Home decorating

The pink that doesn't go with anything

10:00 AM

The other day my friend and fellow blogger Bibi wrote about the painting work going on in her house in Nepal. In it, she mentione me and the name I came up for it: "The color that doesn't go with anything". I'd say she describe it equally well if not even better : Puke pink.

Once upon a short time, we lived in a flat in Bangalore that was entirely done in this horrendous shade of crazy pink. The only reason we went for that flat back then is that it was big, and the location was awesome (and within our budget). It was the flat we moved in after our 7 months stint in Navi Mumbai. It was short lived, 6 months later we were back in Mumbai, and I really can't say I'll ever miss that flat.
That horrible pink still has the talent to raise my heart rate and make me feel like I'm being suffocated. It's like having a paint PTSD people!

And this is what the pink in question looks like:

This is a colour I am still struggling to describe, without having to resort to food poisoning metaphors. It's a weird in-between salmon pink, dried pink roses, and yup! How your toilet looks after a tomato gravy food dish made it's way back out.

See! I really can't just be polite to that crazy pink. In fact describing it as "The color that doesn't go with anything" is probably the most polite and diplomatic way to say it's a shade that should not ever been seen on any walls unless you plan to lock up your worst enemy in within said walls.

As you can see above, the artificial pink flowers in the vase are still a better hue to have on your wall than this garbage of a shade.
The craziest part? It's actually a shade of wall you tend to find often in rental properties, along with an equally disturbing pastel mint green or a pastel blue, both of witch for some reason make me think of never since the 50's made over medical institution, I'll let you pick between a hospital or a mental institution, you know the kind you find in horror movies or on ghost hunting shows.
In my years of experience flat hunting and relocating in India I've seen my share of horrors. That pink is among those horror stories, and we lived it, all 6 months of it!

If the picture above is not giving you the full effect and you find yourself thinking "Hey it can't be THAT bad, I managed to find a couple of pictures I took back in the days, had to lift them off my Facebook profile, as the originals died with my previous laptop and I never felt insane enough to back them up anywhere.

This is a shade that could somewhat look semi-decent as an accent colour (if you are into predigested and spat shades of salmon). But our flat was a rather big 3BHK (3 bedrooms, hall and kitchen) and it was ENTIRELY done in that shade. Every single rooms including the master bath! And to add to the injury, it was paired with those horrendous old school mismatched marble tiles. Tiles that will forever give me "flooring PTSD" as I am currently dealing with a round 2 of said tiles in our current flat in Mumbai.
Not that it matters really because, this shade of puke pink truly goes on with nothing, so ugly marble, wooden floor, fine stone floor, it really makes no difference.

This shade of pink managed to make that flat look much smaller and darker than it was in reality. I know how these flats could look with more flattering paint on the walls as all of my neighbours had regular hues of white. I was the only one stuck in puked salmon purgatory people!

This was our bedroom, never mind the odd combo of pink bedsheet set and blue quilt. It's not the classiest combo in the world. The pink walls just make it worse, and no I haven't photoshopped any of these pictures, I am delivering you the horror "as is".
You can spot the living room and dinning area in the distance and the creepy glow the paint job give to the flat. This picture was taken in the afternoon when the light came in through the bedroom windows.
At night the flat was at its creepiest as no lighting fixture could make the place even remotely comforting. I tried everything, every bulbs, every combination of ceiling lights and floor lights. Nothing worked with that pink. To be fair, even sunlight failed at making it cozy anyway.

Belive it or not, this kitchen picture above, first featured on my "Expat Guide to the Indian kitchen" gets stolen and used on other websites way too regularly, including on the website of Apartment building developers. I've served more DMCA notice on that picture than any other on the blog. And for the life of my I wonder what makes it so appealing!

This kitchen was a nightmare, not only was the non-tiled part of the wall done in that ugly pink, they found a way to make the kitchen cabinets pretty much match it. The laminate was a shade of salmon-ish beige for crying out loud! The only light came through that window and the opened "utility balcony" door, which if kept shut would plunge the kitchen in semi-salmonish tinted darkness.

I wanted to try uploading pictures of Ishita's room, and the 3rd room, but I could not get them in a decent size. But let's face it, it was the same wall paint hell.
Ishita's pink curtains looked like the only thing that popped in that room, and in a non flattering way. The study was a hot mess anyway as we never had the time to turn it into liveable place in our short stay.

This flat was a prime example why dispersion paint (aka white wash in India) should never by tinted in any other pastel hue than just soft yellow.
If you ask me, no rental property should ever be painted with dispersion, even the white type to begin with as it is the type of paint that will show dirt the fastest and cannot be wiped clean unlike vinyl paints. But that is just my opinion (fairly professional at that).

I also think that wall colours should be kept neutral in rental properties, it makes it easier to rent it out, and won't drive your tenants to the brink of sanity. It's easier to dress up a boring white wall than it is hiding a puke pink, pastel mint or sky blue monstrosity.

If you are the proud owner of your own walls, well do what you want, I am yet to see anybody making the conscious and voluntary choice to live with that particular shade of pink though.


9 comments

  1. Hah!
    If only that puke-y shade were pinker or even a shade of peach it would be livable.
    I prefer neutral walls in rooms with upholstered furniture or a bed. That way the focus is on whatever accent color I choose in throw pillows, upholstery, or bed linens.

    Kitchens & bathrooms are the place I get wild with wall colors. I've seen that puke pink looking retro snazzy in 50's bathrooms with black tile in the US, that's about it.

