When we see color being used in home decor, we see pastel hues — soft blues, pinks and yellow — far less than we see bold primaries or deep autumnal colors. And it’s a shame, because using pastels at home is a real opportunity. Pastels feel airy and fresh. They soothe. Because they are used so infrequently, they can feel very modern. And yet, at the same time, they harken back to an era (the 1950s) when pastels were all the rage. We say, let’s have fun with pastels at home!
What we love about the room above and below, is the use of pastels (the couch and lampshades) with bold red and a big fat blast of black. Mixing pastels with bolder, dramatic colors gives the room an edge and point of view it would not otherwise have. It feels hip and playful.
The same principle is work in the children’s playroom, where a bright canary yellow pendant lamp acts as an exclamation point to the luscious pink floors. Note that pattern is used in both rooms, in the form of wall paper and murals.
The same principle of bold clashing color works particularly well here:
The dining room below has fun with pastel chairs — each painted in a different easter egg color.
Below, soft blues and lavenders are used in the more typical way, to create a restful and tranquil bedroom.
In the living room below, color blocking pastels suggests a modern and beachy feel. Think Miami.
Pastels in the kitchen have long been a hit. One easy way to introduce pastels into your home is to opt for a pastel retro fridge, which will instantly glam up your kitchen.
Of course, there is no need to restrict yourself to just the fridge. There are all sorts of smaller kitchen appliances and furnishings that can offer a pastel touch.
Below, aqua is used in a kitchen in a very modern, dramatic way.
So what’s the key to using pastels well?
- Realize that they don’t have to be cutesy or feminine. Add touches of black or a primary color to keep things fresh.
- Create drama by using just one pastel accent. That might be a retro fridge, a kitchen island, or a pastel couch.
- Pair a pastel with gray when you’d like a space to feel modern and anchored.
- Consider using a very pale pastel as a neutral. Instead of beige walls, opt for a soft peach or a pale yellow.
- If you’re afraid of going too pastel, opt for a color that almost borders on gray, such as a lavender or blue with gray undertones.
- Toughen up pastel by using it in conjunction with industrial materials, such as concrete, steel, exposed brick and wood.
Pastels may not be for everyone, but that’s part of the fun!
A couple of weeks ago, we offered some spring cleaning tips to aid you in decluttering and organizing your home. This week, we’re suggesting you take it one step further: why not declutter your mind? That is, toss out the standard paradigms and usual conceptions of what your home is supposed to look like. As you open up, take a good look at your home furnishings. You may quickly realize that there are plenty of items that we’ve always been told were necessary, but that we can actually happily live without. Let’s take a quick tour, shall we?
In the Living Room
Furniture: Do you really need two end tables and a coffee table? Probably not. Just one surface near the couch may be enough. And sometimes, eliminating a coffee table altogether can make a living room feel more spacious. Also, in many homes, it’s considered standard to have two couches, or a couch and two chairs. But is this really necessary? You can get by with just a couch, and pull up a dining chair or just some floor pillows when someone comes to visit. The living room below has eliminated the couch completely.
Movies and Music: Get Netflix and eliminate the DVD rack and all the electronic equipment. Stream music online.
Magazines and Books: Get the digital versions of your magazines and pare down on books you never re-read. Use the library instead!
Tchotkes and Decorations: Eliminate a few throw pillows and dispense with the figurines and statuettes on every flat surface. Enjoy the sensation of open space instead.
In the Dining Room
Tableware: Ditch all the fancy sets of silver and special wine glasses. Use one serviceable set of wine glasses, silverware and water glasses.
Buffets, sideboards and china cabinets: If you ditch the fancy plates and china, chances are you can also ditch the fancy china cabinet you would have to hold all these things.
Table Linens: You can have too many. All you need is a couple of sets of place mats for everyday use, and perhaps a tablecloth or two for gatherings.
Holiday ware: You can get by in life without special Christmas plates and Halloween mugs. Make a holiday table special with flowers and holiday arrangements instead.
In the Kitchen
Rarely used small appliances: In some houses, food processors never get used. If yours is one of these, toss it. Same goes for any other kitchen gadget or appliance that rarely sees the light of day.
Highly-specialized gadgets: Many people live quite happily without pasta makers, garlic presses or bread makers.
In the Bedroom
Extra sets of blankets and sheets: You don’t need nearly as many as you think! Just one extra set is enough to do the trick per bed.
Chairs: One chair can be useful in a bedroom but more than that becomes overkill.
Exercise equipment: Has your elliptical machine become an expensive clothes hanger?
In the Home Office
Desktop Computer: You probably don’t need both a desktop computer and laptop. Eliminate one to streamline.
File cabinets: These days, you can scan all your documents and keep them on a computer. For anything that needs to be kept as a paper copy, use a simple binder instead which can fit onto a simple and accessible bookshelf.
Printer: A lot of people never use theirs. If this is your case, free up some space by donating it.
The takeaway is simple: we can do without a whole lot of stuff that used to be considered mandatory. Welcome to the modern world!
Dom Vicoso is a delightfully playful vacation villa in Minas Gerais by Brasil Arquitetura.
Very cute but curious white grillwork lets in air, while keeping out… lions, tigers and panthers?
The same white grillwork is repeated along a clerestory on the other side of the house – overlooking an almost mythical scene.
The villa employs the quirkiest combination of the magical and the wonderful – timber pillars are mounted on rocks and wood is stained hot pink.
Red is the feature color throughout the old farmhouse kitchen with traditional wood stove.
A rock keeps the dining table – from flying away?
The use of friendly red accents and the white-washed walls is contrasted by rustic timbers used as poles.
There’s the first hint of this witty use of colour from outside.
Masonry walls of lime-washed brick are used both for the larger public living space and the smaller sleeping block.
For hot nights, an outdoor hammock offers lazing in the open air.
The rugged landscape of the Serra da Mantiqueira is the remote setting for the playful farmhouse.
The house is set on the site of a 100 year old coffee farm, and has an old farmhouse oven outside so the breezes will help dissipate heat from cooking.
By contrast with the lime washed walls and red trim, a traditional stacked stone wall encloses a grassy carpet, creating a ‘room’ feeling outdoors.
It all adds up to a cosy and friendly family vacation home in an incredible setting.
Even aside from the charming and witty design, the view is almost out of this world. A magic place.