Want to Escape the Recession Blues? Think Pink!


By Bill Primavera

The Home Guru


After enduring the “blues” of a battered economy for the past few years, enduring “black” moods because  many of us find ourselves in the “red,” or  perhaps we’re “green” with envy of those doing better than we, why shouldn’t it seem appropriate to utilize the color metaphor to feel “in the pink” again? Specifically, with the color pink?

Physiologists and color psychologists say that pink in our living environment enhances mood and even improves our health, creating calm, feelings of security and actually lowering blood pressure. And, just recently, The New York Times’ Home Section anointed the re-introduction of pink into our bathrooms, long banished since its heyday in the 1950s. 

It’s funny because, from the time I got into the real estate business, any bathroom with pink tile and fixtures was considered dated and a problem to be remedied by a new buyer. But, now some house hunters are again seeking that retro look from the slaphappy days of the 1950s when bathroom fixture manufacturers first learned to mix color into porcelain and went craziest with pink.  And if retro isn’t to their taste, new surface materials, tiles and glass, are again available in pink.

In the 1990s, we embraced the confident boldness of such hues as Tuscan gold and Burgundy, right up to the early 2000s when our color choices retreated into the uncertainly of the recession with the tepid beiges and pale greens. Now we seem to want to color ourselves out of the neutrals and embrace pink once again as an antidote to the times.

The restorative powers attributed to pink have been out there for some time. Remember the stories of the prison wardens in several states who were experimenting with painting prison cells pink and even dressing inmates in pink prison garb? One jailer said that the color was chosen not to humiliate inmates by feminizing them, but to promote calm and make violence less likely. 

Now pink is also being used more in hospitals, dentists’ offices and even in male locker rooms, such as at Iowa State University.

Not only does pink resonate with our feelings of well being, but the color reflects light in a very flattering way to inhabitants of a room. Note all the restaurants interiors painted pink? And, it’s no secret why Broadway Babies always insisted on pink follow spots.

I have been a fan of pink for many years, sometimes enduring sarcasm about it from some of my buddies. I was most likely influenced by the prominent use of that color in my childhood home.  My mother told me that immediately after World War II, when she was a young girl, there was a trend that focused on the color pink, both in fashion and décor.  So, when my parents bought their first new home in 1954 and were given the choice of color bathroom fixtures, my mother selected pink. She didn’t stop with the bathroom, but extended the color’s use to our living room and dining room as well.  A smile crosses my mind now when I view my own living room, painted pink, with mauve draperies and a Sheraton sofa covered with pale pink damask.

In America, we have been attracted to pink for centuries.  When I was a summer fellowship intern at Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts, a living museum village with homes from the 1700s and 1800s, my favorite room in any of the buildings was one with walls colored a delicate pink, which I was told was created by mixing brick dust directly into the plaster. And in my own home, on the inside of one of the doors in a saltbox wing from the 1730s, is the original paint, a rosy pink color created, I’m surmising, from ox blood and milk, a technique employed at that time.

Today we don’t have to mix our own pink shades to achieve better health and spirit. Just check out the Benjamin Moore palette of pinks ranging in all shades and whimsical names to match any mood, from the fun Pink Popsicle, Bubblegum and Pink Cadillac to  loftier shades called Paradise Pink and Pink Cloud.

Whether earthly or heavenly in shade, pink is definitely a color not to be overlooked, especially in grey times. 

Bill Primavera is a licensed Realtor® (PrimaveraHomes.com), affiliated with Coldwell Banker, and a marketing practitioner (PrimaveraPR.com). Anyone considering selling or buying a home can reach him directly at 914-522-2076.