31 Pastel Color Palettes for Soft Designs

Pastel color palettes illustration

Pastels, also known as “tints,” are properly defined as colors with high value and low saturation. In other words, they’re light and have low intensity, making them look pale. Most pastels can be made by mixing a color of your choice with white until the color looks soft and light.

These shades have a gentle, calming effect on an audience. They make us think of springtime, childhood, and sometimes, candy. Pastels are also a great way to give your design an almost dreamy feel.

Choosing which pastels to use in a project can be a real challenge. To help you get started, here are some versatile pastel palettes.

Pastel Color Palettes

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

1. Pastry Case

Pastry Case color palette

Names: Mimi pink, Periwinkle, Light blue, Pale dogwood, Almond
Hex Codes: #F2D5DA, #BFBFE3, #C4E2E4, #F3D2C9, #F8E3D0

Pastels (especially pink pastels) often have a “sugary” look to them. And as you can see in the photo, some of them might make you think of freshly-made macarons.

This palette is ideal if you want a mixture of warm and cool pastels. The twilight-like look of Periwinkle helps balance out the peachiness of Almond and Pale Dogwood.

2. Sunday Best

Sunday Best color palette

Names: Light cyan, Honeydew, Almond, Misty rose, Thistle
Hex Codes: #CFE9E8, #E1F1E8, #F0D8BC, #FED8D7, #D2B5D3

The jacket in the picture might not suit everyone’s taste, but its color scheme is certainly eye-catching! This well-balanced pastel palette leans a little to the cool side with three cool tints (Light Cyan, Honeydew, and Thistle) and two warm tints (Almond and Misty Rose).

The photo above illustrates an especially useful feature of pastels: they make bright colors look even brighter. You can still appreciate the pastel pattern on the man’s jacket, but the pastels really amplify the colors in the background as well. If your project includes some bright colors and you want to make those colors really pop, consider adding one or more pastel shades to the mix.

3. Morning in the Garden

Morning in the Garden color palette

Names: Light blue, Tea green, Beige, Apricot, Tea rose (red)
Hex Codes: #B0D1D8, #C3D3B7, #F4F3E1, #F7D0B1, #F9C5CA

Many pastel color palettes have an almost candy-like appearance. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you want to move away from that aesthetic a bit, incorporating shades of beige, sage green, khaki, and even gray can help.

The Tea Green in this palette shifts the color group in a more botanical direction. If you’re creating an advertisement or other design that somehow connects to the plant world, it’s an excellent palette to choose.

4. Pink Clouds

Pink Clouds color palette

Names: Lavender pink, Mimi pink, Magnolia, Light lilac, Pale lavender
Hex Codes: #EBA0CB, #F9CED8, #EBE9F2, #EAC8F5, #BEB3D2

If you only look at Lavender Pink and Mimi Pink at first, you might think this palette was inspired by cotton candy. However, despite only being made up of various pinks and purples, this grouping manages to avoid becoming overly saccharine.

How? The grayish undertones of both Magnolia and Pale Lavender play a major role. In particular, the Pale Lavender helps temper the youthful exuberance of Lavender Pink.

5. Watercolor

Watercolor color palette

Names: Lavender (web), Pale spring bud, Beige, Misty rose, Navajo white
Hex Codes: #E0DAFA, #E4ECC9, #FAF8DF, #FCE1D7, #FEDCA8

Not all watercolor paintings are pastels, but pastel shades make many people think of watercolor paintings. This balanced palette has an especially watercolor-like feel. It also almost spans the colors of the rainbow — Misty Rose is reddish, Navajo White is close to orange, Beige is a bit yellowish, Pale Spring Bud is soft green, and Web Lavender is a bluish shade of purple.

Pastels might be soft, but that doesn’t mean a pastel palette can’t be dynamic! If you want to create a colorful design, consider using a Beige background and adding accents of each of the other colors.

6. 50s Dreamworld

50s Dreamworld color palette

Names: Misty rose, Azure (web), Mimi pink, Alice blue, Lavender (web)
Hex Codes: #FBDAD3, #D2E2E2, #F2CDD4, #D6DEEA, #DBD9E4

If pastels are associated with any decade, that decade is the 1950s. Pinks and blues were popular, so this palette is especially reminiscent of a bygone era.

Whether your project is inspired by the 1950s or not, this is a palette worth considering. Misty Rose and Mimi Pink are energetic enough to make it look more summery than springlike, and the grey-tinged blue of Web Azure, Alice Blue, and Web Lavender evokes memories of ocean sunsets.

7. Egg Hunt

Egg Hunt color palette

Names: Lavender (web), Mimi pink, Maize, Uranian blue, Celadon
Hex Codes: #EFE6FB, #FBCFE0, #FDEF81, #B6E2FD, #ADD6AE

Few holidays are more connected to pastel shades than Easter. And if you’ve ever seen a collection of plastic eggs used for a children’s egg hunt, you know that many of them come in cheerful pastels.

Appropriately, the colors in this palette are a little more saturated than some of the others on our list. Using them in equal proportions can make a design seem overwhelming, so your best bet is to use one as a main color and the others as accents. Alternatively, you can incorporate small amounts of each on a neutral background.

