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Ask Melanie – Should I use the color pink in my classroom?

Pink in classroom…GASP!!!!

I am so so so excited to answer this question…finally.   We all have different tastes and personal styles…this makes our world so wonderful, right?  But create a classroom with pink and all of a sudden, the claws come out!  Pink can make some people downright ANGRY.   For the most part, I get really nice, positive comments on my blog, Instagram, and Facebook (these mean the world to me, by the way) but…create a room centered around the color PINK and I always need to brace my self and get some thick skin because it never fails, I always get some mean comments.

I should also mention that my feelings DO get hurt.  I’m human too.

PINK.  Why are people so afraid of it?

I’m going to tell you a story, then get on with my thoughts… About four years ago, I found hot pink fadeless paper and fell in LOVE with it!  In all my years of teaching, I never saw anyone use this before, so I was going to be the FIRST (I love to be different) and have the happiest, brightest room in the school!  I bought lots of yellow Bordette and decided I would frame my pink paper with it…I can’t even explain the pure joy I felt all summer dreaming of this space (yes, color makes me unusually happy).

So, the very first day that I could get into my classroom to decorate, I was there bright and early with my hot pink paper and yellow Bordette.  I spent the entire morning skipping, dancing, and savoring every moment with my pink paper as I  happily draped it over every available wall space (I’m exaggerating a little).  About three hours into my euphoria, a friend stopped by to see my room.  I excitedly pointed out the paper and asked if she liked it.  To my surprise, she blurted out “NO.”  She preceded to tell me that if she had a son in my room that she would be MAD.  What???  She didn’t stop.  She kept repeating herself.   I’m not kidding…this paper made her angry.

 I just couldn’t understand it.  Pink is JUST a color.   I quickly learned that pink terrifies some people.

Here is a picture of that room…

garden theme

I see this same reaction on my blog.  Yes, I know….we associate PINK with girls.  Who came up with that???  We also associate BLUE with boys.  I really want to know…who came up with that too???  So, if I decorate a classroom in BLUE, do you think that I’m offending the girls?  Why is blue acceptable, but pink isn’t?

Let me tell you, when I used my pink paper in my classroom (I got a ton of compliments, by the way), not ONE boy said anything about it!  I used other colors as well:  turquoise, lime green, coral, yellow, blue, light pink, and lavender.  It was such a fun and happy space.  In fact, I remember people telling me that they would stop by my room whenever they were having a bad day because it felt so good!

To this day, I still can’t get over my friend’s reaction and will probably remember it forever.  From my experience, the kids could care less about the colors you use…it’s the ADULTS that are offended by pink.  As a parent, I don’t push pink on my girls…one daughter likes it, the other doesn’t.  Who cares?  My 17 year old son (who happens to be ALL boy) wears pink.  Should I discourage him from wearing it because it’s a “girl” color?  I don’t.

Pink is just a color…(big sigh)

I do have some general guidelines for using pink in a classroom (remember, this is just my opinion… of course, you can do whatever you want!)

1.  Preschool – Kindergarten:   I think classrooms for small children should be happy and fun.  Include polka dots, lots of bright colors, hang colorful art work all over the room, and yes, pink can be included.  On a side note, I once saw a Kindergarten classroom decorated in hot pink, black, damask, and blinged out…it felt too “high schoolish” to me and just felt wrong for little children.  I would never recommend that.

Here is Maria Manore’s Kindergarten Classroom (Kinder-Craze blog) and it’s the perfect example of how a Kindergarten classroom (with pink) should look.  I love this!

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Maria used my Rainbow Chalkboard theme.  For more photos click HERE

2.  1st-4th grade:  Teachers can choose whatever theme or color scheme they would like.  I still think little ones need fun and playful environments.  When we start using sophisticated patterns and color combinations with little children, it just doesn’t feel right to me.  You can use pink in a classroom, but keep the patterns light hearted, cutesy and combine it with lots of other colors.  When I decorated Karen Marinelli’s classroom in Oklahoma, she asked for a black, hot pink, turquoise, and a lime green color combo for her first graders…that was completely fine.  To see more photos, click HERE

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5th grade – high school:  As kids get older, I think it is perfectly acceptable to start decorating with the teacher’s style preference. Patterns, colors, and designs can be more sophisticated.  Themes tend to fade out (although they can still be used) and teacher’s decorate more with color schemes.

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To see more of these photos, click HERE

*When I was teaching at my first school, I remember the 5th grade teacher was obsessed with the color purple.  Everything in her room was purple.  Her students loved that about her and often bought her purple accessories to display in her room.   Everyone in the school had so much fun with this!  No one was offended, not even the boys.  In fact, she was the most requested teacher in the school!

So, if you want a pink/black room – go for it!  You can have so much fun decorating your room to express your personality!

Okay…I’m getting off my soapbox now.  Pink can be such a great color, we just need to stop associating it with a gender!  For all of you brave people that aren’t afraid to use it, I applaud you!  WOOHOO!

 

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Comments

  1. Well then, I guess I’ll have some ticked off parents this upcoming school year, because my classroom is completely getting redone, and my colors will be FUSHIA, black, white, and punches of lime green. I can’t even believe people would be offended by pink. Whatever! It’s your classroom, you do whatever you wanna do. I plan to.

