It's Time to Say Goodbye to Pastels: 2018 Is the Year of Bold Color

It's Time to Say Goodbye to Pastels: 2018 Is the Year of Bold Color

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Nancy Mitchell
Dec 28, 2017
An interior from Vogue pits bold colors against pastels.
(Image credit: Vogue)

Over the past few years, we've been seeing lots of pastels in interiors. But if recent trend predictions are any indicator, that's all about to change. According to some leading trend predictors, the soft, subtle shades that have dominated interiors for so long are about to be replaced with something a little more dramatic.

Pastels then: a 2012 interior from By Fryd, via My Scandinavian Home.
(Image credit: By Fryd)

I first wrote about pastels for Apartment Therapy in 2012, when those candy-colored hues were all over the blogosphere, particularly in those Scandinavian-cottage interiors that formed a sort of bridge between shabby chic and the hyper-minimal interiors we see now.

Pantone's Greenery makes an appearance in the kitchen of a plant-filled Brooklyn apartment.
(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

In 2016, Pantone chose Serenity and Rose Quartz, a baby pink and a baby blue, as co-colors of the year. This presaged the ubiquity of millennial pink (because, let's face it, Rose Quartz is millennial pink, or at least a near cousin to it), but in 2017, Pantone made a pretty sharp pivot with Greenery, and 2018's choice, Ultra Violet, was even more dramatic. While I personally think both Greenery and Ultra Violet are pretty hard sells for interiors, at least when used for painting entire rooms, this does point towards the rising popularity of bolder colors.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )
Sherwin-Williams' Oceanside is a deep blue that's almost teal.
(Image credit: Sherwin-Williams)

The experts at Pantone aren't the only ones who pick a Color of the Year. Several paint companies do as well (which makes sense, because they have a vested interest in predicting color trends). Tellingly, three of the paint company colors of the year are almost black, and the others (besides beige, of course) are quite bold. Even Dulux's Heart Wood is really more of a mauve than a pink.

This space by Wesley Moon pairs the new bold colors (hello, Ultra Violet) with the old pastels for a lovely effect.
(Image credit: Wesley Moon)

This doesn't mean, of course, that pastels will ever truly be Out. Millennial pink is still very popular, and the sudden dawning of bright, bold colors means pastels can still play an important role: as a foil to all those bright colors. Of course, you can pair bold colors with white, but another excellent choice is bolder colors against a background of pastels. The softer colors help the more dramatic ones to seem a little less in your face, and the whole effect is bright, bold, and colorful without being overwhelming — the best of both worlds.

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