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Perfect pastels

From the Resene decorating blog

Paint ideas for those who love soft, sugary hues.

A serene bathroom painted in powdery pastel blue and gentle coral

Powdery pastel blue meets its match with gentle coral, creating a serene haven in this bedroom. Charcoal accents bring an edge to the scheme where stencilled tiles create another dimension of interest. Wall in Resene Cashmere, floor in Resene Lynchpin, stencilled tiles in Resene Solitaire, Resene Half Solitaire, Resene Gull Grey, Resene Double Stack, Resene Sour Dough and Resene Longitude, rug in Resene Eighth Joss, fully painted rattan lamp shade in Resene Rhino, vases (from top to bottom) in Resene Tangaroa, Resene Half Black White and Resene Explorer, tables in Resene Avalanche and top shelf in Resene Eighth Black White with shelves in Resene Gull Grey. Resene Palazzo towels from Briscoes. Project by Megan Harrison-Turner, image by Bryce Carleton.

Joy is a theme taking centre stage in interiors at present, weaving its way into our homes. It’s as if colour has worked harder to bypass the uncertainty of the day, charged ahead and embraced all the good it has to offer.

When it comes to pastels, this certainly applies. Gelato tones bring a sense of lightness to an interior and make a space feel larger than it is. They’re a sunny, feel-good departure from all-white interiors, yet still bring the same soothing breeziness to a home.

The result is visually warming, cheerful and mood-enhancing, just what we need when the world stage is ambiguous. Sugary, candy-like tones are a go-to for creating an optimistic setting. Their sherbet colours leave our homes feeling relaxed, energised and pleasant.

When using pastels, it always pays to keep them at a similar level of saturation, ensuring the same tones. They’re often associated with children’s bedrooms, where they fit perfectly, but they needn’t stay here. In fact, there is something edgy about bringing them into other areas of the home. And when you can glimpse layers of pretty tones at similar levels of saturation throughout an interior, the harmony of soft colour reigns supreme.

Among the sweet-shop shades, spearmint greens ensure an energised setting, such as the fresh sorbet of Resene Anise, pure Resene Vista Blue, minty Resene Fringy Flower, sharp Resene Reef, sorbet Resene Anise or the pale Resene Snowy Mint.

Pair any pastel with sweet purples such as the pale lilac of Resene Blue Chalk, the warm mauve of Resene Divine or the soft tone of Resene Fog. Moody, French lavender pairs majestically in an interior with white floorboards and small touches of charcoal, chartreuse and pale grey accents.

For soothing shades of pastel blues, work with the sky hue of Resene Half Sail or soft Resene Charlotte. Others that resonate include the clean shade of Resene Scandal or dewy Resene Reservoir. Perfect additions to the softest blue are natural, organic elements of timber and woven baskets. Bring in subtle, but patterned, tiles with white linen, be it in a bathroom, bedroom or lounge, and you’ll find your interior is immediately restful and calm.

Pretty gelato pinks that will lift an interior are the shell rose of Resene Half Pale Rose, the sweet Resene Pink Lace and the coral pink of Resene Paper Doll, soft Resene Cosmos, Resene Vanilla Ice and Resene Gelato.

Combine any of these with the sunny yellows of clear Resene Moonbeam or pure tones of Resene Pale Prim, trimmed with crisp whites for maximum effect.

Although these sweet shades are timeless in their own right, dustier takes on these rainbow colours are on-trend. They might be less saturated but equally enjoyable.

Resene Colour Consultant Amy Watkins is inspired by pastels of the muted, softer kind, more romantic than candy toned brights. “Think almost greyed-out pastels that still have colour but just less in the candy arena,” she says. “For a warmer palette, go for yellow undertones and terracotta, such as the pale pink of Resene Ebb, mushroom pink of Resene Spring Wood or the dusky rose of Resene Pot Pourri. At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find the blue/greens such as Resene Duck Egg Blue and blue white of Resene Solitude or Resene Designer White, with hints of green or purple.”

A painted curved headboard

Soothing pastel blue is warmed up by earthy tones in this bedroom, where curves on the headboard, tables and vases combine to present a look that is easy on the eye. Wall in Resene Triple Merino, floor in Resene Merino, headboard in (from left to right) Resene Tide, Resene Tussock, Resene Nepal, Resene Americano and Resene Smooth Operator. Vases in Resene Blank Canvas (small round flat) and Resene Nepal (large arch). Bedside tables in Resene Nepal (large) and Resene Tide (small). Duvet, bedspread, scoria cushion and pillowcases from Citta, blue cushion from Adairs. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Melanie Jenkins.

