31 Light Color Palettes for Airy Designs

Light color palettes illustration

Some designers choose bright, saturated color palettes that command the audience’s attention. There’s nothing wrong with that strategy, but if you place too much emphasis on creating designs that are bold and eye-catching, you’ll miss the beautiful subtlety of lighter shades.

Whether you’re looking to liven up an existing design or create an entirely new one, the colors and palettes listed below can help.

Light Color Palettes

Prepare to be inspired by these beautiful light color palettes. Hex codes are included if you want to use the colors in your next design.

1. Garden Party

Garden Party color palette

Names: Mimi pink, Misty rose, Anti-flash white, Antique white, Desert sand
Hex Codes: #EDD1E0, #F0DEDE, #F1EFF0, #F8ECD7, #F8D5C1

What color do you imagine when you think of roses? Many people picture deep, rich red. But roses don’t have to be boldly colored to make an impact. The gentle, light pinks in the image above are proof!

This color palette isn’t necessarily monochromatic, but the colors are cohesive enough that they can be used to create a unified design. When you look closely, there’s more variation here than you might have thought — from dusty pinks to soft yellow to peachy orange, this is a palette with a lot of range!

2. Celebrate

Celebrate color palette

Names: Pale robin egg blue, Azure (web), Mimi pink, Beige, Straw
Hex Codes: #96DFCE, #DDECEF, #F8D5DB, #EFF1D9, #F1EB86

Any time you combine shades of pink, yellow, and turquoise, you’re bound to get a cheerful, energetic design. But if you use super-saturated versions of each color, you run the risk of making your design overwhelming for viewers.

This palette’s example image shows you a great way to use these bright colors while still maintaining balance. Pale Robin Egg Blue, Mimi Pink, and Straw aren’t super-saturated, but they’re much brighter than the background colors. When you place these three shades against a beachy backdrop of Web Azure and Beige, they have an opportunity to shine.

3. Sunglow

Sunglow color palette

Names: Baby powder, Cosmic latte, Cornsilk, Champagne, Champagne pink
Hex Codes: #FBFAF5, #F7F4E5, #F8EECA, #F6E2CA, #E8DAD7

Do you want your design to capture the warmth of a sunrise? This color palette can help you do it. While it isn’t quite a gradient, its soft shades are closely related enough that you can use them to create blurred or blended designs like the example image.

This palette can create a complete design on its own. But if you need to create an almost-neutral backdrop for text or a graphic, it’s great for that, too.

4. Poolside

Poolside color palette

Names: Tiffany blue, Celeste, Jagged ice, Mint green, Light cyan
Hex Codes: #87E0E0, #A0E7E5, #BAEDE6, #CEF2EE, #DBF9F9

As you can see with this color palette, many groups of lighter colors look great when arranged in a gradient. This group ranges from darker Tiffany Blue to pale Light Cyan, but it’s more interesting than your typical dark-to-light gradient. These blues contain different amounts of green, so there’s enough variety to really engage your audience.

If you’re working on a summer-focused design, you might consider this palette. It perfectly captures the various bluish shades you see when the sun hits a backyard pool!

5. Candied Sky

Candied Sky color palette

Names: Pale purple, Champagne, Tea rose (red), Mimi pink, Columbia blue
Hex Codes: #EADCED, #FFE7CD, #FFD2CD, #F8D4DE, #D2ECFB

This whimsical design looks like something you might find in the bedroom of a baby or young child. So if you work in the world of interior design and need to create a room for a child, this palette might just inspire you.

However, you don’t need to feel limited to kid-focused designs. Red Tea Rose, Champagne, and Mimi Pink form a lively trio perfect for sprinkling a little verve into summer designs. If you include Pale Purple and Columbia Blue as well, you can maintain the perfect balance of warm and cool.

6. Ethereal

Ethereal color palette

Names: Melon, Misty rose, Seasalt, Alice blue, Pale azure
Hex Codes: #FEB1B3, #FDD9DB, #F8F9FB, #D9E7F4, #99D9F9

Fantastical illustrations like the one in the example image can really bring a color palette to life. But you don’t have to be working on an abstract illustration of clouds to benefit from this palette’s great balance. Because it includes dark/light pairs of pink and blue, it’s a great way to prevent your design from looking too warm or too cool.

This palette is also useful for creative colorblocking. You might try including Misty Rose insets on a Melon background and Alice Blue accents on a Pale Azure background.

