paint swatches

Photo: Rachel Mae Smith

1 of 5
Get Colorful with Pastels

If you're looking to transition away from what I like to call "apartment beige" but aren't quite ready to go over-the-top bold, pastels are a nice, subtle way to add color to your entire home. Unlike other colors that start with a base and then add a small amount of white or black to be lighter or darker, pastels start with a white/cream base and add only a small amount of color to it, making these colors much paler. They're desaturated without being completely white, making them the perfect solution if you want just a hint of a hue.

Even though pastels tend to read as soft—and they're not as intimidating as bold or bright colors—it's completely understandable to be hesitant about them. If you get the wrong shade, your home could end up looking like an oversized nursery. But I'm your color tour guide and I would never put you in that situation! To keep your home sophisticated and oh so adult, here are some go-to choices that are sure to give you great results.

MILLENNIAL PINK: Certainly the "it" color of (apparently) an entire generation, but to me it's still a color classic. This soft rosy hue can be paired with a warm gray or white for a light and airy look, or with black and gold for a more dramatic effect.

POWDER BLUE: Pair this cool tint with richer colors like navy and red to avoid making rooms look like a baby nursery.

MINT: Fresh and classic! For a monochromatic look, try painting mint alongside hunter green and gold. Mint also looks great with whites.

PEACH: A major step up from traditional beige—it has much more warmth and brightness. Contrast this color with rich brown furniture or floors.