Finish Folio: Pretty in Pastels

This color category may be hard to imagine as a finish for a long-term investment such as cabinetry. I can’t say that I’m going to argue that point, because for mainstream clients, this is a huge step away from the safety of white. In fact, in reference to our trend graphic, these colors would likely fall within the Trend Setters inner part of the shockwave, depending where in the country your market is and how unique your showroom is.

For example, we have a dealer in the coastal region just south of Tampa, FL, who has a beautifully bold “flamingo” pink hutch on display. When I spoke to Ana at Cabinet Design Studio, she mentioned a few things that went into her decision for selecting this color. First, their business is a boutique showroom, giving them the flexibility to impart trend forward individuality in their displays. Next, as mentioned, their market is Florida-coastal, which is known for cityscapes of pastel colors in not only pink, but also orange, green and light blue. So, for their clients, this is not highly unusual to see, and in fact, it makes Ana’s display feel familiar. That said, the color is intentionally bolder than the subtle pastels that folks in their area might be used to, as Ana wanted to be dramatically different – and give clients something to remember their showroom by. A real showroom stopper I’d say! (Thanks for sharing Ana!)

The point of pastels

As designers, we are all excited about the prospect of using color in a design, so that excitement can easily transfer to the right client. The key is to get a feel for where your client falls in the trend shockwave before you get too far down the color road. You would probably be surprised at just how many clients appreciate interesting color options vs. the mainstream selections of white or gray.

At KBIS, we showed a couple of displays in pastel colors featuring Bath Silhouettes, which were both unexpected and exciting! Part of the excitement comes from the buzz of the show, another part is, of course, the colors themselves, but maybe the best part as a Medallion designer is that we added these colors to our standard offering of Classic paints. No special orders, no custom paint lead-time or custom paint premium. And why we chose these colors is a bit more complex, but suffice it to say that our color development experts, future trend research and the onset of a new decade have a bit to do with it! It comes down to a few simple points: Pastels are refreshing, flirty and fun!

It may seem that choosing a color from this trio of pastels would then mean that the color is the most important aspect. However, the key to the success of color compositions lies in the complementary styling elements, which help create a cohesive style story.

You can see that our interior stylist chose bold wallcovering patterns, and I will be the first to admit that while they were not initially my taste, they became so innate to each scene; I could not imagine the design any other way. (If only I had a nickel for everyone who told me how they loved the whale wallpaper or pink vanity!) From the corresponding colors to the material and fixture selections, each element plays a part in the success of the style story.

design tip

Interior styling is a specialized trade that can enhance not only personal residences but (IMO) is even more crucial for showrooms. Stylists are skilled (and talented) at bringing the latest trends for your market to life within your beautiful displays. I strongly believe in the art of the showroom – to me, it should emulate a well-appointed parade/model dwelling: dreamy and aspirational, but reasonably attainable for your client. (Hear Suzanne on KBtalks – the NKBA podcast – talking about the “Neuroscience of Showrooms.”)

Beyond the bath

It’s pretty great to have the examples of Bath Silhouettes in a couple of our new pastels, and we’ve posted about a full kitchen in a custom color similar to Billow here. But if you’re still searching for some talking points on the topic, here are some other ideas on how pastels can move beyond the bath:

  • Pastels are historic. Throughout the 1900s there were glamorous displays of pastels that now give us a sense of nostalgia through retro style. So much so, that Smeg and Big Chill each have an entire category dedicated to it. Tasteful reproductions of historical references are always a win!
  • Pastels have the essence of being fresh, natural and new – like Spring! Pastels are soft, almost neutral, hints of hues that can bring a romantic and feminine flair to Modern or Contemporary designs, and a splash of something special to a beachy or Coastal theme.

On a Contemporary note, in the UK an Ikea-esque company, Wren Kitchens, introduced a “Macaroon Collection” of colors in 2018, both in slab and wide-frame shaker styles.

  • And last, but most importantly, there is a revival happening for pastels in fashion, interiors and yes, even kitchens and baths. “For a while, they were used mostly in shabby chic interiors, and coating distressed furniture in candy-colored hues. But something really interesting has happened in recent years: pastels have gone modern. It’s been fun to see them evolve with today’s current geo trend, and they’re increasingly combined in unusual vignettes, often with Scandinavian style.” (Decoist.com/Modern Pastel style)Medallion_Gray Owl_Blush_Bella_Pastel Inspiration collage

    For the right client, our Finish Folio pastel paints will be an exciting new proposition and your conversation will be less about explaining the why and more about choosing the perfect shade. The creation will be one tailored to their vision and distinct statement of style!

One Comment

  1. Heather argo

    I LOVE this! Thank you for elevating the understanding of how pastels are rising on trend. I think this really brings it home on the design application. And lastly, thank you for the “Shock-wave” introduction. This will explain a lot!

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