The Best Pastel Paint Colors of 2023, According to Pros

Industry experts are calling these hues the best pastel shades of the year.

Pale Powder paint color used on kitchen cabinets

Interior Design: Cathie Hong Interiors, Photography: Margaret Austin Photo

If you're looking for a paint color that's brighter than a neutral but not as bold as a deep, saturated color, opt for a pastel hue. While pastel paint colors are often associated with kids' rooms or seasonal spring decor, they're surprisingly versatile and work with a variety of decorating styles. A soothing pastel shade adds color and personality to a room without overpowering the space.

Emphasize a playful pastel color by layering it with other light colors for a fun and fresh look. Or create a serene atmosphere in a bedroom or bathroom by mixing a pastel hue with neutral accents and finishes for a timeless and sophisticated look.

Give your home an instant refresh with one of these soft pastel shades. From a romantic dusty lavender to a charming splash of periwinkle, industry experts say these are the best pastel paint colors of 2023.

01 of 08

Angelica by Benjamin Moore

Powder room wall painted with light lavender paint color

Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

Set a serene tone in a powder room or primary suite with this dusty lavender hue. Hannah Yeo, color marketing and development manager at Benjamin Moore says, "Angelica is calm and sophisticated, providing you the warm glow to start off your day." The color's cool undertones give it a fresh and modern quality that offers much versatility, as Yeo points out. "Infused with a gray undertone, this versatile hue can be a great connecting color to other colors in the house—think of a hallway bridging different colored spaces or a backdrop for a gallery wall," she says.

Paint color: Angelica by Benjamin Moore

02 of 08

Tradewind by Sherwin-Williams

Fireplace mantel surround wall painted in a light blue color

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

Calming blues are a popular go-to when it comes to pastel paint colors. Tradewind by Sherwin-Williams strikes the right balance between playful and elegant, without being childish. Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams, says this shade is the ideal breezy light blue, thanks to its warming green and calming gray undertones. "With pastel blues, homeowners should steer away from too many red undertones, which will make it look periwinkle," Wadden says. "A touch of grey is always preferable, to keep the color from looking too sweet." She suggests using the color on an accent wall—or a statement-making fireplace—to give a room a bit of playfulness.

Paint color: Tradewind by Sherwin-Williams

03 of 08

Pale Powder by Farrow & Ball

Pale Powder paint color used on kitchen cabinets

Courtesy of Margaret Austin Photo

For a pastel color that hits a warm yet refreshing note, Interior Designer Cathie Hong recommends Pale Powder by Farrow & Ball. She notes, "It's a chameleon color that sometimes looks like a soft blue and sometimes looks like a pale green". This paint color creates a light and airy feel, and works just as well in an attic bedroom as it does on kitchen cabinets. "We refinished a dark kitchen with this paint color on the cabinetry and it instantly brightened the space without blending into the white walls and ceiling," Hong says.

Paint color: Pale Powder by Farrow & Ball

04 of 08

Vanilla Ice Cream by Behr

Nursery painted in Vanilla Ice Cream by Behr

Courtesy of Behr

Add a bright splash of pastel yellow to your walls with the cheery shade of Vanilla Ice Cream by Behr. Erika Woelfel, VP of color and creative services at Behr, recommends this shade she calls "a cheerful light yellow." The soft-toned paint color is a true pastel that looks warm and inviting when paired with crisp white trim and molding, but looks equally beautiful layered against cool neutrals for more contemporary spaces.

Paint color: Vanilla Ice Cream by Behr

05 of 08

Setting Plaster by Farrow & Ball

plaster pastel paint color in kitchen

Courtesy of Farrow & Ball

For an earthy pink shade that offers plenty of versatility, Patrick O’Donnell, international brand ambassador at Farrow & Ball, recommends Setting Plaster. It brings gentle warmth into a room and works well with different levels of natural light. "It has the ability to act as a neutral in brightly-lit interiors, and then as a rich, warm base-layer in poorly lit rooms," O'Donnell says. He suggests using this muted pastel as a backdrop for a restful bedroom or for kitchen cabinets. "The underlying brown notes stop it from being perceived as overtly pretty or pink," he says, pointing out the color's sophisticated nature.

Paint color: Setting Plaster by Farrow & Ball

06 of 08

Hybrid by Behr

Hybrid used in a modern living room

Courtesy of Behr

Create a nature-inspired space that feels as calming as it does rejuvenating with Hybrid by Behr. This soft green is one of Woelfel's top choices when it comes to pastel paint colors. "Its subtly toned quality gives it a fresh appeal and more versatility," she says. Use this classic yet refreshing pastel for a clean look in a bathroom or laundry room, or paint the front door with it for a warm welcome to your home.

Paint color: Hybrid by Behr

07 of 08

Windmill Wings by Benjamin Moore

Bedroom wall painted in a light periwinkle color

Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

Infuse a room with cheerful energy by painting the walls with Windmill Wings by Benjamin Moore. Yeo describes this pastel color as a bright and optimistic periwinkle hue that adds charm to any space. "A splash of purple adds personality to the crowd-pleasing blue hue, making it a great color for a guest bedroom," she says. "Pair it with other fresh pastels to bring a fun, lively vibe or layer in a quiet neutral hue to create a cottage-inspired, charming oasis".

Paint color: Windmill Wings by Benjamin Moore

08 of 08

Glamour by Sherwin-Williams

Bedroom painted in a pastel mauve color

Courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

If you're looking for a darker, more sophisticated pastel paint color, Wadden suggests Glamour by Sherwin-Williams. "It's the perfect balance between pink and mauve, which brings a sense of freshness and nature to any room," she says. Wadden suggests using this color in a bedroom, because the hue creates a classic and neutral feel while still offering some color.

Paint color: Glamour by Sherwin-Williams

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