7. Sand and Surf

Sand and Surf color palette

Names: Sunset, Almond, Anti-flash white, Alice blue, Baby blue
Hex Codes: #F2CB9E, #FEE7D2, #F1F5F8, #D5E4F4, #9DCBE4

Few things say “summer” like a glimpse of the blue ocean and a sandy shore. Even if your project doesn’t explicitly show a view of the ocean (or any other body of water), this group of colors will almost certainly make your audience think of sand between their toes.

Many summer-inspired designs include more saturated shades of yellow and blue. If you’re still going for a seasonal vibe but want to tone things down a bit, this lighter, airier collection is for you.

8. Morning Mist

Morning Mist color palette

Names: Silver, Lily white, Seasalt, Platinum, Dun
Hex Codes: #C7D4D5, #DFE8E9, #FAFAFA, #EAEBE6, #E3CCA9

If you’ve ever done work in the interior design space, you know that the combination of pale blue and pale neutrals is a popular one. But did you know this general type of palette translates nicely to digital design as well?

Many neutral palettes are soothing, but this one is especially so. Despite the names, Silver and Lily White look like gray-tinged light blues. The cool white of Seasalt and light gray of Platinum lean into that tranquil vibe. Dun might seem like an unexpected addition, but it’s helpful for adding balancing warmth. Of course, if you’d rather keep your design completely cool, you can always just use the other shades.

9. Rose Gold

Rose Gold color palette

Names: Melon, Tea rose (red), Pale dogwood, Papaya whip, Cream
Hex Codes: #FDB5B7, #FEC7C5, #FEDACB, #FFF0D1, #FCFED0

The colors in this palette aren’t metallics. But together, they capture the essence of Rose Gold, an eye-catching (and trendy!) metallic shade used in jewelry, interior design, and more. You of course don’t have to use the shades to mimic the look of the metal — when arranged carefully, they also can work nicely in gradient or ombre-style designs.

10. Retrospective

Retrospective color palette

Names: Powder blue, Azure (web), Pink lavender, Lavender blush, Periwinkle
Hex Codes: #A8C8EB, #D5E6E7, #EAB3CE, #FAE7EB, #BFBAD9

Light shades of pink, blue, and green might seem like a throwback to the 1950s, but they’re equally at home in modern designs. Because of their light, dreamy nature, these shades are ideal for swirling designs. For instance, if you’re working on a project with a watercolor effect, this is a great palette to pick.

11. Blueprint

Blueprint color palette

Names: Dark sky blue, Columbia blue, Alice blue, Light blue, Sky blue
Hex Codes: #94BDCF, #C2DAE6, #DAEBF2, #B0DEED, #80CCE3

Blue is the most popular favorite color in the world. So if you create a design that’s all or mostly blue, your audience will almost certainly like it! In this palette, Alice Blue is light enough to be used as a background shade for text or anything else you’d like to feature.

Because some of these colors are lighter than others, this palette also offers a wealth of opportunities for layering. When you look closely at the example design, you can see that the shapes appear to be translucent! Alternatively, you can create 3D effects with strategic shading.

12. Rainbow Mist

Rainbow Mist color palette

Names: Tea rose (red), Pale dogwood, Lemon chiffon, Tea green, Celeste
Hex Codes: #F8CED0, #FEDACA, #FEF0C2, #C2F3D3, #C2F3F1

Pastels are great for creating spring-inspired designs. But as this example image shows you, you also can use them to create fun, modern designs that pop.

This particular palette is a great choice if you love rainbow — it includes most of the colors! But because these shades are so light, they might remind you of the soft, washed-out look of rainbows that are just forming.

13. Sparkle

Sparkle color palette

Names: Periwinkle, Celeste, Celadon, Vanilla, Carnation pink
Hex Codes: #B6B3F2, #B0EDF0, #BAF1B4, #FCEDA8, #FCA9C9

This color palette is fairly similar to the one above, but it leans a little cooler — Periwinkle, Celeste, and Celadon are all cool shades. If you’re working on a rainbow-inspired design like the example image above, you may find that blending the colors into a gradient as shown is the best way to go. Similarly, watercolor-like designs are a great way to achieve a dreamy aesthetic.

Of course, blending these colors into one another isn’t your only option — try this palette in a pattern of vertical stripes!

14. Goldleaf

Goldleaf color palette

Names: Champagne, Old lace, Floral white, Cornsilk, Dutch white
Hex Codes: #EEDBBB, #F3EBDC, #FCFAF1, #F9F1D7, #EFE0B7

Sometimes, designs that prominently feature gold just look gaudy. But at other times, gold adds just enough of a glamorous touch. This palette falls into the latter category. None of the five featured colors are metallics, but with a little careful shading, you can easily use them to create a metallic effect.

