1. Keep the pastels cool and pale and use them in a field of warm neutrals. This example has pastel pinks an turquoises but the creamy white lacquered table, gold toned metal accents and warm beige rug and sofa make the icy pastels stand out and look fresh and interesting.
2. Use a stronger, bolder version of your pastel's complementary color as part of the design. In this case, the pastel lavender walls are offset by the bold completmentary yellow pillows and chair upholstery.
3. Mix with darks. In this example, an icy pink velvet bed (!) and pale turquoise pillows and nightstands are mixed with deep grey walls and drapes. It feels candy-colored, but in a more grown-up, eclectic way.
3. If you are going to use it generously, use it only in one place. In this example, a very pale lavender is used as a wall color only. There is alot of lavender, but the sofa, artwork, window treatments, rug and floors all stay very neutral, which makes the pastel an interesting, but non-overwhelming, element of the design.
5. When mixing a pastel with a bright use plenty of white. In this example, a bright orange upholstered piece works well with the pale pastel yellow wall color, do to the doses of white in the artwork, pillow and paint trim.
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Images: Anne Coyle Interiors