In 2016, Pantone invites you to reconsider your feelings about pale pink and blue. Instead of remembering them as stuffy or relegating them to nurseries, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director for Pantone Color Institute, suggests pairing the pastel “colors of the year,” Rose Quartz and Serenity, with the bold colors of recent years. It will make both feel fresh.
As the world’s foremost color-trend watcher, Eiseman had noticed blush pink and a soft periwinkle blue popping up on runways and in interiors, but it was a retrospective for 20th-century American painter Agnes Martin at the Tate Modern in London that arrested her attention. “I was just taken aback,” Eiseman says of Martin’s work, which used pale color washes in abstract forms. “It was an unexpected usage of color in a grid or in stripings, and yet it has this quiet, soft inviting feel about it.”
But it’s the pairing of these soft pastels with other colors that really has Eiseman jazzed. Take a rich chocolate or modern aubergine, for example, and add a blush pink or a lighter blue (don’t stress over matching Rose Quartz and Serenity exactly), and you have something new for the new year, a fresh start. And isn’t that what trends are all about?
● Sea & Asters’ Blush + Wood mini wood colorblock planter adds just a dash of pink to a desk or tabletop ($22, seaandasters.com). “Step outside of the mind-set of blue for boys and pink for girls,” Eiseman says. “These are not weak baby colors. They have a bit more strength than that, and more to say.”
● Hue Dinner Plates in blush or blue can stand on their own as a set — layer pink on pink, blue on blue — or be mixed and matched ($6 each, crateandbarrel.com). Monochromatic or polychromatic, “it’s all in the combination,” Eiseman says. Also included in the Hue collection: salad plates, mugs and bowls.
● Samantha Friedman, an interior designer in Bethesda, suggests using pastels in accessories and other items that are easy to change out, such as bedding. Replace conventional white sheets with Area Home’s Anton Pink cotton percale ($70-$145, lekkerhome.com). Want more pink? Pair the sheets with the Sally Blanket ($180-$235).
●“I have noticed a movement in the last couple of years toward lighter, airier interiors,” Eiseman says. If your dining room is feeling too heavy, refresh it with a lighter-colored set of chairs, such as the Paris Wood Side Chairs by Aeon Furniture ($92 for two, wayfair.com).
●Friedman likes Kate Spade New York’s Woodgrain Rug, which gives the faux bois pattern trend a feminine touch ($700-$2,075, katespade.com). It will add subtle color to a mostly white bedroom, soften a black-and-white living room or tone down a vibrant family room.
● Eiseman likes Rose Quartz and Serenity not only with bold colors and neutrals, but also with each other. “Blue says one thing, and rose says another. But when you bring them together, they intensify each other,” she says. “It’s like the perfect marriage.” Find them together in Zara Home’s Pastel Blue Polka-Dot Bolster ($50, zarahome.com).
● Trends are just like seasons: They feed our desire for variety and change. But if change comes slowly for you, “the tabletop is a wonderful place to experiment with color combinations,” Eiseman says. Start with a sky blue or blush 1-Compartment Cafeteria Tray and create a compelling vignette ($24, schoolhouseelectric.com).
● The petite, powdercoated Wally Task Lamp is Friedman’s pick for nightstands or desks, in blush or pale blue ($69, westelm.com). The diminutive size means that the color will add a subtle sense of calm to a bedroom.
●If you had any doubt that pastels could read modern, check out Ferm Living’s birch-and-oak Large Spear Tray ($120, burkedecor.com). Dusty rose meets navy meets seafoam green meets olive green.
● More and more of Friedman’s clients are requesting a white palette and neutral decor, turning away from the bold colors of recent years. “I think people want more of a neutral palette against which to decorate,” Friedman says. Try light colors in an ombre fashion with the Bottle Grinder Spice Mill Set ($60, leifshop.com). “Nude” pairs a light pink and peach; “blue” pairs cloud and storm blue. The set can grind spices, grains and seeds as well as salt and pepper.
● In many ways, pastels can behave as neutrals, perfect for pairing with a riot of colors. The Marin Blue Large Oval Platter in sky blue could complement almost any color of dinnerware or table linens ($40, crateandbarrel.com).
Roberts is a freelance writer. Her website is lindseymroberts.com.