11 pretty pastel decorating and design ideas

Lilac, rose, peach and mint – take your pick from the charming (and very hot) trend for pastel decorating schemes to create a fresh look for your rooms

Pastel coloured shutters in a dining area
(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Thinking of redesigning a room? We know that dark and dramatic interiors are having their moment right now but pastel shades are predicted to be a big trend for the year ahead. These soft, soothing colours are so easy to incorporate into a space, creating a light, bright feel every time. So to pay homage to these candy hues, here are some simple tips for decorating with pastels...

For more inspiring design ideas, go and check out more of our gorgeous galleries. 

1. Experiment with splashes of pastel shades

Newbies needn’t paint an entire room in pale pink right off the bat. If you like the idea of decorating with pastel hues, start by adding little splashes throughout the space – a cushion here, a print there, you will be a pastel convert in no time. 

2. Choose pastel window treatments

It's pretty easy and inexpensive to change roller blinds or Roman blinds, so why not add a touch of pastel by switching up your current window treatment? These English Blinds roller blinds start from £15 – perfect if you are revamping your space on a budget.

English Blinds roller blinds in Peppermint

(Image credit: English Blinds)

3. Prefer shutters over blinds? Check this out...

If you have more of a budget to help make your pastel interior dreams come true, then coloured shutters are a great way to add some candy hues to a space. And why limit yourself to just on colour when you could have a rainbow of pastel shades? These solid panel shutters are from Shutterly Fabulous.

Pastel coloured shutters in a dining area

(Image credit: Shutterly Fabulous )

4. Embrace the colour blocking trend

We’ve laboured on about colour blocking for a while now, but it is a great way to add a couple of bold colours without them overwhelming the space. And you don’t have to limit yourself to just using paint to achieve the look – here @naptimestyle has painted sections of her open plan kitchen in a pastel pink and contrasted that with a deep teal splashback, light blue countertops and marble tiles. 

5. Use pastels to create a soothing work space

Pastels work perfectly in home offices. Take Benjamin Moore’s Southfield Green, for example: not too bold so you are distracted from your mountain of work but not so bland that you feel totally uninspired. 

Benjamin Moore paint in a home office

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

6. Give your kitchen cabinets a pastel update

There is something deliciously retro about a pastel kitchen. Cabinets in sherbet pink, floor tiles in duck egg blue, wallpaper in banana yellow. Of course, you could go for a more understated look and just choose one pastel shade and keep the rest of the space pretty neutral as in this DeVOL Classic English kitchen

Top tip: If you want to recreate this look but you are doing up a kitchen on a budget, then check out our guide to painting kitchen cabinets

deVOL Classic English Kitchen

(Image credit: DeVOL)

7. Keep it contemporary with darker accents

Decorating with pastels is a bit of a double edged sword; on the one hand you have the potential for fresh, inviting, Instagram-worthy interiors and on the other you have baby shower chic (not a good look).

So, to prevent your space looking like the inside of a Polly Pocket, pair pastels with a heavy dose of white and try adding touches of dark colours. In this bedroom, all that is needed is a dark wooden headboard and a few dark grey accessories to take it from saccharine to stylish. 

8. Pick a bold pastel wallpaper

Ah, wallpaper, possibly the simplest way to completely change a room without a massive amount of effort. We will say, as a general rule, when it comes to pastel wallpaper to avoid anything floral, unless you're decorating a bedroom or love that vintage vibe. For more of a statement, choose a more grown-up design like Cole & Son’s Palm Leaves.

See more botanical wallpaper design ideas in our gallery. 

palm leaves wallpaper in hallway

We are all very familiar with the concept of the gallery wall by now, so why not use one to dip a toe into the world of pastels? Take some inspiration from @_lisa_dawson and try switching out your current prints for a more sugary toned palette. 

We a have a ton more gallery wall ideas if you want to go about creating your own. 

10. Get creative with wall designs 

A graphic wall treatment is a refreshing way to use pastels without the danger of them looking too twee. Softer colours are always going to dull down the overall effect, so the bolder the better, we say. Use geometric shapes and clean lines, as in this kid’s bedroom, to keep everything looking crisp and modern. 

See more inspiring kid’s bedroom paint colour ideas in our gallery.

Kid's bedroom with pastel and grey wall design

(Image credit: Crown)

11. Pastels can be maximalist too 

No one can say this space is playing it safe. Pastels may be soft but combine them with a dark dramatic colour (something like Annie Sloan's Amsterdam Green) and plenty of pattern and textures, and they can still make a really bold statement. 

Bedroom with green wall and pink bedding with pops of yellow

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

Looking for more inspiring decorating ideas?

Sophie Warren-Smith
Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 18 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie has a passion for flowers and colour and has recently launched an online styling course, Style with Blooms.