Get a new look with washed pastels

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  • Perfect for spring, pretty nearly neutral shades are the ideal palette to give your home a quick style upgrade. Here are some great ideas how to use them

    Faded pastels have all the benefits of neutrals – versatility, mixability, suitability for small space – but with a little added extra. Neutral can sometimes look flat, but these, especially when creatively combined, will create a three-dimensional look that can be anything from fresh and pretty to ‘practical beautality’.

    Paint a circle frame in your dining area

    Instantly ‘zone’ a dining area in a multifunctional room with this simple trick. Use a paint that has a chalky finish for your circle, so it subtly stands out. This is also a great way to highlight a statement light fitting. Finally, upcycle dining chairs using two shades of pastel paint to give them a charming new look.

    Wall painted in Ash White matt emulsion, £24.49 for 2.5ltr, Paint Mixing range, Dulux. Circle painted in Manna Ash matt emulsion, £35.50 for 2.5ltr, Fired Earth

    Layer three different colours in an office

    This is a great idea if you don’t want a blank wall, but also don’t want it busy with pattern, which will distract you while working or studying. Pick three tones of the same weight and keep the bands of paint in line with simple white shelving for a smart, streamlined, easy-on-the-eye effect. Graduate the colour, with the darkest strip at the bottom to the lightest at the top, to make the ceiling in the room seem higher.

    Wall painted in (top) Swanley vinyl matt emulsion; (middle) Bordon vinyl matt emlsion; both £25.84 for 2.5ltr, Traditions range, Albany; (bottom) Duck Egg matt emulsion, £30 for 2.5ltr, Laura Ashley

    Highlight a feature in the living room

    Make a fireplace the focal point of a room by painting the chimney breast in a pale neutral, then give the alcoves either side of it a coat in a darker pastel shade. To make the fireplace stand out even more, paint the surround a darker shade to create a visual ‘layer’.

    Chimney breast painted in Skimming Stone Estate Emulsion; alcove walls painted in Light Blue Estate Emulsion; both £38 for 2.5ltr, Farrow & Ball

    Roll pattern onto a bedroom wall

    Transform a plain, pastel-painted wall into a standout feature with a special pattern roller. Keep the patteren to a small area, such as above a dado rail or wooden paneling. When you are rolling on a pattern, make sure you practise first on some scrap lining paper, then use the paint roller freehand – it’s a relaxed look, so imperfections don’t matter.

    Wall painted in Kits Coty vinyl matt emulsion, £25.84 for 2.5ltr, Traditions range, Albany. Tussock paint roller, £20; wall applicator (used with roller), £12; both The Painted House

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