11 Reasons to Reconsider Pastels

While you might not have considered coating a wall in baby blue since your little boy left the nest, you'd be remiss. Pastels are often the underdog in the paint world of paint chips, overlooked for brighter, bolder hues that scream "accent wall"—not to mention the tried-and-true neutrals. But what if we told you that a cheery tint could tackle both of those responsibilities, highlighting or laying low depending on your design? Click through for 11 reasons to give pastels a second chance in your own home.

By Bob Vila Staff | Updated Aug 11, 2023 04:56 AM

They Offer a Clean Look

Bathroom Paint Color Ideas

For look that simply feels clean, a color palette with pastels and white gets the job done—a tried-and-true combination in bathrooms and kitchens, alike. The combination of the light and muted pastel blue here mixed with soft white creates an airy and refreshing vibe.

Related:  7 Pro Tips for Brightening Your Bathroom

Zillow Digs home in Basking Ridge, NJ

They're Not Just for Easter Eggs

Blue Dining Room

While cheery as can be, pastels can also work in a moody tone when paired with grays. Here, this dining room's accent wall brightens the otherwise steely space, providing the hit of energy needed for entertaining family and friends.

Related:  10 Alternatives to a Formal Dining Room

Zillow Digs home in Fort Worth, TX

They're For All Ages

Blue Bedroom Ideas

This is no little boy's bedroom. Start a room out with a splash of eggshell blue, and dress it as a more adult space through the accessories: luxurious tufted comforters and marble accents feel age-appropriate.

Related:  7 Cool Colors for Kids' Rooms

Architect and Interior Designer: Robin McCarthy Architect, Arch Studio, Inc.

They Brighten the Mood

Paint Colors for Living Rooms

Going for a more subtle change? This pinky-beige pastel is warmer than white, but less imposing than a dark grey or brown. Toning the color down keeps this space airy and brightens the whole room—and your mood!

Related:  8 Bright Ideas to Boost Natural Light

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They Accentuate Art

Green Living Room Ideas

Sure, black frames on white walls are classic, but hanging your artwork on a tinted wall is like having a built-in colored matte to give the colors an extra pop. Against these striped green walls, a dark canvas' hits of green really come alive.

Related:  Framed! 18 Picture-Perfect Gallery Walls

Zillow Digs home in Eatontown, NJ

They Maximize Natural Light

Yellow Living Room Ideas

Looking to brighten a dark room? Fail-safe tactics include hanging mirrors, decluttering, introducing greenery—and choosing pastel paint colors. The reflective hues bounce light back into the room making the space feel bigger, brighter, and airier. 

Related:  The Best Paint Colors for Low-Light Rooms


They're Better Than Neutral

Living Room Color Ideas

Bored with beige? Instead of choosing a ho-hum neutral paint color, try a muted pastel. A mild mauve or a watered-down blue is a great way to bring color into your space while still banking on the safety of subdued neutrals at the same time.

Related:  The New Neutrals - 9 Colors You Can Trust For Today's Home

Zillow Digs home in Menlo Park, CA

They Tone Down Bold Hues

Colorful Living Room Ideas

Go ahead, be bold! By adding a trusty pastel from the color family you're working with to an adjoining wall, you can reign in your room's color scheme so the walls don't come across too loud, dark, or bright.

Related:  7 Crazy Paint Colors You Never Thought Would Work


They're Versatile and, Therefore, Timeless

Gray Living Room Ideas

Technically speaking, pastels are low in saturation but high in color value. So while we tend to associate the moniker with a few Florida-tinged hues, there are in fact countless pastels—including the soft gray pictured here. While some pastels are undeniably tropical in feel, these others provide timeless appeal that's built to last through years of style changes. 

Related:  7 Classic Colors We Love to Live With

Zillow Digs home in Minneapolis, MN

They Calm Us After Long Days

Shabby Chic Bedrooms

After a long day of work, there's nothing more soothing than coming home to a relaxing environment to rest and rejuvenate. This pastel blue master bedroom paired with white furnishings produces a calm, serene atmosphere, perfect for unwinding.

Related:  11 Reasons We Love Blue Bedrooms

Zillow Digs home in Atlanta, GA

They Pair Well with Wood

Bedroom Color Schemes

In rooms dominated by neutral-toned furniture, paneling, or exposed beams, pastels add style while maintaining overall visual harmony. Just as these light hues highlight artwork hung on the wall, they also set the stage for relatively subdued finishes to shine.

Related:  Winning Combinations - 9 "Can't Miss" Color Schemes

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Believe it or not, even with the vast number of paint color options available, a select handful of hues surpass all the others in popularity. We spoke with industry experts to uncover their best sellers. Click to view now!