Decor Trend: How to Decorate With Pastels

July 10, 2014

Decor Trend: How to Decorate With Pastels

The fashion gods have anointed pastels the latest “it” in color, and cross my heart and swear on Marc Jacobs, I couldn’t be any happier. There’s something about seeing a few cool touches to a room and suddenly the whole place feels airy, light, and even kind of funky and retro (in a good way, of course). Another bonus? Pastels are incredibly easy to decorate with — almost goof-proof, in fact. Which is exactly how I like my home decor trends.

The important thing to keep in mind is your palette. When choosing colors, think less Easter egg and more sherbet shades — sea foam green, light tangerine, mint, periwinkle, lavender, or soft yellow. While they won’t scream for your attention like neon or a Suzani print, they will add unmistakable visual interest to a space. Here are some fun ways to play around with pastels.

Perk up a neutral room. Since they’re so soft, pastels are like a gateway palette for the color-shy, and there’s nowhere better to experiment than in a neutral space. White, taupe, grey, and greige not only go with everything, but also allow prints and colors to really pop. Virtually any combination of pastels and neutrals will work: a pale pink stand mixer in a birch wood kitchen, a mint green clock against a grey wall, or a lavender throw on the arm of a black and white armchair. Hint: For extra razzle-dazzle, accent with a deeper color — burnt orange with mint green, for example, or bottle pink with pale pink. It’ll keep things from looking too washed out.

Lighten up masculine pieces. Want to soften a hard-edged room? Pastels look surprisingly good when paired with metallics, leather, and dark wood pieces. These stackable bar stools, for instance, are contemporary enough to blend into a bar area but the chipper yellow adds some unexpected freshness. Get the same effect by placing these sweet plates on an industrial dining table — the butterflies and scalloped edges are a nice contrast to the sleek surface.

Create a relaxing space. Whether it’s your master suite or a breakfast nook, pastels do some of their best work in calm, quiet environments. Transform your bedroom into a Zen space with this ultra-soothing lavender comforter or elegant pink-and-green area rug. Or, give yourself a pretty place to perch with this soft sage vanity stool, which looks especially beautiful against medium-toned woods and gold pieces. Don’t forget about fresh flowers — a small arrangement of pastel tulips, roses, and lilies can instantly freshen up a room and cost just a few dollars to make.

Refresh old pieces of furniture. If you’re on a budget or feeling crafty one weekend, try giving one or two pieces of old furniture a coat of peppy pastel paint. To get the most bang for your buck, opt for pieces with the most visual weight: Paint a tattered hutch a lovely shade of pale pink. Dip dye the legs of your dining room chairs. Refinish the base of an old lamp in a soft periwinkle. Liven up a light pendant with a fresh coat of pale yellow paint.

Bonnie Vengrow

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