Colour and materialsInspiration

Pastels from Paris

Emerald green may be Pantone’s pick of the palette for 2013 but at Maison & Object (the hottest interior show in Europe) it was pastels all the way. If pure pastels are too dull for your tastes, do it like the French and add a hint of bright yellow to the otherwise diluted scheme.

550 pastel cups with yellow

Whether it was retro revival or Nordic simplicity, a pastel palette was applied to every design genre at the show. It’s timeless, which is what we need in a recession – it would seem emerald green doesn’t fulfill that criteria…

Team with white/ cream for a contemporary (less kitsch) look that can easily be updated, should pastels fall out of favour. A few pastel accents are all you need to achieve the look. Keep walls neutral and inject pastel shades into soft furnishings and painted furniture. It’s a quick and easy way to update old furniture.

550 pastel homeware

Utilitarian lighting in pastel shades. Yes it works. If you’re not big on colour, a few subtle pastel shades can lift an interior, adding warmth without taking over. Unlike a lot of design schemes, you can’t go too wrong with pastels. Orange and pink clash, but dilute in a pastel shade and suddenly it’s not so wrong after all. For those who aren’t so good with colour this is a safe option.

550 pastel lights

The Scandis know how to achieve a modern style that doesn’t date and if they’re embracing pastels, it’s got the green light from us. This muted interior is perfectly finished off with a pastel green sofa.

550 pastel sofa


Pastels are perfect for small rooms. Light colours open up a space and can make smaller rooms appear bigger. As a design statement, pastels are safe. To avoid the look becoming too kitsch, stay away from pinks and lilacs. Greens, yellows, greys and blues are a more modern way to do pastel. Modern lighting and structured furniture completes the modern pastel interior.

550 pastel stand


Contrasting hues add a contemporary twist to this classic scheme. A clash of yellow in a pink interior quickly changes the look from safe to fun – ideal for a bathroom or a room that’s less frequently used. Here, you can afford to take more risks.

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