How to Decorate with Sophisticated Pastels

  • 01 of 09

    Sophisticated, Contemporary Pastels

    Photo courtesy of Haute Design

    If the word “pastel” only brings to mind children’s rooms or dated Shabby Chic ruffles and bows, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that these pale hues have recently had a makeover and made a comeback. Instead of saccharine-sweet, today’s pastels are sophisticated, serene and stylish. If you’ve crossed pastels off your list of bedroom decorating possibilities, take a look at the nine bedrooms shown here. You just might find yourself reconsidering your whole color scheme.

    Berry Sweet

    Looking...MORE for an easy decorating palette, but afraid of making a mistake with colors that clash? You can’t go wrong when you mix together a luscious blend of sweet berry pastels, like the serene and slightly subdued bedding shown here. Combining the softest tints of blueberry, raspberry and strawberry blush creates a luxuriously inviting bed.

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  • 02 of 09

    One Step Above Neutrals

    Photo courtesy of The White House Daylesford

    Love neutrals, but want to add a splash of color? Choose a muted tint of orange, and you won’t need much else to spark up a room that’s otherwise a study in creamy white and the full range of browns. Along with the striped duvet cover, this bedroom adds contrast with another decorating trick: lots of texture. The shiny metal light fixtures and side table, the rough wooden floor, the shaggy faux fur area rug… when the palette is simple, use texture to add interest.

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  • 03 of 09

    Pastels Grow Up With Gray

    Photo courtesy of Not On the High Street

    Adding a liberal helping of gray is one of the easiest ways to add maturity to a palette of pastels. The gray tufted headboard shown here would work beautifully with just about any color combination, but notice how it transforms the soft peach and aqua accents in this bedroom from girlish to all-grown-up.

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  • 04 of 09

    Fresh as Can Be

    Photo courtesy of West Avenue

    A soft tint of spring green on the walls is all it takes to add fresh, relaxed style to this bedroom. Softly colored throw pillows give the bed a luxuriously inviting appeal, while the tree-trunk nightstand and yellow footstool clinch the Zen-like, natural vibe. Takeaway tip: It doesn’t take a lot of color to create a big impact, even when that color is pastel.

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  • 05 of 09

    Keep It Sweetly Simple

    Photo courtesy of House to Home

    Who said a room decorated with pastels has to mean lots of knickknacks, florals and flourishes? While there’s nothing inherently wrong with such a room -- it's a typical cottage look -- if your tastes turn more towards the serenely simple, don’t write off pastels just yet. A focal point bed, like the fantastic tufted peach creation shown here, along with a few accents of palest pink, purple and green, is all it takes to elevate white walls and floor from sterile to sophisticated tranquility.

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  • 06 of 09

    Pastels Go Global

    Photo courtesy of

    If you need further proof that pastels go way beyond little girl’s rooms, cottage style or bland design, then check out the globally inspired bedroom shown here. A Moroccan-themed quilt (you can buy it through sports lightly tinted hues of blue and green, along with chocolate brown and mustard yellow. Add in walls washed with the palest possible tint of green, and you get a bedroom that is calm, yet certainly not boring. Remember – pastels don’t have to be very light. A pastel is...MORE just color softened with white to a paler version of itself.

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  • 07 of 09

    Heavy Metal Pastels

    Photo courtesy of Sita Montgomery Interiors

    Yet another way to add grown-up flair to a pastel decorating theme is with touches of shiny metal. While an overly heavy hand is a no-no when it comes to metallic décor, a few gleaming accents scattered around the room add contemporary style and sophistication. Here, a golden sunburst mirror, gold-striped throw pillow, golden ceiling fixture and gold wall sconce are just enough to take this pretty peach room to the next level.

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  • 08 of 09

    Masculine Influence

    Photo courtesy of House to Home

    If you’re aiming for a peaceful vibe in your bedroom decor, choose colors from the cool side of the spectrum. And if you want to take the relaxation even deeper, soften those colors into their pastel tints. Unfortunately, in a man’s room or shared bedroom, pastels are often disparaged as “too girly.” The reputation is undeserved, however, as the bedroom shown here proves so beautifully. A dark brown leather bed with simple lines, beige leather poof ottoman, and simple pendant light add masculine...MORE flair to an otherwise pastel space. Check out the interesting, slightly edgy, wall idea – paint that doesn’t make it to the ceiling, but instead, leaves a jagged line of color.

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  • 09 of 09

    Pastels Gone Wild

    Photo courtesy of Fancy

    Okay, maybe not “wild,” but sexy artwork and a thick animal-print throw blanket definitely add a bit of an edge. Here’s another room that proves a palette of pastels, creamy white and a soft hue of gray, brown or taupe is anything but saccharine sweet or cloying. This is pastel all grown-up and ready for the master bedroom.