Pondering over pastels: how to successfully use pastels

This week we're going to look at using pastels and the wonderful effects that can be created using these softer and more natural tones within your home. Interior designers often run up against the problem of rooms that look and feel cramped and crowded.

Often, it is more than just a look and feel; many rooms are simply too small to do everything that one might like, in terms of interior decoration. In fact, space is generally the most inhibiting aspect of any living room. No matter how spacious the lounge, it is never quite large enough.

That is a maxim that any novice interior decorator should take to heart – more often than not, it applies to any other room, as well. Before you go get your sledgehammer and start knocking down walls in your cramped problem room, consider this invaluable tip of the trade: though you cannot change the actual dimensions of the lounge, you can make the space look more voluminous by cleverly selecting your paint and soft furnishing colours.

As a general rule, light coloured paints are the saving grace for the owners of woefully undersized rooms. To understand why, we must step outside of the world of interior design and take a brief foray into the domain of physics, particularly, the physics of light. We need not concern ourselves with photons zipping across the cosmos at 299,792,458 meters per second or be able to grasp the implications of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle.

If Schrödinger’s cat should wander by we shall simply keep it away from the upholstery and curtains, then send it on its way! All we need to know of physics is that, whereas dark colours absorb light, light colours reflect it. As a result, rooms painted with light colours are brighter and look more spacious. Painting the walls white is an obvious solution to our undersized room problem. However, an even more pronounced effect can be created by painting walls with light neutral colours or soft pastels.

This gives you a broad colour palette to work with, allowing you to open your room up without having to resort to sterile white ceilings and walls. The simple act of painting the room in brighter colours is inexpensive, requires little technical skill, and takes very little time to accomplish – the perfect solution for the average home owner and the novice interior designer to accomplish.

The second aspect is the clever use and colour of soft furnishings, furniture and flooring. White rugs placed on any type of flooring will give the illusion of more light and space even in the smallest of rooms and blend perfectly with all pretty pastel wall and soft furnishing colours. Pastels at your windows will also help to maximise natural light.

Use pastel silk curtain fabric or tab top voile curtains in conjunction with pastel coloured blinds to crate a stunning window treatment which isn't shouting to be the centre of attention. Repainting your living room creates the illusion of more space, which makes the room more pleasant to be. However, it does not actually increase the amount of space you have to work with in any way. Unless you are planning to tear down some walls and build and addition to your existing lounge, the best way to take on the space issue is make the best use of the space you have.

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