What are Pastel Colors?
Pastel colors are light, soft, and muted shades of color. They have a low saturation and value, meaning they aren’t very vivid or bright. Some examples of popular pastel colors include light pink, baby blue, lavender, mint, peach, and pale yellow.
Pastels get their lightness and desaturation from having a high proportion of white pigment mixed into the base hue. The addition of white makes the colors much softer and more subtle than their vibrant counterparts.
The Popularity of Pastel Themes
Pastels have remained a staple color scheme for many decades. Their soft, delicate nature gives them a feminine, vintage feel. Pastel color palettes evoke feelings of springtime, romance, and femininity. They also have a calming effect.
Here are some reasons why pastel color themes remain popular:
|Nostalgic||Pastels are reminiscent of vintage styles from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. They remind people of antique ceramics, vintage clothing, and old sepia photos.|
|Romantic||The soft, delicate nature of pastels gives them a romantic, feminine appeal. Brides often choose pastel themes for weddings.|
|Springtime||Pastels are associated with flowers blooming in spring. They evoke feelings of renewal and freshness after the bleakness of winter.|
|Calming||Pastel colors aren’t overpowering. They have a soothing, relaxing effect on the eyes and mind.|
|Girlish||Pastels like pinks, lavenders and peaches have an inherent girlishness about them. They are used often in little girls’ rooms.|
|Vintage||Pastels give contemporary styles a vintage flair. Using pastels is an easy way to add antique charm.|
The soft, familiar nature of pastels will always give them mass appeal. Their ability to trigger nostalgia and their associations with springtime and femininity make them a go-to color scheme for many applications.
Creating a Pastel Color Palette
Pastels can be created by mixing a pure hue with white or by mixing pure hues together to desaturate them. There are endless combinations for making subtle pastel shades.
Here are some guidelines for creating cohesive pastel palettes:
– Choose one dominant hue, such as pink, blue or yellow, as an anchor.
– Select 2-3 accent colors in neighboring hues. For example, for a pink palette, you could choose lavender and peach as accents.
– Make sure your colors have enough variation in value. Don’t choose colors that are all very pale or medium-toned. Have some lights and some darks.
– Use a white base to soften and lighten all the colors. The white helps them retain a consistently pastel personality.
– Consider adding a neutral color like tan, gray or taupe to ground the palette.
– Limit your palette to about 5 core colors for unity. You can supplement these with other pastel shades.
– Refer to a color wheel to ensure your colors work together harmoniously. Adjacent hues tend to complement each other.
Choosing a Pastel Theme for Your Home
Decorating your home with a pastel color scheme can give it a light, airy and peaceful vibe. Pastels work nicely in homes with an antique, French country or cottage style. Here are some tips for choosing pastels:
– Select pastel wall colors rather than bright primaries. Soft blue-gray, lavender, and peach are nice choices.
– Use deeper shades of pastels on trim, molding or furniture for contrast. Robin’s egg blue trim would pop nicely against pale yellow walls.
– Look for floral, toile or damask prints in pastel hues. Use them on upholstery or soft furnishings.
– Choose pastel kitchen appliances like a mint retro fridge or baby blue range for a quirky accent.
– Opt for vintage-inspired tile or linoleum in muted hues likeseafoam green or pink for kitchens and baths.
– Paint interior doors a glossy antique white for an elegant contrast with pastel walls.
– Use deeper shades of pastels like mustard or cherry blossom pink on front doors or accent walls.
|Room||Pastel Color Suggestions|
|Living room||Robin’s egg blue, buttercream, lavender|
|Kitchen||Mint green, peach, light yellow|
|Bedroom||Lilac, powder blue, rose|
|Bathroom||Sage, baby pink, periwinkle|
|Dining room||Butter yellow, seafoam, pale peach|
|Hallways||Cloud gray, ivory, sky blue|
|Doors/Trim||Glossy antique white, soft black|
Use this table as a guide for selecting pastel wall and accent colors room by room. Tie your rooms together by repeating two or three key hues throughout your home.
Pastel Color Scheme Ideas
Here are some charming pastel color schemes to inspire you, along with example images:
Pink, Peach & Sage Green: This feminine palette features soft pink as the dominant hue, with peach acting as the accent. Fresh sage green adds a touch of contrast. Use these colors for shabby chic, vintage or boho spaces.
Lavender, Buttercream & Robin’s Egg: Create a soft, dreamy aesthetic with this combination. Robin’s egg blue is the accent against dominant lavender. Buttery yellow stops the scheme from feeling too sugary.
Seaglass, Butter & Thyme: These beachy hues recall gentle waves and sand. Use muted blue-green as the lead, with greenish-yellow and green accents. Great for cottages.
Blush Pink, Pale Aqua & Mint: For a clean and airy look, pair soft pink with two cool accent colors in robin’s egg blue and mint green. Keep white as your neutral.
Lilac, Pale Rose & Sage: This dreamy blend features purple and pink as dominant hues, with fresh green for contrast. Lovely for bedrooms, sitting areas and photoshoots.
Use these examples to ignite ideas for your own pastel color schemes. Just remember to anchor with one dominant hue and choose accent colors carefully for harmony.
Working with Pastels
While beautiful, decorating with true pastels does come with some special considerations:
Opacity: The high amount of white makes pastels somewhat transparent. Use a primer/sealer so they don’t appear washed-out.
Touch-ups: It can be hard to match pastel colors precisely for touch ups. Save leftover paint for patches.
Lighting: Pastels look best in bright, naturally lit spaces. They can appear dingy in dim lighting. Ensure rooms get plenty of sunlight.
Pattern: Busy patterns can overwhelm soft pastels. Limit patterns to florals and organic shapes, or use them sparingly.
Texture: Add cozy texture with lace, embroidered linens, woven throws and ruffled curtains in pastel hues.
Furniture: Stick to neutral woods or black and white furniture to let pastel walls pop. Or try vintage-styled furniture.
Pay attention to these special considerations, and you can make your dreamy pastel color scheme shine.
Pastel color schemes have remained popular for generations due to their enduring feminine appeal. By mastering how to create soft, dreamy pastel palettes and use them thoughtfully in home decor, you can give your spaces a timeless, romantic look and feel.
Pastels aren’t just for shabby chic cottages either. Even modern minimalist spaces can employ this versatile color scheme by using it sparingly as accents against clean white walls. There are endless creative possibilities with pastel hues.
So don’t be afraid to experiment with this soft spectrum of colors. Used skillfully, pastels can create a welcoming yet soothing environment. Just take care to pick a harmonious color palette, prepare surfaces properly, and furnish rooms to really let those gentle colors sing.