The large proportion of Floral White used in the example image also helps simulate the glow of gold. Because the darker shades blend so seamlessly into it, the Floral White background looks like the glow of reflected light.

15. Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge color palette

Names: Azure (web), Mint green, Celeste, Electric blue, Tiffany blue
Hex Codes: #EAFCFC, #CDF8F7, #AAEFF0, #82E5E8, #5ADCDE

Need to create a misty blue glow for a current project? If so, you’re in luck! This refreshing lineup of cool blues is great for creating gradient designs like the one in the picture.

You can use these five shades to create a complete design, but the example image suggests a transformative addition: a deeper, grounding shade. The blue-black foreground both expands the gradient and adds welcome contrast.

16. Spring Rose

Spring Rose color palette

Names: Tea rose (red), Misty rose, Linen, Wheat, Light orange
Hex Codes: #F5C4BE, #FCE1DA, #FBF1E6, #FFE9C2, #F7D3B3

Peach-like shades and shades of salmon pink are somewhat similar colors. But despite that fact, you don’t often see them used in the same color palettes. This abstract, unusual design pulls them together in an alluring, near-monochromatic combination.

If you do choose to use this palette, the best way to do it is to emphasize either the salmon-like shades (Red Tea Rose and Misty Rose) or the peachy shades (Wheat and Light Orange). Then use the others as an accent. The example image does this well.

17. Seaside Surprise

Seaside Surprise color palette

Names: Mimi pink, Misty rose, Celeste, Vanilla, Jasmine
Hex Codes: #FCD4DF, #F4E0E1, #AEE9ED, #FFF5BA, #FFEB94

Some seaside-inspired designs use realistic shades of sand and marine blue. Others, like this one, take a lively and cartoon-inspired approach. The combination of yellow and blue creates lively contrast, and the soft accents of Mimi Pink and Misty Rose add some interest.

This interesting mix of colors is also great for patterns. Try creating a Celeste backdrop with abstract shapes of the other colors. Because there’s a light/dark pairing of both pink and yellow, you’ll be able to create some real depth with this technique.

18. Pastel Flame

Pastel Flame color palette

Names: Atomic tangerine, Champagne, Isabelline, Azure (web), Pink lavender
Hex Codes: #F8AC8C, #FBE4C4, #F9F4F0, #D2E4E8, #DEACD1

If you’re creating a flame-like design like the one in the photo, you might not think to color it with pastels. But as you can see, this unusual technique is perfect for making your design stand out.

The example design is somewhat unusual in that it includes both flame-like warm colors (like Atomic Tangerine and Champagne) and cooler shades like Web Azure and Pink Lavender. Thanks to that combination, you can shape the warm/cool balance of the design to your liking. Add more Atomic Tangerine and Champagne for a more energetic feel, or emphasize Web Azure and Pink Lavender if you want to cool the flames a bit.

19. Cloudburst

Cloudburst color palette

Names: Isabelline, Linen, Lavender (web), Mint cream, Anti-flash white
Hex Codes: #F6F5F1, #EFE7DD, #D6CEDB, #DFE8E3, #ECF2F0

Some of the color palettes on the list are lighter than others. This one includes some very pale shades, but if you look closely at them, you’ll find that there’s more variety than you may have initially thought.

For example, Isabelline and Anti-Flash White are two shades of white. But Isabelline has very faint gray undertones. Anti-Flash White has just a hint of blue. Mint Cream is a shade that works nicely with these colors, as it’s just slightly darker. You can round out this versatile grouping with a bit of warm-leaning Linen and cooler Web Lavender.

20. Dreamland

Dreamland color palette

Names: Pale purple, Alice blue, Mint cream, Antique white, Misty rose
Hex Codes: #E0D6EE, #E0E8F2, #E3EDE4, #FEEDD9, #FEDADA

Color palettes like this one are reminiscent of pink sunsets. Alice Blue is the shade of the sky at the end of the day. Antique White and Misty Rose give you the soft yellows and pinkish-orange you so often see in sunsets. When the sun sets, the layering of pinkish clouds over the still-blue sky can create a purplish cast, and Pale Purple captures that exact color perfectly.

Even if you don’t use this palette to create a sunset-related design, its mesmerizing character is sure to draw your audience’s eye!

