If You Can’t Take Another Year of Millennial Pink, Give These Colors a Try in 2018

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Rent By Owner)

Pepto pink—and all its rosé-colored incarnations—really enjoyed a moment in 2017 in the home and fashion design space. And by moment, I mean a whole year (or two). Personally, as much as I enjoy a pop of pink here and there, I’ve had enough of it already. Which got me to thinking, what’s going to be the next “it” color? A few decorator friends told me it would be off-white, but, as essential neutrals, cream and beige never really went away. They just took a backseat to stark white for a while. So if we’re talking exclusively about colors with prominent pigment, there are two front runners—and two pretty awesome designing women championing them.

The first, lavender, comes from none other than Sophie Donelson, Editor-in-Chief at House Beautiful. “Millennial pink won’t seem to let up, but at the magazine we’re loving the lavender take on it,” says Donelson. “Peignoir is the famous Farrow & Ball color that nails this sophisticated almost-purple, but, we’re seeing lavender in all hues bubble to the surface for walls.”

But how do you use lavender without feeling like you are stuck in a bad ’90s teenage girl room (you know, with an eyelet coverlet on the daybed and Tiger Beat posters on the wall. Guilty!)? Learn what to pair it with to give it some edge.

(Image credit: 1stdibs)

First up, this Nathan Turner study via 1stdibs, where pearly whites and silvers counterbalance the intensity of the walls. That Andy Warhol hanging on the wall doesn’t hurt either. But the point here is you can always rely on whites, grays and eggshells to play well with this shade of purple.

(Image credit: One Fine Stay)

Lavender tile in a bathroom isn’t for a color skeptic, because, you’re going to have to live with it for a while. And it’s purple tile, people! But man does this shower surround and floor combo look chic in this rental from One Fine Stay. I’d probably be all over Instagramming this if it were in a hotel or a spa or something like that. It’s a little much for at home if you’re not really pro-purple, but again, this setup proves a point that lavender can coexist with white, gray and wood.

(Image credit: One Fine Stay)

So right about now you’re thinking, everything works with neutrals. And you’re not wrong. But lavender, too is a bit of a chameleon. If you told me to pair this shade with an emerald green, I’d probably think why would I want to borrow design inspo from the old school Batman Joker? Happy to report, after looking at the wall and sofa combo in this New York apartment (also from One Fine Stay), it works.

(Image credit: Rent By Owner)

Across the pond, the Brits seem to be using lavender with both Kelly green and yellow, the latter which is a straight up complementary color pairing (like in the dining room at the lead of this post). If that space and the living room above, both from an amazing rental property in London through Rent By Owner, are any indicator, the color wheel actually can be handy for figuring out your design scheme.

(Image credit: Homes & Property)

And if you aren’t fully over pink, that’s cool, too. Because lavender can hang with hues in the fuchsia family. Here (featured on Homes & Property) jewelry designer Pippa Small paired her purple walls with a fuchsia sectional, and it’s kind of a boho dream. Again, this combo isn’t for the faint of heart, but I’m starting to think that this shade of purple really does have Millennial Pink (i.e. infiltrate basically everything in life) potential.

Real talk: finding pretty lavender rooms to feature here wasn’t the easiest task, but that’s probably a good thing in this shade’s quest to become the next Millennial Pink. As Donelson points out, “No one’s going to walk into your purple room and say: “Oh, this again.” And that newness is what makes lavender a real “it” color contender.

But it’s up against some steep competition: mustard yellow. We’ve written about yellow before in the context of the Gen Z movement, and this is the new new according to Christiane Lemieux, Dwell Studio founder and lady boss behind the custom home furnishings brand The Inside. “I look to fashion and yellow is all I see, and typically home design follows suit,” says Lemieux.

(Image credit: House Beautiful via Apartment Therapy)

Mustard yellow tones are pretty earthy and definitely close to being neutrals themselves, which to me, is a point in yellow’s column. If a color can handle being a gallery wall backdrop to a collection as diverse as the one here from House Beautiful via Apartment Therapy and still look good, that’s versatility and potential staying power, people. What’s more millennial than a super personal gallery wall anyway?

(Image credit: House & Home)

Mustard in a kitchen seems like it would be tough to pull off, but this kitchen featured on House & Home is killing it. Farrow & Ball strikes again, and this time, it’s the archived color Octagon Yellow on the cabinetry. I say bring it back, F&B! Or just get your paint tinted to match this hue. Because when this shade of yellow is paired with black, the results are stunning.

(Image credit: Sage x Claire)

The Aussies always seem to be ahead of the curve and have already started embracing large-scale yellow furniture, as seen in this styled living room shot from down under home furnishings company Sage x Claire. Lavender sofas seem a little bit esoteric stylistically, but mustard isn’t such a far cry from beige. Plus, this upholstery color gives off major Jenna Lyons Brooklyn townhouse vibes, which, even 10 years later, is never a bad thing. The shade goes well with hot pink accents, too.

(Image credit: Fall for DIY)

Not into hot pink? Mustard pairs effortlessly with mint (and other pastels, too). Oh, and this sofa? It’s a DIY project from Fall for DIY, so, we’re doubly impressed.

(Image credit: Meneses75 via Instagram)

To show the diversity of the color across styles, golden, mustardy yellow works like a dream with lived-in boho or eclectic spaces, like in this plant-filled sitting area in the home of Meneses75, via Instagram.

(Image credit: AD Russia)

And finally, an incredibly polished and posh living space from AD Russia. This office area goes all out mustard, complementing it with neutrals to make it the star of the room.

So what do you think? Is lavender the next big thing, or do you think mustard yellow is going to take the crown? I’m not sure. Pantone would have you believe that purple is in the plan, but the whole ’70s revival in design has me thinking the pendulum could swing over to the yellow side of the spectrum.