Color Inspiration

Making Pastels Zingy + Fresh!

February 6, 2013

Pastels are everywhere but do they feel fresh or a bit sluggish to you? I must admit, all of that sugary softness can feel totally boring (Easter needs revamped!) so why don’t we turn up the heat and make pastels ZING. What I’m about to show you (brace  yourself) is a very hot ‘n spicy palette for Spring on the runway so why not try it at home by mixing pastels with spicy red, 80s neons, warm cooper or gold tones, maybe a shot of black, deep violet, emerald or navy. I’m tellin’ ya people, we can take pastels from Oy vey to Oh yay in mere seconds – take a look…

Making Pastels Zingy + Fresh!

Making Pastels Zingy + Fresh!

This is a very lively mix – a real party girl combo using sugar sweet pastels and punctuating them with clever color accents that are bold and risky. While pastels can feel really granny and dated (or seasonal), you can easily perk them up with my favorite metal of the moment – copper!

Making Pastels Zingy + Fresh!

Making Pastels Zingy + Fresh!

If you’re a bit bored with neon pink, opt for neon orange because that looks quite gorgeous when placed in a pastel playground.

Making Pastels Zingy + Fresh!

Making Pastels Zingy + Fresh!

I even love spicy reds – they can energize a pastel palette taking them from Easter egg hunts and tea parties to grown up girl Glamorama cha-cha! Want to get a little edgy with pastels? Grab a little black or navy and dot it around the space.

Making Pastels Zingy + Fresh!

Making Pastels Zingy + Fresh!

Cushions by Martinich&Carran

Making Pastels Zingy + Fresh!

Making Pastels Zingy + Fresh!

Making Pastels Zingy + Fresh!

How are you using pastels at the moment? Here are some visuals to give you some ideas that I love…

I have to add that Lucy over at the Design Files is such an inspiration to me. This Australian blogger has such a gorgeous design blog about Aussie design and recently had a beautiful open house event where she turned an empty rented home into a living blog OPEN HOUSE showroom for a weekend. I really love Lucy’s photography, blog and now her open house events – I’m tempted to fly down to Australia to attend the next one later this year – it’s my big dream ! Anyway, Lucy loves color and knows how to mix pastels with more vibrant hues so I selected several photos above from her open house party to inspire you to be a bit more daring when you decorate. To see more about the Design Files Open House, please visit Vimeo and watch this stunning video. Lucy, you rock with color and design!

(images: ferm living, revolver, design files)


  • Reply Beccy February 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Loving the zingy pastels. I feel I need a bit of extra zing today!!!

  • Reply Shay February 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    I really want that pillow collection! So many colors all complementing each other.

  • Reply Juliette February 6, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Love that you said, “from Oy vey to Oh yay”, lol! And yes, pastels are in dire need of a zing or two! =)

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente February 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Just CRAZY gorgeous. That first image has my heart beating faster. I love when people take color risks this way and it works so beautifully!

  • Reply Tanya February 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I’m not using any at the moment but I loves your examples! They sure do make the room pop with color.

  • Reply Amberly February 6, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I am such a fan of Lucy and The Design Files, her posts are such treasures! I’ve gotten so much inspiration from Aussie style because of it (and I’ve never wanted to visit so badly!). These photos you’ve selected are so pretty and fun, I love zingy pastels!

  • Reply Anette@lebenslustiger February 6, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    I’m absolutely with you on this! Adding a little ZING to pastel is like adding salt and spices to a dish – makes it so much better…

  • Reply Cottage Katie February 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I love your description of the color palette ” This is a very lively mix – a real party girl combo using sugar sweet pastels and punctuating them with clever color accents that are bold and risky.”

    So clever and soooo true!!

  • Reply Jiah February 6, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    I just can’t get enough of these colours at the moment. Pastels and fluoros were so big in the 80s and I think everyone was pretty over them by the end of that decade because on their own they can be quite sickly. But combine them and throw in a bit of metallic = YUM!

    Lucy from the Design files is amazing and I can’t wait to go down to Melbourne for the next open house (it’s a much shorter flight for me) Maybe I’ll see you there!

  • Reply Bobbi February 6, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    I am currently on an aqua, mustard, and chartreuse kick, and wondering how to use them effectively in my home. These brights mixed with pastels are gorgeous!

  • Reply Inge February 6, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    Zesty and zingy pastels: looking good! I have tried to do some little DIY-projects with pastels and they do scream for a lively colour combo. Anyway, these pictures you shared here totally remind me of my 80’s childhood! :-) When I was a little girl I only wore these colours, the colourful the better. :-D And I still love it, I sure would love to use some more of them in my own home…

  • Reply R. Joyce February 6, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Okay I have never thought about decorating with pastels. But now I am trying to figure out a way to incorporate a small amount. I really like the pastels against the white.