21. Mountain Sunset

Mountain Sunset color palette

Names: Peach, Papaya whip, Ivory, Mint green, Powder blue
Hex Codes: #FEC494, #FEF0CD, #FFFEEB, #D8F5F3, #A6C3D6

Here’s another sunset-inspired color palette. But while many of these palettes mimic the smooth gradient you see across the clouds in the sky, this one goes in a different direction. Blue and orange are complementary shades, so Peach and Powder Blue (and to a lesser extent, Papaya Whip and Mint Green) create a burst of contrast. And like some of the other light palettes on the list, this one does well with blue-black or another dark grounding color.

22. Futurism

Futurism color palette

Names: Periwinkle, Light cyan, Non photo blue, Pale purple, Lavender pink
Hex Codes: #D2CAFC, #D9F5FF, #ABECFF, #F9ECFE, #FDC4F3

Some combinations of purple, blue, and pink can look downright mystical. And when you use them in an artful design like the one you see above, that character really comes out!

This color grouping is made entirely of light colors, but some colors are a bit lighter than others. Light Cyan looks like a paler version of Non-Photo Blue, and Pale Purple looks a lot like a washed-out Lavender Pink. These color pairs are great for shading — try using them to create vivid, 3D-shaded text!

23. Two Scoops

Two Scoops color palette

Names: Mint green, Lemon chiffon, Non photo blue, Fairy tale, Nyanza
Hex Codes: #C4F2E8, #FFF7C8, #BDEBEF, #FFCDDA, #CCEBD3

This cheerful palette is a good choice for anyone creating summer-inspired designs. Non-Photo Blue is just about the same color as the sky, and Lemon Chiffon captures the warm glow of sunlight. Nyanza is a soft, grass-like green.

There’s a lot of variety here, but the palette itself is nicely balanced. Lemon Chiffon, Non-Photo Blue, and Fairy Tale are essentially more dilute versions of the primary colors. And when you combine this versatile trio with two different shades of green, there’s no limit to the beautiful designs you can create!

24. Spring Sun

Spring Sun color palette

Names: Cherry blossom pink, Mimi pink, Seashell, Misty rose, Jasmine
Hex Codes: #F3A9B1, #F8DEE9, #FBF1EF, #F5DED9, #FEE277

If you didn’t have the example image as inspiration, you might think that this color palette is a strange one. After all, the super-vivid yellow of Jasmine looks a little out of place among this design’s many shades of pink. But as you see above, when you use it alongside muted yellow shades, it’s great for creating metallic, gold-leaf-like effects.

If these effects aren’t quite right for your design, you may still find this palette useful —you can simply use the four pinkish shades you see above.

25. Watercolor

Watercolor color palette

Names: Ghost white, Alice blue, Columbia blue, Uranian blue, Powder blue
Hex Codes: #ECF0F9, #D7E3F1, #C0DAF1, #AFD1EC, #A3C6E5

Watercolor-like designs never seem to go out of style. And in this case, the watercolor design is the perfect way to demonstrate the smooth gradient between these different shades of blue.

The example image also gives you a suggestion for expanding the palette a bit. If you look to the left of the picture, you can see that a blend of very light blues and white can work nicely. But if you look to the right, you can see that adding a touch of dark blue goes a long way toward grounding the design and adding some variety.

26. Red Sky at Night

Red Sky at Night color palette

Names: Wisteria, Plum (web), Cherry blossom pink, Apricot, Sunset
Hex Codes: #CF9BDD, #E5A0D7, #FBA8B6, #FEBFA1, #FCD392

Some sunsets have intensely saturated shades of bright red and yellow. They’re certainly beautiful, but there’s something to be said for lighter sunsets, too. This palette captures the beauty of soft pinks, sherbet oranges, and cool-tinted purples.

Because these five colors can blend so seamlessly into one another, they’re ideal for creating gradient designs (or of course, realistic sunsets like the one shown above). You can really get creative with this palette — it’s hard to go wrong with it!

27. Sidewalk Chalk

Sidewalk Chalk color palette

Names: Thistle, Alice blue, Lemon chiffon, Lavender blush, Fairy tale
Hex Codes: #E2CBE1, #E1EEF7, #FBF4BD, #FAE7E8, #F7CCDF

Not every light color counts as a pastel. But no list of light color palettes is complete without a nice collection of pastels. If you ever played with sidewalk chalk as a kid, this group of colors will probably look familiar!

Like some of the other palettes on the list, this one can be adjusted to be warmer or cooler depending on the effect you want. The example image’s large proportion of blue makes it lean slightly cooler, but the little bursts of Lemon Chiffon and Fairy Tale add a touch of energy.

