Soothe The Senses by Alexia Biggs
There’s no denying it – home interior shops are dialing up the intensity of pastels – from light corals, sea foams, baby blues and pale yellows, there’s an assortment of quietly colourful design wares that are being spotted in furniture and home accessories, which includes vases, cushions and seating. Especially furniture and objects designed in Scandinavia, which enjoys using these light, washed-out pastel tones of colours in many of the recent collections we’ve seen from there.
These tones are no longer the preserve of spring and summer, they can also work well in the winter, lightening up spaces and reflecting light around the room. Through the sophisticated choice of colour and combining these soft pale colours with natural textures and hard materials, you can keep the look from feeling too sugary sweet whilst allowing this trend to work all year round.
If you’re slightly unsure and worry about making too sweet a statement, the rule is simple – play it safe. Stick to shades of baby blue, pale green and buttery yellow. All these tones will blend perfectly yet manage to give a neutral space a life. Maybe it’s because they are colours of the sea, sky, land and sun, but these particular colours read like neutrals in an otherwise subdued space.
Throw away the idea that pastel colours are for one type of style. They’re not only for the young or for those with a feminine style preference. Use them as accents with your other dominant colours and make pastels your focal point. Or, try painting a single wall a pastel shade to add subtle colour to vary the room.
When combined with greys and neutrals, pastels become muted whilst still providing uplift to an interior. Think in the terms of the ‘grey’ tones of the obvious seven or eight pastel tones we all think of. Pop into a hardware store and find a paint sample card that represents the different saturations of colour and you’ll find a pastel version of every colour under the rainbow. So, a deep purple can have a lilac pastel version of a muted grey with purple undertones that creates a pastel version of a muted grey below it on the group of shades.
Toughen up your pastels with natural materials and textures. A worn leather chair, rustic wood table and a hide rug allow this space to become an eclectic mix of styles.
Pastels blend well with rich metallics such as brass – a material we’ve seen embellishing interiors in recent months. Mixing the two will add warmth to an interior and the contrast of hard materials and the soft hues will strike a beautiful balance within the scheme. Depending on the metal accent, it will also give off an edgy glam feel – think a graphic gold mirror or a fabulous oversized ball lightshade.
And don’t overlook crisp white. Offsetting pastel shades against this stark colour can create a stunning space. White walls and floors generate a serene backdrop for pastel accents. A space will always feel calm, especially when a range of hues is used. Just add a contemporary light wooden furniture piece to tie in the look.
Pair with a vibrant shade of the same colour – for example, start with a softly painted pink wall in a bedroom, add soft pink pillows to a bed, a rug with pink accents on the floor, then add a full hit of colour and life with a strong shocking pink quilt or lamp base to tie it all in.
It goes without saying that you can incorporate pastel textiles – swap white linens for pale blue sheets or try whispery peach pillows on a grey couch, soft blue linen napkins on the table.
If you dare to be a bit bolder, nothing grounds a room like a hit of black, which in a pastel room is one way of keeping the look from appearing too sweet. Coupled with black or dark grey, pastels not only look super modern, but also have a sense of the unexpected.
Add softly coloured round timber wall hooks on a group on the wall.
A modern pleated paper lampshade carefully hung as a statement piece above an armchair.
What about geometric patterned wallpaper with pastel rainbow colours within the print?
Classic, soft, light-coloured kilims and rugs bring a multitude of pretty colours and an exclamation to any space.
Plus, there are plenty of occasional chairs and handsome, contemporary sofas in soft blues, apricots and lilacs that will add a big statement to a space.
Even appliances have been hit with the bug – today there is almost every colour of the rainbow available for your refrigerator, stove and oven and even more varieties for your small countertop appliances like kitchen bench mixers and blenders. These are a great way to transform a plain and neutral coloured kitchen to an inspiring one.
Co-ordinate these appliances with a kitchen stool, tea towel and cake stand all in the same colour. You’re bound to find plenty of kitchen and tableware available in the same colour.
Soft colours create a positive and soothing mood, plus give off a fresh, clean look. They bring peace to any space they enter.