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What is a good pastel color palette?

What is a good pastel color palette?

Pastel colors are known for being soft, light, and airy. They can add a touch of subtle color and femininity to any space. When selected thoughtfully, pastels work together seamlessly to create a cohesive and pleasing color story. Choosing the right pastel color palette comes down to understanding color theory and knowing which shades complement each other.

What are pastel colors?

Pastels are desaturated, lighter versions of brighter hues. They appear muted rather than vivid. Typically, pastels are achieved by mixing a saturated color with white. The more white that is added, the lighter and softer the pastel becomes. Some examples of common pastel shades are:

– Light pink
– Lavender
– Mint green
– Peach
– Sky blue
– Pale yellow

Pastels can range from very light to mid-tone in saturation. Dark or bright pastel shades are less common. Overall, pastels give off a gentle, delicate effect.

The color wheel

When building a pastel color palette, it helps to understand the basics of the color wheel. The color wheel displays how colors relate to one another. Opposite colors on the wheel are considered complementary colors. These pairings create high contrast and vibrancy. Examples of complements are red and green, orange and blue, and yellow and purple.

Adjacent colors on the color wheel result in more subtle, soothing combinations. These are known as analogous colors. Analogous pastel palettes use different tints, tones, and shades of colors that sit next to each other on the color wheel.

Tips for selecting pastel colors

Here are some useful tips for choosing pastels that work well together:

Tip Example
Stick to 3-4 colors A palette with pale pink, mint, peach, and sky blue
Use tints of analogous colors Different shades of pink, peach, coral
Add some contrast Pair soft pink with navy blue
Use a neutral base Cream walls with pastel accents
Repeat colors Mint sofa, green pillows, green vase
Mix warm and cool tones Lavender and peach

Limiting your pastel palette to 3-4 colors creates cohesion. Sticking with tints of analogous colors keeps things soft and seamless. Adding some contrast with a bolder neutral prevents the space from feeling flat. Repeating colors throughout the room pulls the full palette together. And combining warm and cool pastels adds visual interest.

10 soothing pastel color palettes

Here are 10 lovely, feminine pastel color palettes to inspire your home:

1. Lavender and peach

This pairing mixes a cool purple with a warm peach. The lavender reads as soft and romantic, while the peach injects a touch of vibrancy. Use lighter tints of lavender alongside mid-tone peachy shades. Accent with creams and whites.

2. Mint and pink

For a playful blend, combine minty greens with blushing pinks. Keeping the pink pale prevents it from clashing with the mint. Tones of white help unite the two colors. The mint adds freshness, while the pink creates warmth.

3. Coral and aqua

Energetic coral looks right at home with breezy aqua. The aqua hints at beautiful beaches, while the peach evokes tropical sunsets. For variation, include different coral shades like salmon, melon, and apricot. Crisp white is the perfect accent.

4. Lilac and sage green

Classic and elegant, lilac and sage green are pastel perfection. The green acts as an earthy contrast to the romantic lilac. For depth, incorporate darker jewel tones like emerald or amethyst. Keep whites and creams as a consistent neutral.

5. Sky blue and peach

Celestial sky blue combined with juicy peach is bright and fun. The blue conjures images of cloudless skies, while the peach adds warmth. Use more muted blue shades paired with a vibrant peach. Adding touches of yellow draws out both colors.

6. Pale pink and pistachio

There’s something irresistible about pairing pale pink with pistachio green. The pink provides feminine flair, while the pistachio adds spunk. Include white and metallics like gold or rose gold to complement them both. Play with different textures like velvet and linen.

7. Lavender, butter yellow, and robin’s egg blue

Why choose two pastels when you can have three? This trio mixes a variety of colors and temperatures. The lavender and blue create a cooler base, while the sunny yellow adds striking contrast. Accent with white and natural textures for an aesthetic that’s light and breezy.

8. Strawberry cream and vanilla

Headed for a more minimalist look? Strawberry cream and vanilla makes a pared-down palette with maximum impact. The creamy peach tone and bright white unite seamlessly thanks to the subtle contrast. Use this pairing on lighter wood pieces and natural fibers.

9. Celadon and rose quartz

Looking for unique pastel shades? Try celadon green and rose quartz. Celadon is a pale, grayish green with hints of blue. Rose quartz is an ethereal pink stone shade. Together they create an otherworldly yet soothing vibe. Add light wood tones and brass accents.

10. Wisteria and lemon chiffon

Make an elegant statement by pairing wisteria purple with lemon chiffon yellow. Wisteria is a light purple with bluish undertones. Lemon chiffon is a pastel yellow with creamy depth. The contrast between the two is vivid yet still soft. White accents keep this combination airy.

Using pastels in your space

When working pastels into your home, consider using them in the below ways:

– An entire wall painted in a pastel shade makes an impact. Use this technique in a bedroom or living area.

– Upholster larger pieces like sofas or headboards in pastel fabrics. This allows you to incorporate more color.

– Use pastel art and accessories sprinkled throughout the space. Items like throw pillows, vases, rugs, and wall art apply pops of color.

– Select pastel kitchen appliances, like a retro mint fridge. This adds a playful pop.

– Incorporate pastel textures like linen bedding, velvet pillows, or rattan furniture. Layering textures prevents flatsness.

– Use paler pastels in smaller spaces. Bolder mid-tone pastels can overwhelm a tiny room.

Whatever your color combination, pastels offer a versatile decorative option. When thoughtfully composed, they cultivate a soft, welcoming environment wherever they’re used.


Creating a pleasing pastel palette starts by limiting your selection to 3-4 total colors. Choose tints of analogous colors on the color wheel for a cohesive look. Mixing warm and cool shades adds depth, while neutral accents prevent mudiness. Consider pale pink, mint green, lavender, and peach shades that complement each other. Use your pastels throughout the space on walls, furniture, accessories, and artwork. With the right color combinations, pastels can design a perfectly peaceful mood.