8. Peachy Sunrise

Peachy Sunrise color palette

Names: Mint green, Light blue, Almond, Misty rose, Cherry blossom pink
Hex Codes: #CDEDDD, #C0E9ED, #FCE6D3, #FAD9D5, #FBB7C7

Pastels are commonly associated with spring. But if you want to create a palette that leans a little more toward summer, peach-hued pastels are a great way to go. In this palette, Almond and Misty Rose add some warmth. But thanks to cool Mint Green and Light Blue, the overall look is balanced enough for any season.

If you want an eye-catching backdrop that won’t take away from the text you use, you might take some inspiration from the example image. This palette looks especially nice when you use it to create a brushed, painting-like effect.

9. Candy Jar

Candy Jar color palette

Names: Celadon, Non photo blue, Champagne pink, Thistle, Pale purple
Hex Codes: #B7E2C6, #B4E9FB, #FFDDCA, #DEC0E4, #FFE1F9

Many of our favorite candies — SweeTARTS, Necco Wafers, buttermints, and some types of taffy — are pastel in color. This palette captures all that sugary goodness so you can use it in your next project.

This palette works nicely as-is, but you might find you want to add a little more brightness. In this case, you might add a touch of pastel yellow like you see in the example photo.

10. Balloon Bouquet

Balloon Bouquet color palette

Names: Mint green, Champagne pink, Vanilla, Beige, Honeydew
Hex Codes: #D1F3E2, #FFE4D1, #FEEEBA, #F2F4DD, #DBEAD5

When you picture balloons, you might imagine super-bright, ultra-saturated shades. But as you see in the photo, pastel balloons can fit nicely into a celebration, too.

This palette is ideal if you’re looking to create a subtle backdrop for a website, billboard, announcement, etc. More saturated shades can distract from important text or images. Very soft pastels like these are a lot more interesting than plain white! And as a bonus, they have a calming influence on your audience, too.

11. Beach Day

Beach Day color palette

Names: Vanilla, Navajo white, Antique white, Papaya whip, Champagne pink
Hex Codes: #E5E399, #FDDDB0, #FCEFDC, #FEEBCB, #FFE3D0

Can’t decide between a pastel palette and a neutral one? This color palette might be your answer. Most of the colors in this grouping straddle the line between beige and pastel peach, and their warmth is reminiscent of a sandy shore on a sunny day.

You might have a design in mind that’s ideal for that near-monochromatic warmth. But if you want to incorporate some contrast, you might consider bringing in a touch of a darker, cooler color. For instance, if you have a background made up of colors in this palette, you might consider using navy blue text and/or a border.

12. Springtime

Springtime color palette

Names: Periwinkle, Pink, Non photo blue, Pale spring bud, Peach yellow
Hex Codes: #D1C0ED, #FFC8D3, #B2E5EC, #E2E6C4, #FCE1A8

This cheery, whimsical palette has a great balance between warm and cool. And like some other palettes on the list, this one is a little more saturated than some. You can certainly use all of these shades together, but if you aren’t careful, they can start to seem chaotic.

The example image shows you one way you can incorporate all of these colors together. A striped backdrop may not work for every type of design, but for some designs, it may be just right. If you want to make things a little quieter, try using two or three of the shades.

13. Apothecary

Apothecary color palette

Names: Lavender (web), Thistle, Dutch white, Pale spring bud, Columbia blue
Hex Codes: #D5D8F3, #F0D3EF, #FFEEC8, #E0E8B7, #CBE2F2

Pastel palettes don’t always have to make you think of candy and Easter eggs. Some, like this one, have a distinctly botanical vibe.

The example image also offers a somewhat unusual way to incorporate pastels. We often see them layered over one another or swirled in cloudy, watercolor-like designs. But this image keeps each color separated against a stark white background. If you’re going for something modern and minimalist, it’s certainly a design worth trying.

14. Lollipop

Lollipop color palette

Names: Sunset, Vanilla, Tea green, Alice blue, Pale purple
Hex Codes: #FDC878, #FFF5AD, #E1F7C7, #DCF2FF, #FEE5F5

Here’s another pastel palette that loosely follows the colors of the rainbow. And as you can see in the example image, this group of colors is perfect for creating eclectic designs with lots of white space.

These colors have a decent balance between warm and cool, but they generally look best with a cooler neutral background. When there’s a bit of separation between each one, the palette as a whole really gets a chance to shine.

15. Hydrangea

Hydrangea color palette

Names: Cosmic latte, Alice blue, Pale purple, Honeydew, Lavender (web)
Hex Codes: #FFF6E3, #DAF0FB, #F7DEF4, #D9F0E6, #F0E6FE

More saturated pastels certainly have their place. But if you want your design to have a cloudy, dreamy look, more washed-out pastels like these are the answer.

This particular palette is especially great for creating that cloudy aesthetic, as it’s largely made of cool colors. Cosmic Latte, arguably the warmest of the bunch, is parchment-like enough to serve as a decent background color. But the best way to use this palette is to create a soft, multicolor look like the one in the example image.

