Pastels will always be a decorating do and range from playful to sophisticated. Discover how to make your favorite pastel shades feel contemporary rather than childish.

By Alisha Humiston
mint kitchen

Pastels are perfect for one of the busiest places in your home. The use of minty green, soft gray, and bright white combine to create a calming kitchen environment. The sleek surfaces are also ideal for cleanup.

Pillow-Packed Banquette

breakfast nook

The addition of pastels can brighten up any bland area. Here, black, white, and wood tones serve as a great backdrop for colorful throw pillows. Vary bright colors like coral with muted pastel shades like soft yellow and blush pink to add depth and texture to an eating area or sofa.

Zen-Like Den

family room

This space showcases an analogous color scheme of blue-gray hues. The key to this look is keeping the colors within the same palette or paint chip, but differing the shades just enough that they aren't matching. To really play up a monochromatic pastel color scheme, add black and white for clear contrast.

Vintage Inspiration


For a more casual feel, incorporate pastels on larger pieces. Shiplap walls give this space a beachy, vintage feel. Create a similar cottage-inspired theme by painting furniture pieces with a pastel paint shade, then create handmade patina by sanding the paint for a used look.

Pattern Play

pink dot wallpaper

Mix and match patterns in various pastel shades for an eclectic look that feels contemporary rather than convoluted. When mixing patterns, be sure to use a similar color palette to avoid an overwhelming space. Pops of white help to balance the various pink shades in this desk area.

Neutral Ground

Credit: griffin residence

Prevent pastels from feeling too feminine with grounding neutrals. A natural jute rug, bright white seating, and crisp molding immerse this living room in sophistication. Little pops of mint and coral on pillows and wall art add interest throughout.

Delicate Dining


Who wouldn't want to dine in this tranquil space? Rosy shades of pink provide just enough contrast to keep it visually engaging. The similar values in the shades also keep the room cohesive.

Minty Master

mint green bedroom

This bedroom is fit for a queen thanks to a luxurious chandelier and intricate crown molding. The minty pastel walls accentuate gold features. When paired with white, the light shade of green lends a crisp, clean feel.

Traditional Touches

family room

Re-create this traditional-style living room using pastel tones and neutral accents. Here, the light blue wall color, as well as a ruffled ottoman and artistic fireplace feature, creates a classic feel. Pink, purple, or green pastel shades would also be great alternative wall colors for traditional designs.

Perfect Pairing


Mix and match pastel shades for a cottagelike feel. The use of various colors can easily be overpowering or distracting, but not in the case of this pretty command center. Chalk-style paint adds dusty blue to a framed chalkboard with shutters and stands out against mint green walls.

Serene Scene

English Cottage Decor

Interested in cottage or rustic styles? The blue-gray wall color of this bedroom is the ideal backdrop for cream and nickel decor. Its relaxing properties encourage nighttime rest.

Pretty in Purple


This seating area is the perfect balance of warm and sophisticated. Soft purple armchairs prompt guests to sit and stay awhile. Warm beige walls and curtains offer pleasing contrast. The value of the colors complement each other and flow together seamlessly.

Bathed in Blue

blue and white dining

Blue and white is always a classic color combination, and wood accents elevate the style even further. This eat-in kitchen stays perfectly balanced with pastel blue walls and a white banquette and crown molding. The wooden table pops against the two hues and warms up this cozy nook.


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