Dusty purples include the pale lilac of Resene Twilight, mushroom purple of Resene I Do, the elegant mauve of Resene Wonderland or the gentle Resene Poet.

Greens to try are the soft mint of Resene Geneva, sea foam of Resene Surf Crest. For a lighter touch, bring in the apple mint of Resene Kandinsky or the recharging Resene Peppermint. Or if you’re after a greyed-down version, use Resene Xanadu.

Muted pastel pinks are the pale rose of Resene Soulmate or even the warm beige of Resene Half Perfect Taupe or the grey tones of Resene High Tea or the pale lilac-pink of Resene Twilight. Or bring in those with a more earthy stance and easy on the eye, soothing and emotionally enhancing. If these sound more suited to you, consider walls in Resene Soothe, the blossom of Resene Sakura or Resene Dust Storm.

Dusky pastel blues are hard to say no to – try the purple blue of Resene Link Water, the baby boy blue of Resene Pattens Blue or the lavender of Resene Hawkes Blue.

Ideally suited to the current trend of cheerful, feel-good tones, yellows are creamy, warming versions that are uplifting yet not too jarring. Try the orange-toned Resene Half Splash, golden cream of Resene Half Melting Moment or the yellowy-orange of Resene Oasis.

While these pastels aren’t new to our homes, they have taken new direction; we’re seeing them mixed with rich colours for a touch of drama.

Delve into a dark colour for a modern edge, such as a deep burgundy on walls in pale pink, be it a section of your wall or a feature wall in itself. The combination of this rich colour meets the pink in their same warm tones, the red bringing depth and edge to the space. For a cheerful splash of pastel in your bathroom, if possible, paint a concrete sink in your chosen pastel or your vanity – a beautiful way to greet every morning.

In a girl’s bedroom with pale pastel walls, paint the lower half in a darker muted pink, the dividing line in a ripple wave effect. Add pops of colour by way of a bright yellow bed frame or cushions for vibrancy.

Pale baby pink adopts an edgy feel when paired with charcoal, light to mid-tone grey or jewel greens. Stir things up with the rich blue green of Resene Bermuda paired with Resene Mint Tulip and purple blue of Resene Link Water.

Pastel ochre green colours

Pastel ochre green provides a complementary base for soft tones of blue and pink. Varying graphic shapes and patterns provide instant clout. Background in Resene Gimblet, trays in Resene Norway and painted accessories in (from bottom left) Resene Deep Teal, Resene Home Run, Resene Blue Bayoux, Resene New York Pink, Resene Palm Green and Resene Fawn Green. Tea towel from Citta, flowers from Bhana Brothers. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

Or keep it on-trend by adding an earthy colour such as walls Resene Ebb combined with the darker tones of Resene Coral Tree or dark velvety Resene Merlot or a mid-toned sweet pink of Resene Geraldine.

Tie pale pink with a more earthy, muted version, such as the dark tones of Resene Coral Tree paired with paler Resene Ebb. Split your walls with the two for a tonal effect. Or combine with a muted green such as pale Resene Edgewater.

Soothing pastels in lime, blush and purple

Soothing pastels in lime, blush and purple successfully combine with bold blue and dark green for an upbeat palette. Background in Resene Innuendo, leaf tray in Resene Green Smoke with small vase (on top) in Resene Lemon Twist and other painted vessels in (clockwise from bottom left) Resene Slate Brown, Resene Marionette, Resene Deluge, Resene Avalanche, Resene Double Wheatfield and Resene Valour. Sunglasses, cushion cover and towel from H&M. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

Pocket space Interiors director Laura Heinicke suggests celebrating cooler pastel tones in dining and kitchen areas with the right accents.

Resene Beryl Green, Resene Half Dusted Blue and Resene Half Copyrite are the perfect pastel accents if you have a white kitchen or wood tones in your dining area,” she says. “I also love working with warmer tones in lounges and bedroom spaces. This would include oranges and the up-and-coming trend of berry pastels as we move slightly away from blush. Think about using Resene Beethoven, Resene Bona Fide and Resene Heathered Grey and how they can interact in those cosy spots in your home!”

Resene Valour

February 25, 2021

For more ideas and inspiration and all the colour and paint you need, visit your local Resene ColorShop or view the latest looks online.

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