Pastels are one of the standout trends of 2021 – and we’re not talking the sugary tones you’d expect to see in a child’s room, but muted, nature-inspired pastels that exude a gentle elegance, such as soft rose, dusty blue and pale, leafy green.
Earth-drawn pastels are calming and comforting – perfect for rooms where you want to relax or focus, such as the lounge, bedroom or home office. And best of all, you don’t have to completely redecorate to work them into your scheme as they sit beautifully alongside the whites, soft greys and natural timbers many of us already have in our homes.
Looking to add a fresh, feminine feel to your interiors? Try these practical styling ideas from our expert interior designers.
There are many simple ways to bring pastel magic into your space, consider a clay-coloured cushion for the couch or a soft blush vase for your side table! Featured here Indigo, Orana Estate, Clyde North.
Lean towards warm pastels
To create a sophisticated feel in a grown-up space, such as a lounge or master bedroom, steer clear of cool pastels and choose ones with a warmer undertone. Tones such as blush and soft clay, for example, feel cosy and welcoming, and can almost appear like neutrals in a space, making them easy to decorate around.
If you’re not ready to go all-out, try introducing small amounts of pastel to a room; a cushion or throw on the sofa, a print on the wall, a rug underfoot, a retro pastel-coloured coffee machine or blender on the kitchen benchtop. Or pull out the paintbrush and add some pastel magic to the back of a bookshelf, a nook or an old piece of furniture such as a stool or side table.
If you’re keen to break away from pinkish tones, take your colour cues from the natural world – duck-egg blue, soft green, pebbly mauve-grey, lemon and heather are all great places to start.
Create a sophisticated and soothing palette for your home with perfect pastels. They’re one of the standout trends this season!
...Or make a statement
If you’re ready to dive right into this colour trend, make a bold statement by choosing a large hero piece like a sofa or upholstered bedhead in a pastel tone. Select a sumptuous fabric such as velvet to really ramp up the luxe factor.
Keep it simple
To keep your pastel look firmly in the elegant sphere and far removed from any childlike connotations, seek out contemporary furniture and accessories with clean lines and minimalist detailing. Curvy armchairs and side tables are big news in 2021 – one or two curvaceous pieces in a room will emphasise the comforting and soothing nature of this palette.
Or add a glamorous edge by introducing luxurious materials such as pale marble in table tops and tiles, and brass or brushed-gold fixtures in tapware, lighting and joinery handles.
Embrace the pastel trend by layering your chosen colour in varying shades. Consider painting the walls and carrying the colour to your bedspread for a seamless, cohesive look. Featured here: Coventry, Highlands Estate, Cragieburn.
Embrace the tonal trend by layering one chosen pastel shade in varying strengths throughout a room. For example, you might paint the walls of your bedroom a dusky pink or soft tan, and then use the same colour in different tones on your bedlinen, bedhead, curtains and accessories such as lighting.
One of the secrets to making a tonal look work is to combine different textures. So in the bedroom, you might pile the bed high with faux fur cushions, linen bedding and fluffy knitted blankets, and opt for a natural woven rug underfoot – all in various strengths of your one chosen hue.
Combining pastel accessories with contemporary furniture will help you to steer clear from any childlike connotations and allow you to create an elegant interior style. Featured here: Canterbury Grand, Minta Estate, Berwick.
Have fun with pattern
A fabulous patterned wallpaper instantly changes the look and feel of a space – and you’ll find no shortage of gorgeous designs on the market in just about every shade of pastel imaginable. Take your pick from geometrics, abstract patterns, modern toiles and more – the choice is yours.
Use a patterned paper to create a show-stopping feature wall behind the bed, hang it in the hallway, or add a focal point to your living room by papering the wall around the fireplace.
Before making your selection, think about the mood you want to create in the room. A bold pattern in a cheery pastel will add energy and fun to a space, while a delicate pattern in soft, earthy pastel will set a calm and comforting tone.
If you want to create a fun, cheery room you’ll love spending time in, why not add a fabulous, patterned feature wall. Featured here: Canterbury Grand, Minta Estate, Berwick.
Or mix and match
Certain pastel colour combinations work beautifully together so don't be afraid to mix them up if you’ve got the urge. For example, powdery blues and soft yellows or blush with pale leafy greens make great pairings.
If you’re feeling bold, experiment with colour blocking – for example, create a striking wall feature by using two pastels or a pastel paired with white on your walls; colour block a row of built-in cupboard doors in your entry or mudroom; or add a touch of fun to the family bathroom by colour-blocking your floor tiles and joinery in two different pastels.
Add a stronger accent
To temper the sweetness of your pastel palette and add a decidedly contemporary feel, bring in a few punches of bold statement colours such black or charcoal. Consider a black pendant light over the bedside table, a rich marble coffee table, a dark-stained timber console or a charcoal rug underfoot.