my lovely readers have all wrapped up in this impossible pink carpet.
“One of the biggest challenges I am hoping to take on is our master bedroom. It is enormous, faces northeast, and still has the original, “dusty rose” carpet, among other challenges. I really want to replace the carpet. In an ideal world I’d put in hardwood, but a) price (especially now) and b) my husband really loves carpet, and I’d rather fight that battle in other common spaces of the house rather than the bedroom.
Plus, we have a lot of wood furniture and I think would compete with the floors. I’d like to do something very neutral on the floor, but I’m really torn. I love color and this is a big room. And we’ll need to figure out what color to paint the walls, too.
Up to now, I have been trying to keep anything new we get (bedspreads, ottoman) from competing with the pink and from drawing it out more. But I know I need to think bigger and I’m frankly overwhelmed by the scale and list of to-dos in the room. Any advice on where to begin?”
It’s a mistake to ignore a fixed colour, even if you don’t love it
Here’s the number one mistake she is making:
She’s completely ignoring the pink carpet. There is not a stitch of pink in this room because yes, my lovely reader, if you have this much of any bossy colour, YOU CANNOT IGNORE IT.
You must embrace it like the long lost love of your life.
Know when to make the best of a colour you can’t change
And I agree with my reader. The main rooms of your home, the ones you LIVE IN all day long, should be the first priority. After all, that’s where you spend most of your hours.
Eventually, the carpet should be replaced with a creamy pale green beige or green beige complex cream one for versatility.
But for now, this carpet is definitely not mission impossible. I think you could have fun with it.
With some effort of course. And by paying some attention to the other elephant in the room.
The real decorating colour dilemma
The orange and red traditional furniture in combination with the pink carpet is the real issue in this room.
First, we need to address all the orange and red furniture. It definitely makes the carpet feel like 1985.
When furniture is a saturated orange, cherry or burgundy wood tone, it’s best to treat it as an accent colour and repeat it. These rich and formal stains are simply not as neutral as natural wood tones.
How to make pink carpet look less dated
When I searched ‘wall-to-wall pink carpet’ on Pinterest, I was not surprised to find examples for this post.
Because pink and even (gasp) forest green and burgundy are back again from the 80s.
Hot tip: if you are struggling with decorating around a bossy element in your house. Search for it online to find out how other people are decorating around it.
You’ll notice the best-decorated rooms are ones where the offending colour is being repeated.
If you’ve been living with something dated like my reader’s pink carpet for many years, I understand YOU’RE SICK OF IT. But I would assert that you’re tired of it because you haven’t considered how you could make it look much fresher (and in this case, than the tired, dated, dusty rose from the 80s).
And, if you tried to re-decorate this room 10 years ago, you would have had trouble finding ‘off the shelf’ pink to repeat your carpet. But now this shade is widely available. Colours do have their moment in the spotlight just like neutrals do.
Here is a dusty rose carpet looking very current and intentional (below). The room has a lot of white, and to really make this pink carpet work, I think it still needs even more pink accents, but you get the idea.
However, it will be nearly impossible to get a fresh modern look like this with all the traditional orange furniture.
How to decorate with pink and orange
Pink and orange? The real challenge in my reader’s room is the combination of the furniture and the carpet. The furniture ranges from orange to red. While it would help to paint the mismatched end tables white, you still have two dressers that are different colours.
In this inspiration photo (below) the orange wood trim is being repeated in the pillows. And the pink carpet is not repeated in the space at all. The point here is the orange trim would look even more wrong WITHOUT the pillows.
So while this is better, it’s not fabulous yet.
Pale grey makes pink look current
The antique vibe of your orange and red furniture also makes soft grey another great colour for cooling down and modernizing the pink carpet. It’s probably not your best option but for the sake of generating ideas, light grey does help cool down the orange and pink in terms of colour. This current look in the room below is an example of that.
In my opinion, they should have repeated the pink in this room above. Mind you, this image is not a snapshot of the entire room. Again, the casual solid grey duvet and drapes and the orange end table are very modern, giving it a whole different minimal and relaxed feel that won’t work as well with your formal red and orange furnishings.
But you could cool down the walls to a pale violet grey greige that won’t compete with the pink carpet as much as, in comparison to the much-too-yellow creamy wall colour currently on your walls.
Is there a way to keep the traditional orange and red furniture from dragging the dusty rose carpet back to the 80s?
Get my curated list of neutrals including whites, greiges and complex creams in my White is Complicated ebook here.
The right pattern can create colour magic
The main thing is, you need a strong pattern to pull together the orange and burgundy wood tones and the cooler pink.
Pattern is what is needed with the traditional look to pull in the style of the furniture, rather than trying to colour block in solids as seen in the modern minimal style of most of the rooms above.
So you’re right, thinking bigger is the right idea. And in this case it means embracing the right pattern to pull the room together.
I found this orange, burgundy and pink duvet with a modern floral pattern that gives a nod to the traditional in its intricacy and richness. It could be a stripe or a check if floral is not your thing. But remember, the pattern should have both the pink and the orange, and ideally the deep burgundy red in it. That’s a pretty specific combination of colours.
The burgundy lamps (seen on the nightstands) relate to both the duvet and the cherry wood tones. Adding an updated lantern chandelier is another detail that would help make this room much more current.
Here’s another playful pattern that repeats the dusty rose and orange in the room (below). But again, it’s a more Mid Century pop kind of pattern that would work better with mid-century modern furniture in addition to the pink carpet. I think the pattern should be a bit more traditional than this.
Pink is trending
As I said, it’s a good time to have to work with a pink carpet. Because the colour is trending it’s easy to find coordinated pink decor. If we didn’t have all the orange furniture we could create a pink and navy colour scheme:
Or pink and deep green:
But as it is, the orange and red wood tones need to be treated as an accent colour in your room.
Just like the pink carpet, these wood tones can’t be ignored. So it’s really that you already have two (actually three with the range of orange and red pieces) bossy colours to work with. The challenge is in finding a pattern you like that ties them together.
The best way to see how this works is by creating a mood board with your existing pieces and then adding patterns to the mood board to see how they work. I show you exactly how to do this in my Shop Online with Colour Confidence course. Enroll now and get immediate access to this online training!
So as you can see, this pink carpet (on its own) is not as bossy as you thought. But anything this big that you pretend is not even there definitely becomes the elephant in the room in so many ways.
Old colours can definitely become new again. It just takes some imagination and creativity.
If you have an Ask Maria question, clean up your room, take photos in good natural light (no lights) and email me here. Please note, questions WITHOUT photos will NOT be considered.
And make sure you’re subscribed to the blog because you never know when your question will be the one that gets featured! 😉
Need more decorating help?
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Devasting BC floods
Terreeia and I are still traveling but we wanted to thank everyone who reached out to us when our little community was flooded this week. It looks like our house took on some water, but the damage is minimal. 🙏
Yarrow has been downgraded to an evacuation order, but there are still so many who need help right now. 💔 The Canadian Red Cross is working to help people in and around the affected areas. If you want to help, please click here.