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    1. Exactly! If one is going for pink on the walls, at least go for something more defined! This pink is really the worst kind of "in-between". It's not peach, it's not salmon, it's not rose pink. I think the 50's pastel pink is still prettier than this puke pink.

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  2. Anonymous11:55 AM

    We have the same colour in our drawing room, but we have used the washable paint so it is a bit glossy and reflects light. We had the same colour earlier in a lighter shade and the room did look dark. The room now appears brighter and spacious. We got all our rooms painted in different colours that was the most adventurous thing we did with our house.

    It reminds me of the white wash and the limited colours that we had in our government flat. For a very long time, I thought that walls are not supposed to be anything other than white. White for the rooms, and yellow for the kitchen and bathroom, standard Government practice. Then blue arrived as our saviour. I remember when my father got a bigger government accommodation, blue had just arrived, we got our drawing room painted with blue, and were so excited about it, making it darker in the process. This was before wall paints were discovered by us when we moved to our own house.

    I think that our understanding of an urban dwelling is still a work in progress, we are discovering new things, as we go along.

    Apple

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    Replies
    1. I think a glossy finish would definitely make it more bearable, this dispersion finish is like a black hole that absorbs all the light.

      I once visited a flat entirely done in that blue "white wash", as in the walls and ceiling in every room was done in the shade. The flat felt suffocating, and the fact the only natural light came from the front wall windows didn't help. No natural light came in the bedrooms or kitchen because the house was 2 feet away from the next house and the windows in those rooms faced the opposite house's wall. My husband and I struggled to find a way to explain to the broker why we hated that house without using a string of expletives. It was one of the scariest flat we ever while flat hunting.

      In Switzerland in the 70's and 80's the fashion was to use wall paper on every walls. When my parents moved into the flat that was my childhood home they were the first tenants this building was ever to have, so the developper asked them what paper they wanted in every room, along with wall to wall carpet, which was another big hit in the 70's

      What was my baby room, then the study, then again my room at age 10 was done in the pinnacle of 70's fashion : Avocado green wall paper with a white zig zag and diamonds pattern paired with a bright orange wall to wall carpet. It was also at one point paired with floor length white and green leafy patterned curtains.

      Long story short, I begged my dad to let me re-paint that room in 94 because this was getting really ugly. I vetoed the wall painting, agreeing to help me re-wall paper it. I managed to find a super pretty sky blue textured wall paper with puffs of white all over it (very fashionable in the 90's), he didn't like it much, but agreed to finance me as long as I stripped down the entire old wallpaper myself.

      His plan was to keep the orange carpet, I ended up negotiating with my mom, who pointed out to him that they already had removed the wall to wall carpeting in every other rooms (at the exception of my sister's room) and that orange doesn't go too well with sky blue anyway. Flats in Switzerland always come with a default wooden floor underneath, a beautiful honey coloured floor at that, so it wasn't like removing the carpet would cost us anything. In the end he agreed. A year later my parents split ways and my mom decided to get rid of every last bits of 70's infused bage and black laminate furniture in the flat, so I got to choose new stuff in IKEA, I remember going for the all white furniture theme that was strangely and very shortly popular in the mid-90's to match my sky blue room :-)

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    2. Anonymous1:24 PM

      I saw wall papers in the British shows like "Yes Prime Minister" and thought them to be very suffocating. The wall papers looked like what we use for gift wrapping Indian sweets. It is as if you are trying to gift wrap a room. I don’t know, may be it was a British design. Looked beautiful but a bit artificial. May be, because we are not used to wall papers.

      Apple

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    3. Wallpaper does not stand a chance in India. In Mumbai alone it would be catching mold at the first monsoon. The British wallpaper you have in mind is the stuff from the 50's and 60's my grand ma had on her walls and I agree with you it looks like gift-wrap paper. The one I chose in the 90's was more modern, and you find wall papers that are super nice and design nowadays too, it's more used for just one accent wall rather than the entire room these days though.

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    4. Anonymous3:25 PM

      I think and I may be wrong, the old European castles too had intricately designed wall papers, which were beautiful. These I have seen in some serials/movies. Did look like wall papers, may be they were elaborate wall paintings. They had those floral and geometrical patterns. I don't know whether using wall papers is an old tradition.

      Apple

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    5. What you saw in European castles is far more complicated than wall paper :-) let me in on the secret as this was part of my apprenticeship training.

      These beautiful intricate wall designs are called "wall covering" and it is fabric, meters and meters and metered of it that has been sewn together and then stretched, nailed and tucked on a wooden frame that was screwed to the wall beforehand. It is a time consuming process, not to mention super expensive. In my 4 years as an apprentice I did practice that craft at wealthy clients homes and in an upscale private bank. The fabric panels are stitched together by a specialised seamstress, our job as upholsterer decorator was to first build the wooden frame on the wall, then staple a layer of padding material to it (these days it's thin sheets of polyfill), then cover it with another layer of thick cotton, and finally staple the final fabric before adding the trim to hide the staples.
      The final fabric has to be stretched just right on the frame, just enough tension to stay put. While stretching the fabric we need to make sure the vertical seams between the panels stay straight and we also need to mind that the pattern stays straight on box the vertical and horizontal axis. It takes days if not weeks on big projects to pull.

      This was the original way to clad walls before wall paper was introduced, and still preferred in palaces and castles for authenticity. I believe the tradition to hang fabric on the walls of castles started as a way to insulate the rooms against the cold in the Winter and retain the heat from the chimneys better.

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    6. Anonymous1:12 PM

      Yes, I was always suspected it was cloth stuffed with something and there used to be a door completely hidden within that intricate design, so much so that you could not figure it out, till somebody opened it. I thought it was cool.

      Apple

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