Soften Your Interior Design with Pastels & Pale Hues

Here’s to 2022 being the year of tranquility! And couldn’t we all use a little peace in our lives after years now of pandemic worries, of lockdowns and masks, of case counts and depressing graphics? Interior design trends for the coming year certainly suggest our desire for a little zen, and, perhaps, nothing speaks that better than the 2022 emphasis on those calming, neutral pastel tones.

Pastels hold that soothing connection to our younger years, and these bold colors, softened by the addition of white, act as the visual equivalent of a soothing cup of chamomile. That’s why you are likely to see pastels utilized in bedrooms, bathrooms, and kid’s rooms–those places where we need or seek a little calm. 

But that doesn’t limit their use in other areas. Because of the work-at-home boom, some are designing their residential office spaces with pastels to ease the transition between work-life and home. And pastels are being used in everything from living rooms to kitchen spaces to achieve a wide range of effects from shabby chique and cottage style to the industrial look.

No matter the space you’re designing or the effect you’re looking for, there are design strategies that can maximize your use of pastels in your home. So if you’re looking to add a touch of serenity to your home, and you think pastels might be the way to go, here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Don’t limit your palette: While pinks and blues are popular choices, don’t be afraid to branch out into mints, creams, dove grays, canary yellows, sands, and salmons.
  2. Employ neutral backdrops: Whites, beiges, and grays of various hues are strong backgrounds for splashes of pastel color.
  3. Utilize against dark accents: dark woods and strongly grained pieces make wonderful contrasts to pastel coloring. A vase or a rug in a pastel color can match with dark woods for a soothingly delicious effect.
  4. Be sparing: A little too much pastel can feel, well, a bit Easterish, so minimalism is key to visual balance. A single wall painted in yellow, a few robin’s egg throw pillows, or a cream colored chair can be enough to create that calming accent.
  5. Take advantage of the resurgence of pastel appliances: Pastel kitchen appliances are back in style and can draw those subtle tones of pink, gray, and cream from granite countertops or tile backsplashes.
  6. Experiment with your own projects: Considering reupholstering a favorite chair or maybe refinishing a table? This can be your opportunity to use pastels as an experiment in color with the added benefit that the familiar piece will make you feel a little more at home.
  7. Choose the right woods and textures: Contrast doesn’t have to be the answer. Pastels work well with lighter woods, such as maples, white oaks, and rough hewn natural pine finishes. Bamboo, rattan, seagrass, and wicker textures are also quite popular matches for pastel palettes as well.
  8. Use accents as the answer: For a particularly soothing effect, try a primary palette of cream or light gray and use a few pastel pieces, such as vases, candles, or a wall hanging, as visual accents.

We’re returning to the world in 2022 but it’s likely to be a slow reconnection, and, if we’ve learned anything in the past two years, it’s how important a home space that eases our tensions is. So, as you look forward to the shifting post-pandemic world, be sure to add a little splash of calm to your favorite rooms–pastels might just be that taste of tranquility you’ve been looking for.