The mention of pastels is enough to make some people cringe. It’s a color palette for which Queen Elizabeth II shows a fondness and probably the reason why so many of us associate pastels with the aging set (or the 1980s). However, it’s had a comeback — the spring/summer ’12 runways were full of Easter-egg shades.
Interior designer Sophie Paterson, author of “Style and Glamour,” says it’s due to people being “fed up with totally neutral color schemes. Whilst anyone can throw a taupe scheme at a room, it takes a bit more skill to pull off a scheme using color accents,” she says. Not to mention, “pastel colors are very calming and uplifting.” She shows us how to incorporate the pale hues in our home without turning the place into a macaroon box — although that wouldn’t be so bad.
Pastels can read bucolic, and that’s not usually a favored look amongst savvy urban dwellers. Paterson suggests using “soft feminine colors as a contrast with clean-line furniture, particularly dark pieces such as gray-stained oak. It prevents the color scheme from appearing too twee.”
Layering is key
“You need to use a variety of textures: velvet, silk, linen and wool all work well in juxtaposition. For example, shiny against flat,” explains the London-based interior designer. She continues, “I like to start with a neutral base (sofa, wall and floor) and build up the layers using colors and accessories to add depth and interest.”
Reinvigorate your apartment with a dash of color, says the expert — and act fast. “Pastels are particularly relevant for warm weather seasons. I’m loving dusty pastel green.”
Rather than turning your space into a pastel chalkboard, you may prefer to give a nod to the trend with artfully selected accessories. Paterson says, “Ceramic vases work wonderfully in pastels. Abstract oil paintings with a touch of pastel in the paint colors, or even rustic linen cushions with a shot of pastel velvet, are particularly sophisticated.”