Decorating with sun-bleached colours – 10 of the best ideas

Seek out colours that look as if they've been kissed by the sun for a pale and interesting take on decorating. Find more great room decorating ideas at

If you are looking to create an air of calm, then this is the way to go. Textiles with an aged appearance have an inviting quality – the chairs that create this living room corner seem to gently whisper ‘take a seat’ for some serious relaxation. The true (and practical) beauty of using sun-bleached colours is that they all tend to blend, so even bringing the look to a more dynamic place by mixing up your fabrics still appears refined.

1/10 Sun-bleached stripe upholstered chairs

sun bleached stripe upholstered chairs

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Chair (left)
Pimpernel & Partners

Chair (right)
Laura Ashley

2/10 Neutral bedroom with whitewashed walls

bedroom with wooden wall and white flooring and bed

(Image credit: Christopher Drake)

While an all-white bedroom is a bold design choice, it may sometimes create a feeling of coolness that you really don't want in what should be your go-to comfort zone. Look to whitewashed wood panelling to instantly add a layer of warmth. Not only does this create a textured feeling, but it eliminates the need for a headboard. Turn up the heat by layering the look with mixed up neutral bedding with the occasional pop of colour and fleecy textures. Divine.

Similar Shaker peg rails
Tumble-Home at Not On The High Street
Similar throw

3/10 Sun-worn pottery and frames

sun worn pottery and frames

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Cleveland)

If you don't want the long-term investment of sun-bleached upholstery or wall effects, look to decorative accessories to help create a less permanent version of the trend in your living room. Especially when the look you are going for is buried-treasure chic. Nothing says 'ancient artefact' quite like sun-worn clay pottery. You can almost feel the dust coming off of these beautiful vessels that need neither flower nor foliage to be truly alive with style.

Similar frames
Similar pottery
Contemporary Applied Arts

4/10 Window seat with washed-out curtains and soft furnishings

window seat with washed out curtains and soft furnishings

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jon Day)

Pale doesn't have to mean plain, especially when it comes to the textiles that have that sun-bleached look. The fabric used for these curtains in particular is a modern take on an over-exposed, inky effect. What may have once been considered a printing mistake is now celebrated for its ability to add boldness without being brash. Perfect for the relaxing feel of this window seat, where the view is enhanced (instead of encumbered) by the washed-out prints and textiles.

Similar fabric
John Lewis
Similar velvet cushion
Graham & Green

5/10 Woollens in a sun-bleached palette

woollens in a sun bleached palette

(Image credit: Future PLC/Poly Wreford)

Evoke the effects of summery weather all year round in your living room via winter woollens that have that sun-kissed look. What better way to counterbalance heavier fabrics than by choosing a palette of colours that look as if they have spent many a month basking on a yacht in the Med. Greys, creams and taupes are taken to a lighter, almost marl-effect place where warmth and cool perform the perfect duet. Still wintery, but with the light and powdery feeling of that perfect chalet view.

Loop cushions
Anne Kyyro Quinn
Knit pouffe

6/10 A sun-bleached colourful living room

living room with wooden flooring and sofa set with cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

Not just for neutrals, apply the sun-kissed principle to your preferred palette of bolder colours for a toned-down take. In this living room, the richness of reds and coolness of blues are taken down a few notches on the intensity scale and made powdery without being pastel-sweet. The colours maintain their integrity while taking on a playful incarnation of their serious selves and are perfect when paired up with the worn woods and earthy ceramics.

Nordic House

7/10 Sun-bleached cushions and textiles

cushions and textiles

(Image credit: Future PLC/Tim Young)

Go back to the roots of this fabulous faded look by exploring the colours and textures at their most authentic. Sun-bleached is a truly global look, with foundations on every continent and in every form. Look to French vintage grain sacks, Indian dhurries or mid-west American kitchen linens for the perfect inspiration. Faded type and tone-on-tone stripes enhance the look and amp up the already interesting incarnation of natural and neutral fabrics.

Leather trunk
Feather & Black

8/10 Rustic living room with chalky black wall

living room with grey sofa with cushions and side stool

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

Don't mistake the stunning look of washed-out black for grey. If anything, black that has the chalky effect of being worn and weathered works harder that the average colour. Still black at its heart, it remains a monochromatic hero that can be paired with white for boldness. But then layer it with natural neutrals, as seen in this living room, and it absorbs their warmth and reflects the light in a gentle, whisper-soft way that is serious and subdued in equal measure.

Similar lighting
Similar sofa
Marks & Spencer

9/10 Washed-out geometric blue tile floor

room with blue and white tiles flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jake Curtis)

Floor tiles are the perfect way to channel the 'washed-out' look into your every day and take tiles beyond the limits of a bathroom. Especially when you want to add or enhance your love of colour but don't want to invest in a look that may date. Here, blue is sun-kissed into submission and becomes the perfect way to tone with your choice of furnishings but avoid too big a statement. The beauty of a washed-out coloured tile floor is that it plays many roles; bold when it needs to be, soft and sun-dappled when the right light strikes.

Chair fabric
Jim Thompson Fabrics
Floor tiles
Fired Earth

10/10 Neutral bedroom with lime-washed floor

neutral bedroom with lime washed floor with double bed

(Image credit: Future PLC/Armelle Habib)

For a lighter look underfoot, bring out the natural beauty of wood grain in an alternative way via a lime-washed treatment. The whiteness of the grain enhances the varying tones of the wood in a way that remains warm, but with a chalky depth in place of the expected look of stained or varnished flooring - great for keeping a bedroom look light and airy.

Similar bed
Stool (used as side table)
Aram Store