What is “neutral”?

When we hear the word “neutral,” we tend to think of khaki pants and white shirts, eggshell walls and beige sofas. Boring? Well, neutral doesn’t have to be boring. The world of modern color, fashion and décor has helped carve a path for less “expected” neutrals. Fashion, for instance, has given us denim. It is the ultimate “goes-with-everything” neutral, despite the fact that it is blue. In the flower world, green is our go-to neutral. We can choose to enhance it or ignore it, but it is always present in our designs through leaves and stems.

Neutrals are what we make of them.

For everyone who is growing weary of the much sought-after color Millennial Pink, well … get over it. It is here to stay for quite a while. Like the houseguest who just won’t leave, Millennial Pink has gotten comfortable and settled in for the long haul. Pink has become a powerful new neutral in fashion and home décor. It works for everyone, every space and every accessory.

Why has pink become a neutral?

One reason is that there is no single exact hue. It varies between pale pink, beige-pink and peachy-pink tones. Millennial Pink is a broad name, so we look to its overall characteristics to give us a definition we can rely on: soft, muted, dusty, pastel, calming, soothing, and gentle varieties of pink. Another reason for its popularity is that it does have a somewhat 1980s throwback feel, which is a trend in itself. It’s not just for teens and twenty-somethings. It’s new and fresh to the millennial generation and nostalgic to other generations, who are embracing the color just as much as their younger counterparts. Those who remember Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink or pink Reebok high-top aerobic shoes are also drawn to Millennial Pink for its familiar and classic comfort.

Gender neutral

It is rare that a color breaks through traditional fashion boundaries and can be marketed to both women and men. We are in an era of gender neutrality, and this color is the perfect fit and is socially acceptable for all genders and sexual orientations. As we traveled through three airports in early April, we repeatedly saw various hues of pink show up on young millennial gents’ hoodies, shoes and t-shirts. Once you notice it, you can’t stop. It was everywhere, on everyone.

Most notable is the frequency of it showing up in every brand and style of footwear. Every major company manufacturing athletic shoes is totally on board with Millennial Pink in both its mens and womens lines.

Living pink

Today’s younger generations are blurring the line between what’s considered feminine or masculine on the color wheel. This is where Millennial Pink comes into play. From cosmetics to shoes and sofas to cellphones, Millennial Pink is an adaptable color that gives a modern vibe to any application.
You know a color is a big deal when tech takes notice. From rose-gold smartphones to laptops to blush cameras and headphones, the pink trend has taken hold of our USB-corded world. When it comes to living with color, millennials are not locked in to traditional neutrals like beiges, creams and whites for home interiors. We are seeing pink in vases, pillows, linens and almost every home accessory you can dream of. This includes Le Creuset cast-iron cookware, toasters, blenders and popcorn makers, all designed to fit the home of the modern millennial and anyone else who loves a pop of pink.

Aside from painting walls and accessories that can shift and change easily, pink is appearing in larger investment pieces of furniture such as sofas, chairs and lighting. Pink has become so synonymous with the latest trends in home décor that it has quickly become a much-desired “new neutral” that can belong in any space. Millennial Pink is such a versatile color that it can be incorporated into both contemporary and traditional interiors. It works on every level and mix of old and new pieces and for any lifestyle.

Mix it up

Now that we realize pink is here to stay for a while, what can we do to keep it fresh, modern and moving forward? The exciting part of discovering a neutral hue that blends with almost everything is imagining all the possibilities. This “new neutral” is amazing in that it combines easily with so many other colors. Because Millennial Pink is a range of pink-to-peach hues, it can fit into almost any palette.
Soft pastel color palettes are an obvious way to use blush pink, but even more intriguing is combining it with dark moody tones, bright bold reds and oranges, and shiny metallics.

Ask anyone in the wedding and event worlds how they feel about Millennial Pink, and they will surely roll their eyes. Weddings have definitely had their fill of “blush.” Event innovators are playing with mixing soft pink with other colors to expand blush’s reach. It’s too popular to take it away, so new pairings are created to keep it fresh. Look for navy and pink to be a popular combination along with bright, warm palettes with blush, poppy red, orange and yellow. Classic black, white and gray blend beautifully with the peachier side of Millennial Pink, as do all colors of metallics from golds to silvers to coppers. Be prepared for exciting contrasts of pairing pink with neon and all shades of green, especially emerald and jade.

Love Pink

Pink is flexible. Pink is blendable. Pink is for everyone. Finding new ways to love and combine Millennial Pink gives it ongoing importance and definitely defines it as an acceptable new neutral we can all cheer for.

Millennial Pink The New NeutralBy Bill Schaffer, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, and
Kristine Kratt, AIFD, PFCI

Bill Schaffer, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, and Kristine Kratt, AIFD, PFCI, are the creative directors behind Schaffer Designs, a floral event company. Bill and Kris are diverse contributors in the floral industry, specializing in not only trend translations, education, product development, and showroom and trade-show design but also commissioned floral installations as well as being award-winning authors. Email bill@schafferdesigns.com and/or kris@schafferdesigns.com.