We are so used to pink being for girls and blue for boys that it’s almost as if it’s written in our DNA. We don’t know if our genetic information provides a favourite colour per gender but what we do know for sure is that if you had read this article in the nineteenth century, the reflection would be just the opposite: blue for girls and also pink for children in general. Colours, like fashion, changes over time and using pink rooms for girls and blue for boys, started to come into fashion around a century ago. The origin of exactly why these colours are synonymous now with both sexes is somewhat hazy, but I think it’s fair to say that the hand of commerce ushered somehow in the change.
But we don’t have to dwell on trends and history to such an extent in our own homes if we don’t want to. Some parents favour a gender neutral upbringing to remove their children from the almost inescapable byproducts of western culture, whilst others like to mix things up a little—and that’s what we’re looking at today, different child's bedroom designs.
Have you ever noticed the virgin Mary depicted in pink? I certainly haven't. But blue, on the other hand, is certainly a more favoured colour among the women of historical significance. A colour of purity, the sky—perhaps the soul even—is what blue has often been compared to throughout fact or fiction; so why not have a colour associated as such with your daughter?
Red was, for a long time, the colour of kings. For starters, red dye was more expensive and harder to attain, so wearing it was a surefire way to make a statement. The male heirs of kings, often wore pink because it was a lower intensity of red. Pink and red are thus associated not only with children, but those with power who wanted to show it.
Fortunately, today red is a colour that both boys and girls dress in—it’s strong, cheerful and very striking. The question is though, who does this room belong to? A boy or a girl?
This year marks a centenary since the start of the First World War and, although it seems impossible, this is a fact that has much to do with the topic at hand. The First World War changed the very concept of war, but also the political and social classes accelerated the integration of women into the workplace—which, to some extent, inadvertently changed the way we feel about colours. The, now characteristic, colourful uniforms of old led its way from the trenches, not seeking glory or ostentation, had previously gone unnoticed. The beige and green ousted bright colours like reds, which ceased to be a masculine colour.
Today, thankfully green is not associated with the trenches, but with nature. It is one of the favourites neutral colours when decorating children's bedrooms too. Green is a relaxing colour and is shown to encourage creativity. This room has used different greens from more acidic tones, in the cushions, to duller, like wallpaper, all combined with white and grey, giving a bright and pleasant result.
Fashion changed history when sailor suits for kids were imposed. When, in 1948, the heir of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, was born, all the decoration and dressings were made of blue, which was a definining moment as to why it became renowned as such a masculine blue colour. The nautical style remains a classic in children's décor: as in this room, where blue and white are mixed with red, creating a pleasant and picturesque environment.
On the other side we have the ladies in pink: a popular colour which was always much more affordable than red (which as discussed shares its place with that of royalty). But what isn't to like? Pink has found its way into modern society in more ways than one: as the colour of femininity, of girls, of modern clothing and much more. What do you think about this room design? Do you think it fitting to a girl?
Today fashion and design seeks, above all, to break everyday continuity. Colours are not ‘normal’, so to speak, and nobody sees men dressed just in blue and girls in pink, so, rooms are no exception. Anything goes in a mish-mash of styles and flavours like this—character and an air of continuity! Great stuff.
If you want to read more about children's bedrooms, do not miss these ideabooks: