Southerners are known for their flair for color as much as they are for their hospitality instincts and biscuit savvy. Consider Dorothy Draper’s work at the Greenbrier, or the electric hue that is Gullah Geechee blue.
I, however, was a late bloomer in this respect. My mom is an interior designer in Anglophile Virginia, and I grew up in a house saturated with vibrant floral chintz fabrics that brought the outside in, a pink wallpapered kitchen with a black-and-white checkerboard floor, and a pastel trompe l’oeil paint treatment on the walls of our first-floor staircase and landing, among other vivid features. And while I loved the look, I rebelled as a young adult forming my own identity and relied instead on the many shades of white and beige and taupe.
When my son was born though, something shifted. I found myself gravitating toward the rainbow hues of his colored pencils and crayons. There is a sense of wonder and optimism in that bright palette that’s hard to resist, and it has inspired lots of fun changes to our home as our newborn baby grew into toddlerhood.
In our family room, it started with the addition of a jewel-hued green lamp—a piece of Tennessee pottery that belonged to my grandmother converted into a lamp, actually. That was followed by me, on a ladder, painting the plaster walls Calamine by Farrow & Ball, and later adding cherry-red linen window treatments with tonal grosgrain trim by Schumacher.
It wasn’t until the pandemic hit that I decided our sofa should follow suit. After such a trying, dark time, I knew that reupholstering it would cheer up the room—and us. I chose an indestructible pink Sunbrella fabric matched to the walls that would stand up to the messes and spills that are inevitable with children and dogs. And for extra comfort on movie nights, I layered the look with down feather beds in the same fabric and added pillows and art with joie de vivre from some of my favorite artisans and artists. The final layer included a suede and leather rug and a tortoiseshell coffee table I faux-finished by hand slowly but surely as a form of escapism from the headlines.
As I write this, I’m snuggled on our newly pink sofa with my little boy on one side and our dog, Auggie, on another, and I couldn’t be more pleased that I took such a joyful color plunge.
Below, I’ve included resources for trying a similar look.
Clockwise from top left: Rainbow Stripe Pillow; Fabric by Sunbrella; Pink Pillow; Blue Pillow; Pink Paint; Floral Pillow; Striped Bolster Pillow; Red Pillow; Black and White Pillow; Hemp and Suede Rug