28. Blue Sunshine

Blue Sunshine color palette

Names: Flax, Old lace, Light blue, Alice blue, Silver
Hex Codes: #F7E091, #F5EFE3, #BAD4D3, #E5ECF2, #C3C5C4

Together, blue and yellow form a pleasant combination — maybe because they’re so reminiscent of the colors of sky and sun. However, this blend is a little different than your typical blue/yellow combination.

Often, you see pastel yellow paired with soft, powder blue. But in this palette, Light Blue (the main shade used in the example image) has a dusty, muted cast that sets it apart. This grouping is perfect if you want your design (digital, interior, etc.) to have a light, airy look, but you’d rather not have a design made completely of pastels.

29. Butterflies

Butterflies color palette

Names: Plum (web), Pale purple, Sunglow, Cream, Maize
Hex Codes: #D6A1D9, #F8D9FA, #FDCE67, #FCFBB8, #FBE665

In many parts of the world, spring and summer days are filled with butterflies flitting from one flower to the next. This cheerful color palette captures the glow of the sun, the orange of butterfly wings, and the light shades of purple you often find in rolling fields of wildflowers.

Despite the two types of purple, this palette leans very warm. If you want to cool it down just a bit, consider adding a medium or dark shade of leafy green to the mix.

30. Peach Roses

Peach Roses color palette

Names: Peach, Champagne pink, Melon, Misty rose, Salmon pink
Hex Codes: #FFBB9B, #FFDDCA, #FFBCB1, #FED8D5, #FFA2AA

The pink and pink-adjacent shades of this palette come with a wealth of associations — they’re connected to peaches, champagne, melon, roses, and salmon. But despite that impressive diversity, the colors here are still very closely related! A unified palette like this one is the perfect setup for a monochromatic design like the one pictured.

You can have a lot of fun with blending these colors together. The differences may be subtle, but as you can see, the right color gradient can add plenty of depth to even simple designs.

31. Featherweight

Featherweight color palette

Names: Mauve, Lavender pink, Columbia blue, Celeste, Apricot
Hex Codes: #E0B7F4, #F2B5E1, #BFDEF3, #B9E9E9, #FFC9B4

The example design above is doubly calming — it’s soft both in color and subject matter! And like many other palettes on the list, this one can be adjusted to create warm-leaning or cool-leaning designs.

Take a look at the example design. Mauve and Columbia Blue are placed around the center of the design, and they also take up a larger portion of it than warmer Lavender Pink and Apricot. As a result, the design is largely cool. But if you’d like a more energetic design, you could simply switch Mauve and Columbia Blue with Lavender Pink and Apricot.

Using Light Colors in Your Design

Many designers turn to light shades when they need a background color. Light shades are of course great for backgrounds, but they’re so much more than that!

Not sure how to make the most of light, airy colors in your designs? Here are some tips to help you get started.

Don’t Feel Limited to Pastels

Nobody would argue the fact that pastels are light colors. But a color can be light without necessarily being a pastel. For example, very new leaves and buds are usually various shades of light green, but you probably wouldn’t consider them to be pastels.

A quick skim through the color palettes above will show you a mix of pastel and non-pastel colors. Essentially, all pastels are light colors, but not all light colors are pastels. You can feel free to use both in your designs!

Connect Color and Mood

Many light colors are pale enough that people consider them calming. But just like more saturated shades, some light colors are more calming than others.

It might help to think of a design with light colors as a washed-out version of a darker palette. For instance, red, orange, and yellow are warm colors — regardless of whether they’re bold and saturated or soft and light. A design with pastel shades of each might be less energizing than a more saturated design, but it’s not going to be as calm as a design with light cool colors. Of course, don’t forget to consider the individual mood associations that come with each shade!

Don’t Shy Away From Contrast

Depending on the project, you may find that a design made entirely of light colors is appropriate. But you don’t need to feel limited that way. Light colors offer you the opportunity to unlock the power of contrast.

In a lot of cases (at least when you’re making text-based designs), this looks like a light background with darker accents. But sometimes, your design will look even more striking with a dark backdrop and lighter elements in the foreground.

That’s just one way to bring in contrast — the bottom line here is that carefully combining dark shades and light shades can result in wonderfully dynamic designs.

Never Underestimate the Power of Light Colors

Light colors might not have the same intense energy as more saturated shades. But that doesn’t mean they can’t have a transformative effect on your designs! Whether you’re looking to create a pale, dreamy color scheme or a high-contrast blend of dark and light shades, lighter colors like the ones above can give your current project a fresh new look — or even inspire you to create something entirely new.