Pastel decorating ideas – 15 ways to embrace a soft, whimsical color scheme

Decorating with pastels is a great way to introduce pretty vibes into your home and soften up a modern or trad interior design scheme for a fresh and breezy finish.

pastel decorating ideas Blush pink bathroom with mint green vanity and mirror by Woodchip and Magnolia
(Image credit: Woodchip and Magnolia)

These pastel decorating ideas are fun and simple ways to incorporate soft and quirky hues into your home. If, like us, you're on the countdown to spring and all the fresh vibrancy that comes with the change in season, these pastel ideas are a great way to embrace it. 

A key player in the home decor trends 2022, we're seeing pastels used in every room from the living room to the bedroom and even on kitchen cabinets. While they might be subtle and more muted than deep, rich shades, pastels can really pack a punch and create an impact in your space. From going all out with an entirely fresh color scheme to adding in selected statement accessories, let the power of pastels bloom with these creative design ideas.

1. Go all over with elegant lilac 

grand living room with lilac walls, lilac carpet and white sofa

(Image credit: Carpetright )

Lilac is big news in the interior design sphere at the moment and we're expecting to see a surge in this pretty pastel shade throughout spring/summer 2022. With cool bluey undertones, lilac is an inherently cool color. This means it works particularly well in south-facing rooms, so the cool tones can balance out the yellow warmth of the sun to create an ambiance that's pleasing to the eye. We love the color courage in this space of taking the shade on all walls and floors. Sticking to black and white with the furniture and accessories makes for a calm and cohesive scheme, letting the lilac do the talking. This living room idea is one we'll be copying this season, and we've got our eye on French Lilac from Benjamin Moore (opens in new tab) to recreate the look.

3. Frame your headboard with a calming mint green

bedroom with pastel green painted feature wall, wooden bed and pink bedside table

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore )

If there's one room where we need to feel calm, it's the bedroom, so any green bedroom ideas are a great way to go. For many of us, the thought of an all-over color is too much. So if you'd be happier sticking with a neutral backdrop, think creatively to find a space where you could create an accent. Here, a block of soft pastel green has been painted to create the effect of an extended headboard, framing the bed and giving the room a clear central focal point. 

4. Create a soothing pastel pink arch

white bedroom with white bedding and pink painted colour block feature as a headboard

(Image credit: Crown)

We’ve labored on about color blocking for a while now, but it is a great way to add new colors without them overwhelming the space. We love how this semi-circle block of pastel pink acts as a headboard in the space – a genius way to turn your bed into a design feature whilst taking up minimal room. 

3. Introduce sunshine vibes with mellow yellow paint and fabrics

pastel yellow walls and armchair in a kids bedroom with red floor lamp and fireplace

(Image credit: Mylands)

Yellow is the color of optimism - think sunshine, smiley faces and warmth, but for many it can be too much. Choosing a more pastel hue, as seen in this yellow bedroom idea, is a more subtle, calming way to introduce this positive shade into your home. We love how this linen chair blends in seamlessly with the wall color for a highly curated scheme that makes the room feel bigger than it is. Golden hour by Mylands (opens in new tab) is the perfect pastel yellow – not too dark and not too subtle.

4. Choose pastel furniture for quick update 

kitchen diner with pastel colored chairs and patterned flooring

(Image credit: Pooky )

Add in pops of pastel hues with furniture and accessories. From dining chairs to pendant lights and from statement sideboards to decorative armchairs, this is a great way to test out the power of pastels on a non-permanent basis. We love these mix and match dining chairs, bringing a playful and fun feel to the scheme. 

5. Highlight architectural details with varying shades

desk area with blue color block painted walls

(Image credit: Crown )

Unusually shaped walls can be seen as an annoying burden, or they can be seen as an interesting architectural feature that you can accentuate with color. These pastel blue hues make for a calm and collected space. The contrasting dark blue paint makes a great ceiling idea and creates the impression of a cozy and cocooning nook.

6. Go bold with pastel kitchen cabinetry

pastel green modern handleless kitchen with pendant light

(Image credit: Dulux)

Well isn't this a breath of fresh air? We've seen dark blue and rich green kitchens take the spotlight for years, so why not stand out from the crowd with soft, minty pastel kitchen cabinetry? This modern handleless design exudes clean lines and is sleek and minimal for a calm and tranquil space. If you want to recreate this look but you are doing up a kitchen on a budget, then look to paint kitchen cabinets yourself for a quick DIY.

7. Pink and green, always to be seen 

pastel pink bathroom with min green accents and a wallpaper border

(Image credit: Woodchip & Magnolia )

Sitting at opposite ends of the color wheel, pink and green is a match made in heaven, but when they take a pastel twist, the look becomes even more whimsical. This striking wall hung vanity unit pops against the soft pink wall for a space that's sure to brighten your every morning. 

neutral living room with pastel colored art prints

(Image credit: Desenio)

If you've got a neutral blank canvas, add some pastel pops and make a talking point in your room with a pastel gallery wall. We love gallery wall ideas, but choosing a specific palette like this to stick to is a really straightforward way to ensure your wall appears expertly curated. 

9. Choose pastel window treatments

English Blinds roller blinds in Peppermint

(Image credit: English Blinds)

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 (opens in new tab) roller blinds are perfect if you're refreshing your space on a budget and the cool minty green creates an instantly fresh feel.

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

Pastel coloured shutters in a dining area

(Image credit: Shutterly Fabulous )

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

11. Use pastels to create a soothing work space

Benjamin Moore paint in a home office

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

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

12. Pick a bold pastel wallpaper

palm leaves wallpaper in hallway

Ah, wallpaper, it's 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 kitsch vibe. For more of a statement, choose a more grown-up botanical wallpaper designs (opens in new tab) like Cole & Son’s Palm Leaves (opens in new tab).

14. Get creative with graphics

Kid's bedroom with pastel and grey wall design

(Image credit: Crown)

A graphic wall treatment is a refreshing way to use pastels without the danger of them looking too twee. Softer colors 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. As kids' bedroom paint colour ideas go, this one ticks all the boxes for a fun yet stylish space they'll love as much as you do.

15. Pastels can be maximalist too 

Bedroom with green wall and pink bedding with pops of yellow

(Image credit: Katie Lee)

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

Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.