Color Lessons: 5 Tips on How To Use Pastels in a Modern Way

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Pastels have been a growing color story for the past few years. After years of shying away from these candy colors, design lovers are embracing them once again. If you are intrigued by these ever-more popular colors here is a quick look at how to incorporate them into your home in modern ways that work...

This is Glamorous1. Add different intensities of the same pastel to the room. In this example (shown above) from Living Etc. on House to Home, palest lavender walls set the stage for a collection of chairs that feature increasingly dark versions of the same color.

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2. In an unexpected spot, without hesitation. This image from Elle Decoration UK via This Is Glamorous of the kitchen of Betsey Johnson's former NYC home shows off how embracing bubble gum pink walls can work, even in this unexpected room. While the white marble backsplash and stainless steel tone the color down a notch visually, the roses and religious iconography underline the quirky (but beautiful!) choice.

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3. Offset them with plenty of white. Designer Ana Anatunes living room features a palette of mixed pastels (blues, lavender, citron) which, if described sounds like it could be jarring, but with an equal amount of white to balance them, it becomes a cohesive scheme.

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3. Mix with natural materials. In this example from Mi Casa, a pastel turquoise painted dresser pairs well with the wood and woven rush wishbone chairs.

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5. Combine with some hi-intensity neons or brights. A powder blue bedroom designed by Catherine Golden (winner of a long-ago Domino contest) and a teen bedroom created by Designer Annie Selke (from House Beautiful) are great examples of how layering a super bright over a pastel can work. By turning up the heat on a few accessories, the pastel color starts to read as a neutral.

(Images: 1.Living Etc. on House to Home, 2. Elle Decoration UK via This is Glamorous, 3. Ana Anatunes, 4. Mi Casa, 5. Domino via Apartment Therapy)

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.