Pastel power: how to create an impact using soft shades

If subtlety is more your thing when it comes to colour, and plain old grey or neutrals just don’t cut it, we have some clever paint ideas with washed pastels that will make a quiet impact.

If neutrals are leaving you feeling a little flat, faded pastel tints have all the versatility of their plainer relatives, making them perfect for small spaces and suitable for country, simple Scandi or contemporary schemes.

Trick no. 1: Paint a circle frame

pastel dining area circle painted in manna ash with elgin dining chairs

(Image credit: TBC)

Paint on wall Ash White, £29.03, 2.5L, Vinyl Matt Emulsion, Dulux; Circle painted in Manna Ash, £35.50, 2.5L, Matt Emulsion, Fired Earth; Chairs, Elgin Dining Chairs, ready to paint, £200 for a set,
Laura Ashley.

Try this simple trick to instantly zone a dining area in a multifunctional room, or highlight a statement light fitting. Use a chalky-finish paint for a subtle stand out. Why not upcycle dining chairs using two colours of pastel paint for a new look.

Trick no. 2: Layer three colours

pastel home office with middle stripe bordon desk with chair and table lamp

(Image credit: TBC)

Top stripe, Swanley, Vinyl Matt Emulsion,
£25.84, 2.5L,
Albany Traditions; middle stripe, Bordon, Vinyl Matt Emulsion,
£25.84, 2.5L, Albany Traditions; bottom stripe, Duck Egg, Matt Emulsion,
£37.80 2.5L,
Laura Ashley.

Choose three tints of the same weight and keep the paint bands in line with shelving heights or furniture for a simple, streamlined effect. Graduate colour from darkest at the bottom to lightest at the top to make a room's ceiling seem higher.

Trick no 3: Highlight a feature

pastel living room with chimney breast wall skimming stone fire surround painted in iron grey and bookcase

(Image credit: TBC)

Back walls, Light Blue No22, Estate Emulsion, £36, 2.5L, Farrow & Ball; Chimney Breast Wall, Skimming Stone No241, Estate Emulsion,
£36, 2.5L, Farrow & Ball; Fire Surround painted in Iron Grey, 127, £38 2.5L, Matt Emulsion,
Sanderson; Bookcase,

BK3 Georgian bookcase, £527, Scumble Goosie

and Coffee Table, EM3/W, Empire coffee table (medium), £469, Scumble Goosie, both painted in Elephants Breath, 229, £51, 2.5L, Estate Eggshell, Farrow & Ball; Console Table EM7/W Empire console table, £249, Scumble Goosie, painted in Manna Ash 79, Eggshell, £50, 2.5L, Fired Earth.

Underline a fireplace as the focal point of a room by painting the alcoves either side in a mellow pastel colour and the chimney breast in a paler neutral. Be aware that a paint colour used in an alcove will always appear darker than it does in the tin.

Trick no.4: Roll on a pattern

pastel bedroom with bed with cushions bed side table with lamp photo frame

(Image credit: TBC)

Paint on wall, Kits Coty, Vinyl Matt Emulsion, £25.84, 2.5L, Albany Traditions; patterned painted in Pure Brilliant White, Matt, 2.5L, £20.99, Dulux; Roller, Tussock patterned paint roller, The Painted House, £20; wall applicator to use with roller, The Painted House, £12; paint on panelling, Pure Brilliant White, Matt, 2.5L, £20.99, Dulux.

Turn a plain, pastel-painted wall into a feature with a special pattern roller. Keep the pattern to a small area, such as above a dado rail or wooden panelling. When using a roller practise first, then use the paint roller free hand -it's a relaxed look, so imperfections don't matter.

Find more paint tricks to transform your room.