  • Reply Anastasia Benko February 6, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    I got tired of the grey skies in Germany and also got my pastel color inspiration on! The winter was so long and colorless that I took my mild detergent plastic bottles and used them as vases. Have a look and get your ZING on!

  • Reply Regina Snyders February 6, 2013 at 10:12 pm


  • Reply Jen February 6, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    I’ve never been a pastels person but I’m craving them this winter. Thanks for the colour boost!!

  • Reply Patti Borrelli @BeSoStyle February 6, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    LOVE the mix of neons + coppers with pastels. So very fun. Thanks for the visual vacation + inspiration. You are amazing!

  • Reply Maria @ Inspiration Affirmation February 7, 2013 at 12:13 am

    These are amazing, punchy spaces! I especially love the pastels mixed with the warm copper metallic color — so gorgeous!

  • Reply Singapore Curtains Lovers February 7, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Love these pictures and the post. Great ideas on Pastels…

  • Reply suzy February 7, 2013 at 4:54 am

    I read Lucy’s blog every day! I live in Melbourne and have been to her last 2 open houses…they are amazing! She is a real pioneer for Melbourne artists ect and has opened my eyes to sooooo many gems in this great city we call home. What Lucy says pretty much goes ;)

  • Reply Katia February 7, 2013 at 9:56 am

    WoW! Fantastic!! This is the kind of experiment I’m making :D
    I love neon but renewed by pastels, black and white and COPPER!!
    thank you so much for sharing ;)

  • Reply Amita Heer February 7, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Love your blog.You keep me inspired.Cheers!

  • Reply Rebecca Portsmouth February 7, 2013 at 11:42 am

    At the Surface Design Show in London yesterday, Global Colour Research had a modern take on pastels as one of its four SS 2014 colour stories. It had concrete greys and flat blacks alongside the pastels to make them more grown-up. You’re bang on about the way you’re using pastels!

  • Reply Ana February 7, 2013 at 11:55 am

    LOVE this color combinations!!! Love bold colors! And yes, pastels need a zing ;) indeed :)

  • Reply Sue Aitken February 7, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I like your thinking! Sugary pastels are definitely not for me. Much prefer zingy, bright and bold colours. Good stuff.

  • Reply Molly {Dreams in HD} February 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    absolutely love this post. i always am drawn towards pastels, but love the addition of bright pops of color and the ever beautiful COPPER!

  • Reply Julia Agnes February 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm


  • Reply Jessica @shimmerkai February 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    This post makes me excited about spring! Love pastels in blues and greens.

  • Reply welovelinen February 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    Bright colours, full of life! You made me feel that sping is on the way! This posts images go straight for printing and to my visual board, such an inspiration now that im redecorating my house! Lots of love!

  • Reply Gumshoe February 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Fun post! I must admit that i love pastels! they make me happy.

  • Reply DENYdesigns February 7, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    LOVING the zingy pastels! We just did a neon + pastel post earlier this week too! Your take on the spring trend definitely puts a spring in our step. ;)

  • Reply Lisbeth February 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    I prefer to add a lot of black to my pastels, to tone them down, make them “dusty” and soft, to create a really harmonious and relaxed feel (good) atmosphere. No neon in my home or garden, if I can help it!! ;-)

  • Reply Valentina February 7, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I love so much your visual of neon and pastel. So bright, so inspiring. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Casa e Cose February 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Oh what sizzling colors you put together there! Love the lime with pink! I could to with some more of the in my home!

  • Reply KOOSHKA London February 8, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Love these colours – certainly a good way to beat the Winter blues and get you ready for Spring!!

  • Reply Emily February 10, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    I don’t think I would have ever thought of these color combinations, but they work so well! I especially love the bright red/mint combination.

  • Reply Cushion Spot February 11, 2013 at 7:34 am

    I was never a fan of the fluoro colors back in the ’80s and was amazed to see them having a comeback – but wow what a comeback. They give off the feeling of fun and inspire happiness so I must admit I’m hooked.

  • Reply Leonie February 13, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Pastels are becoming a little…bland, but this totally freshens them up and brings them into 2013. I’ve never really been one for pastels but this has me convinced, it’s so modern and edgy!

  • Reply Izrada sajtova November 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Great colors combinations, will use something like that for my next website i design , hope u dont mind ; ) .
    Thanks for idea…

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