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2011 Color of the Year: Honeysuckle

The powers that be over at Pantone have dubbed "Honeysuckle", a vibrant pink hue with a yellow undertone, the color for 2011. While I'd describe the color as more pink lemonade than honeysuckle (after all, a honeysuckle flower is yellow!), I do like the vibrant feminine energy the color conveys. And I have to say, given the popularity of this more adultified pink (actually, pink in general) on last fall's runways, I'm not particularly surprised. But, while it may be easy to infuse your wardrobe with a bit of on-trend pink this coming Spring, refreshing your home for 2011 may prove a bit trickier -- especially if you happen to live with a man.

This is not to say that I'm an advocate of updating your decor as often as you update your wardrobe. Not only would that be grossly wasteful (not to mention expensive), but it's also completely unnecessary given interior design's tendency to hold on to trends longer than fashion. To whit, both 2009's color of the year (mimosa) and 2010's color of the year (turquoise) are still tremendously popular colors for the home. But let's suppose you want to stay a bit ahead of the curve -- or you happen to love this color as much as I do. Then how should the reasoned decorista go about bringing a little honeysuckle into her life?

Of course, honeysuckle is the ideal wall color in a little girl's room. It's bright and pretty, but less sugary sweet than a purer bubblegum pink. I also like the idea of painting a guest room or guest bath in the color. Pinks and reds are exceptionally flattering to skin tone (just ask my sorority, which used red tents in our initiation ceremony rather than blue for precisely that reason!) and the color would look great in just about any light. While you can always have your local paint store color match a Pantone swatch, both Benjamin Moore's Florida Pink and Gypsy Rose are good options.

If you're looking to take the color out into the main areas of your house, I'd strongly suggest doing so with fabrics and/or accessories. When paired against neutral camels and khakis, honeysuckle takes on a wonderful sophistication that feels more sophisticated and gender neutral. Note how the ladies at Massucco Warner Miller kept this sitting room relatively free of pattern (save for a few fabulous throw pillows), allowing the color to take center stage. If you're going to do a pattern in this hue, I'd urge you to consider subtle tone-on-tones or, if you want to go bolder, geometrics and stripes, to counteract the femininity of the color. In short: no chintzes or toiles, unless you want your house to look like the Junior League!

The warmth of honeysuckle is the perfect compliment to warm wood tones and gilt. The overall effect here is incredibly rich and the neutral walls keep the color from feeling overwhelming. Can I also add how fabulous I think the cherry blossom runner on the stairwell is?

Finally, Honeysuckle works well as an accent color in small doses -- that one shot of bold, rich color that can absolutely make or break a room. Paired with a soft, buttery yellow or a sage green, the tone reads as very preppy and traditional. If you're looking for more modern pairings, I'd go for cooler tones of gray. For high drama, try metallics or a rich navy.

I thought I'd do some of the heavy lifting for you and pick out a few of my favorite home accessories in "the" color of 2011:

Clockwise, from top left: (1) Alpaca Throw in Melon from Serena & Lily ($148); (2) Dark Walnut Chakki upholstered in Coral Diamond from Serena & Lily ($450); (3) Charlotte Mirror from Clayton Gray Home ($950); (4) Tini Table IV in Eros Pink from Oomph ($495); (5) Pair of Button Tufted Chairs from Pieces (sold); (6) Artichoke Lamp in Stray Dog Pink from Stray Dog Designs ($625); (7) Tripoli Quilt and Shams from John Robshaw ($80-$435); (8) Ceramic Melon Knobs from Anthropologie ($8/each); (9) Pink Avenida Maze Pillows from Trina Turk ($148); (10) Translucent Venus Pendant in Pink from The Well Appointed Home ($318); (11) Kelly Two Door Lacquered Cabinet from The Well Appointed Home ($5500); and (12) Quadra Table Lamp from Weego Home ($425).

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