Amanda Hansen loves a hot pink moment. “I think I just naturally am such a pink froufrou girl. All my stuff. Everything I buy is always a little bit Barbie-esque,” she said. “So it has taken over.”
Ms. Hansen, a graphic designer in Tacoma, Wash., infused her home with colors fit for Barbie’s Dreamhouse, from pink Smeg appliances in the kitchen to purple and pink floral wallpaper in the dining room and tons of colorful accents in between. The pièce de résistance, though, is the backyard Barbie oasis. There, Ms. Hansen, 31, installed a hot pink aboveground pool, which she purchased on Amazon for about $150, and shaded it with a banana leaf print umbrella. She painted a pink and white checkered floor on the concrete patio and, soon, a pink cabana with a striped curtain will round off the space.
“I wanted to make it that Palm Springs feel with all pink, just as Barbie as I can get it to look, like it’s not a little backyard here in Tacoma,” said Ms. Hansen. Barbiecore, a palette made up primarily of hot pink, and similarly bold rosy hues like fuchsia and magenta, is surging its way into home décor with the forthcoming release of the “Barbie” movie serving as a catalyst.
Information shared by Pinterest, the web service where people can save images to virtual pinboards, shows that there was a 1,135 percent increase in searches for “Barbie aesthetic bedroom” from May 2022 to May 2023. The web service also saw an increase in other searches for hot pink décor including bathroom décor and kitchen cabinets, said Swasti Sarna, Pinterest’s global director of data insights.
Simply wearing hot pink isn’t enough, people want to be surrounded by it at home, too.
Hot pink fits right into maximalism, which experienced a resurgence in recent years as a response to the cool minimalist aesthetic that dominated Instagram feeds for so long. During the pandemic, people leaned into their personal styles at home, disco balls to handmade tiles.
When Ms. Hansen married her husband six years ago, she gave farmhouse décor a try. “It wasn’t my style, and I realized that, but I was trying to be mature,” she said. “So it just kind of started happening one day and I think it was probably three or four years ago and I started painting the walls and it just has escalated.”
In Nashville, Beverly Griffith always loved the color and incorporated it into her home décor when she bought her house in 2017. “Millennial pink isn’t nearly pink enough for me,” said Ms. Griffith, 42. Her bathroom, for example, has a hot pink shower curtain and pink tub and the recently renovated kitchen has hot pink appliances, which Ms. Griffith painted herself.
At the start of the pandemic, when she left her job as a bartender, Ms. Griffith brought that affinity for hot pink to her home’s exterior, too, by painting it in three different vibrant hues. The house became a social media sensation and now she rents it out to musicians and content creators who use the space for the day. “Since I’ve painted my house pink, I’ve met people or read comments on social media, saying that they’ve been embarrassed to say they like pink in the past,” said Ms. Griffith. “They’ve thanked me for being so outwardly and confidently pink.”
Pink is often thought of as a feminine color, but that wasn’t always the case. According to Color Psychology, pink was originally worn by boys because it was a paler version of the red used in military uniforms. Eventually, pink was rebranded as a girl’s color. Hot pink made waves when Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli released her own iteration, called “Shocking pink,” in the mid-1930s.
The original Barbie doll didn’t even wear pink when it first debuted in 1959, wearing, instead, a black and white chevron bathing suit. “The world truly made the pink connection with Barbie in the ’70s when we started consistently leaning into predominantly pink packaging as a core brand identifier,” said Kim Culmone, senior vice president and head of Barbie and fashion doll design for Mattel. Barbie’s pink shades evolved over the years, and in 2008 the vibrant “Barbie Pink” became an official Pantone color.
With Barbie in the air, brands are seizing the moment. Following last year’s collaboration with Mattel to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Barbie Dreamhouse, the furniture company Joybird is partnering with the toymaker on another collection that includes sofas and accent chairs in a deep jewel pink tone set to release in July.
Gifty Walker, Joybird’s director of merchandising and sourcing in Los Angeles, noted that Joybird had a hot pink couch that was popular in 2016. Now hot pink is back and customers are using it to eschew traditional neutrals like grays, browns, and tans. “Once, those bolder colors were reserved for pillows and rugs and just the décor accents, and now we see people really making them an anchor piece in the room,” said Ms. Walker.
For Jasmine Mitchell, a 30-year-old model, decorating with hot pink allowed her to connect with her inner child. When she moved from Dallas to Los Angeles in 2021 she designed her living room around the color. The first item she purchased for her apartment’s living room was a velvet hot pink accent chair with gold legs. LED lights surrounding the windows cast a pink glow in the evening.
“I like the other pinks, but hot pink just does something. It’s electrifying. It makes me so happy and makes me feel alive,” Ms. Mitchell said. “So I kind of let my younger self guide me.”