Real Estate News

Ken you imagine? Before the ‘Barbie’ movie, pink was already making a comeback.

Homeowners opt for this happy hue inside and out every 30 years.

Outdoor space Barbie vibes pastel sunroof foliage Astro HD wallp
“Historically, the color pink symbolizes politeness, joy, and authentic femininity,” said the team at Audrey Interiors. Adobe Stock

We may give Barbie all the credit, but pink’s presence in the cultural zeitgeist has proved to be cyclical. 

An intermediate between red and white, the cheerful shade is synonymous with the iconic Mattel doll. But looking at the color’s presence in American culture demonstrates how it resurges every 30 years or so, even infiltrating the world of real estate.

A bowl of popcorn sits before a TV showing the Barbie movie.
The shade is synonymous with the world of Mattel’s Barbie. – Adobe Stock

The home at 25 Butler Ave. in the Martha’s Vineyard enclave of Oak Bluffs is one of the island’s beloved gingerbread cottages. Currently on the market for $850,000, the Gothic Revival property has earned its role on endless postcards. The two-bed, one-bath house, which measures 697 square feet, was painted pink shortly after the Depression, according to Kyle Neyer of Tea Lane Associates, who has the listing

A pink home with white gingerbread trim and a wraparound deck.
This bright gingerbread house is a landmark on Martha’s Vineyard. – Kyle Neyer
A white room with exposed beams and a bright pink arched door.
The inside is neutral save for the pops of pink. – Kyle Neyer

While coastal colors tend to have a tight grip on the Cape and Islands aesthetic, Neyer said he has noticed an uptick in pink’s popularity.


“I do know that in the overall market, sort of that dusty pink look has definitely been stronger in the last couple of years, for sure,” said Neyer, attributing it to the rise of “Millennial Pink,” a shade reminiscent of rose quartz. “The millennials really kind of embraced it in a lot of ways.”

Long before Millennial Pink struck a chord, the shade was flying high on the color palette. In the 1920s, a period instantly identified with decadence and celebration, designers began introducing coral shades, said Marilyn Friedman, a design historian. However, that died out with the Great Depression and the start of World War II. But as America grabbed hold of the postwar-era full throttle, pink began to reappear. 

“It’s a happy color. It’s not surprising that it would be appealing during the Roaring Twenties and after the end of World War II,” said Friedman, who also noted the color’s strong ability to complement other shades, such as blue and green.

The 30-year cycle struck again for pink through the 1950s. First Lady Mamie Eisenhower was so fanatical about the color that her White House bedroom featured a pink headboard, trash can, and bathroom scale during her husband’s presidency from 1953 to 1961. The color became so omnipresent that staff began referring to the White House as the “Pink Palace.” Peruse historic bathroom fixture catalogs from the ’50s, and you’ll find endless options for pink sinks, tubs, and toilets. Bathrooms covered in pink and black tile became par for the course in midcentury America. 


“Historically, the color pink symbolizes politeness, joy, and authentic femininity,” said the team at Audrey Interiors, a New England-based interior design firm. While it soon died out in popularity, it rose to prominence after another 30 years in the 1980s, when bright magenta shades were seen on every Barbie box in the toy store. But pastel shades also gained momentum as a paint color, used in both home interiors and exteriors. 

Instantly identified with its pastel exterior, 53 Leonard St., located in the Annisquam section of Gloucester, is a four-bedroom home that has earned the title of “The Pink House.” Listed at $3,295,000, the waterfront property with a guest house and dock is known for its hue. Appointment-only showings for the 2,368-square-foot home started on Friday, with 14 scheduled for the day. By Tuesday, it was under contract. But whoever is lucky enough to purchase the home, they’ll have to understand the area’s appreciation of its color.

“For somebody to buy it and change the color? They’d be booed out of town,” joked Karen Bernier of Churchill Properties, who has the listing.

A long dock leads up to a grassy lawn, rock walls, and a pink Colonial. There's a motorboat tied at the dock.
“The Pink House” in Gloucester sold within days. – Luxe Life Productions
The home has four bedrooms and was built in 1830. – Luxe Life Productions

Of course, with this weekend’s premiere of Barbie projected to be a major blockbuster and the “Barbiecore” aesthetic in full swing, it’s likely the color will continue to be a desirable spot on the color wheel.


“As designers, our consensus is that a room takes on a sense of quiet confidence when painted in pink,” Sampson said.

Send comments to [email protected]. Follow Megan Johnson on Twitter @megansarahj and Address @globehomes.


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