    Hey Melanie, I’m gonna send you pics of my classroom when it’s all done. I’ve been waiting 3 years to do this new theme, so I’m raring to go, having been inspired by your blog and incredible ideas these past 3 years. : ) Can’t wait to show you!

    Ali

  2. It seems so silly that people would get angry about using pink because it’s a “girl” color… teachers decorate with blue all the time and no one gets angry for their girls!! The fact that someone would get angry over the use of a color is … incomprehensible to me! All of these rooms are super cute by the way; I’m a big fan of your designs!

  3. For the last 2 years my classroom color scheme was hot pink, black, and blue…I loved it and others loved it! I had to take down all my boards this year so I’m planning on changing the scheme a bit. But, pink will still be in the mix. It’s such a fun and playful color!!

  4. I’m with you 100%! What is the deal with pink? Plenty of boys like pink, and there is nothing wrong with it – it is just a color, not an indication of their “masculinity” or something. I tell the kids they can like whatever they like, but they must let others like what *they* like. I get sick of the thoughts that there are girl things and boy things, and that girl things are less acceptable. Pure bogus! You don’t *have* to like pink or Barbies, but anyone else can if they want to…isn’t that the message we should be sending to our youth? People who get upset over colors really have some issues to deal with, in my opinion.

  5. I’m not really a pink girl, but I don’t hate it. I have incorporated it in my classrooms throughout the years. But, I agree with you. People need to get a grip, it’s only a color. In 2014, we need to think outside the box.

  6. I love your thoughts! I love pink and any other bright and cheery classroom color. It’s all in how you use it!!

  7. The thing that bothers me more is when people assume pink is for girls and blue is for boys. A teacher on my old team would color code (pencil boxes, etc) that way and it drove me crazy because not all girls like pink and vice versa! I like to do it randomly or let the kids choose.

  8. I remember that post! Although I do love color, I’m not a person who enjoys being surrounded by the many colors in that classroom, but I loved that classroom. It inspired me to go out and purchase some hot pink bulletin board paper and make my own pom flowers! I didn’t use it as a dominate color, but I did use it. I also used black and purple. One of the boys in my class that year loved it. Turns out purple was his favorite color! I’m a little embarrassed to say, but because of the gender association with color and his personality, I would’ve never figured it! Both of my brothers’ favorite color is purple and my husband is wearing a hot pink golf shirt today!!! It looks great on him.

  9. I use a lot of hit pink in my room and it’s not even my favorite color. I find it a bright cheerful color especially with orange. My Kinders love it!

  10. I don’t know why people get so bent out of shape about pink. When children are offered a large choice of coloured paper for an artwork or card, you would be surprised how many boys choose pink!

  11. I use pink in my room along with lime green and chocolate brown. I teach kindergarten and never has a child said it was a girly room. Go Team Pink!

  12. I love pink!!!! Love love love! I am moving to a new district and I bought the rainbow chalkboard set for my room! I love it and it makes me happy and I think it will make my kids happy too! Thank you for your awesome designs and including pink in them!

  13. #TRUTH! Personally I am not a pink person. However, I firmly believe and teach my students that ALL colors are for everyone. When teaching, or demonstrating I always choose the least chosen color to demonstrate that it can be “cool” too. Cause you know what the teacher likes is “cool” to the little ones. 🙂
    Mels

  14. Thank you for this post.
    I personally love the color pink, but have steered away from using it in my classroom as a main color. Partially because of the “boy” issue, partially because of the impression their parents may have, partially because of the teacher that has used a more “girly” color scheme being labeled as a fairy princess, and partially because it doesn’t really fit my more primary colored decor.

    As a kindergarten teacher, I really appreciate the example you showed. The pink did not jump out, but looked very nice.

    I also figured out that maybe my issue wasn’t so much the pink as a teacher of her early grades doing too much of her own personality throughout the room with little space for the students’.

  15. Hello! I am currently teaching in a classroom decorated with hot pink and lime green. My children love it and I have yet to receive one negative comment about ‘the pink’. I have made lime green and pink chair bags for the children’s chairs and was a bit concerned the boys might refuse to sit on a chair with a ‘pink pocket’ if the occasion arose, but this has never occurred! Yay pink!

    • I’m so happy to hear this! I am starting a new position (school counselor….YES!!!!) in a new school district. I was going to do my office space in blues and greens….but changed my mind today. I’m going to be using pink and green (with owls) and I’m soooo excited to put it all together. Thanks for the inspiration!

  16. I am using hot pink, yellow, and cobalt blue color in my western theme classroom this fall. The Rockin’ R Ranch is going to be bright, cheerful, and full of bandana accents! I am going to purchase some of your Wild West Decor shortly! Thanks for the inspiration!
    ~Jennifer

  17. The walls in my computer lab are pink! My chairs are brown so my color scheme will be pink, brown and white next year. Can’t wait.

  18. I student taught with a teacher that had a book bin for boys and one for girls. Kids used to make fun of kids for looking in the other gender’s bin. So sad! Colors are colors, toys are toys, books are books. I teach my students it is ok to have favorites and not like things but to dismiss something because it is a “girl/boy” thing without trying it means they will miss out on some really neat things. Great post!!!!

  19. In regards to who came up with the colors, back in Victorian England, pink used to be the color for boys and blue was the color for girls. 🙂 It changes with the era. Crazy, huh?

    I just found your website and I’m loving it! Such wonderful ideas.