16. Taffy

Taffy color palette

Names: Celadon, Mint green, Vanilla, Misty rose, Lavender (web)
Hex Codes: #B8D2AA, #C5E9E7, #FEEDB4, #FFDDDE, #DDD5E7

This lively palette might remind you a bit of the interior of a child’s playroom. It’s saturated enough to make a statement, but not so much that it overwhelms your audience. This palette also offers you an opportunity to work with pairings of complementary colors. Vanilla and Web Lavender are roughly complementary, as are Celadon and Misty Rose.

17. Vanilla Rose

Vanilla Rose color palette

Names: Tea rose (red), Honeydew, Papaya whip, Light cyan, Periwinkle
Hex Codes: #FAD1CD, #CCEBDB, #FAEED6, #D7EFF1, #C9BDE5

In many ways, this color palette is a paler version of the palette shown above. These colors can stand well enough on their own, but because they aren’t too washed-out or too saturated, they’re great candidates for putting a twist on classic pastel designs.

If you want to dress up your pastels a bit, consider pairing this palette with warm metallics. That way, you get a bit of sparkle without distracting from the colors themselves. Pale rose gold is an especially good choice for this — it even looks good with pink!

18. Frosting

Frosting color palette

Names: Thistle, Mimi pink, Vanilla, Peach, Mint green
Hex Codes: #DAC9E3, #FBD4D8, #FBF0AE, #FFC7A6, #D5ECE6

Whether in the form of a dusting of sprinkles or colorful frosting, pastels are a natural complement to confectionery. This pretty palette would look especially nice atop a dozen cupcakes!

It’s also a good choice if you want to use a pastel palette that isn’t too calming. Very pale pastels can have an almost soothing effect on an audience. Slightly more saturated shades like these can add just enough energy.

Pastels aren’t usually a go-to for colorblocking. But if you’re working on a colorblocked design and need a pastel palette, more intense pastels like these are a better choice than their very pale counterparts.

19. Macaron

Macaron color palette

Names: Cherry blossom pink, Pale dogwood, Vanilla, Light orange, Mint green
Hex Codes: #FFB7C3, #F9DCD0, #FEECB5, #FED8B1, #BEE8E1

Few baked goods have the charm of the often-colorful macaron. This palette is a nod to the flavorful sweet treats that send your taste buds on a trip to Paris! It’s great for summery designs, as Cherry Blossom Pink, Pale Dogwood, Vanilla, and Light Orange all lean toward the warm side.

However, Mint Green is a great example of how a single color can really transform a palette. This shade has a vaguely seafoam-like quality that might make your audience think of the beach!

20. Spring Sorbet

Spring Sorbet color palette

Names: Wisteria, Tiffany blue, Peach, Lavender pink, Uranian blue
Hex Codes: #C5AAE4, #B1E7D9, #FDC894, #F9BFE3, #A1D3EE

This appealing, slightly cool-leaning palette is as refreshing as a fruit sorbet on a warm day. But despite the quieting influences of Wisteria, Tiffany Blue, and Uranian Blue, Peach and Lavender Pink bring a youthful exuberance to this color collection.

This diverse palette would work well in spring-inspired plaids and stripes. Or if you want to try something a little different, go with geometric shapes on a charcoal gray background.

21. Rainbow Wisp

Rainbow Wisp color palette

Names: Pale purple, Mimi pink, Celeste, Non photo blue, Misty rose
Hex Codes: #EFD6FF, #FFD9F7, #C0F2DD, #B0E6EE, #FFD9D9

Lots of pastels have a light, almost airy look about them. These ones certainly do. This palette is an interesting grouping that’s a little reminiscent of a sunset over the water — Pale Purple, Mimi Pink, and Misty Rose capture the character of a setting sun while Celeste and Non-Photo Blue look a bit like grass and water.

Because it has a nice warm-to-cool gradient, this palette would work well in watercolor-style backgrounds. It also can be used to create a striking ombre backdrop.

22. Sunroom

Sunroom color palette

Names: Mint green, Vanilla, Alabaster, Champagne pink, Tea rose (red)
Hex Codes: #CCE1DA, #F9ECB8, #E6E7E1, #F6E1D0, #F7CBCA

There’s nothing wrong with an all-pastel palette. But if you look closely at the example picture, you might be inspired to try a mix of pastel colors and more saturated shades.

In the example room, you can easily spot Mint Green walls, a Vanilla throw pillow, an Alabaster chair, a Champagne Pink accent blanket, and a Tea Rose chair. These shades look nice enough on their own, but they really make the more saturated colors pop. Notice how the bright yellow chair and the deep green plants really complete the look!

23. Holi

Holi color palette

Names: Plum (web), Lavender pink, Columbia blue, Flax, Sunset
Hex Codes: #DBABE7, #FFC0EA, #C6E7FC, #FFF093, #F5CEA2

This is a well-balanced, uplifting palette that can help your audience feel both happy and at peace. Both yellow and orange are colors that are linked to energy, happiness, and creativity. Blue is tied to tranquility, and pink and purple add a fanciful touch.

Take a look at the example image and pay attention to how you feel. Note that the design is energizing, but not overly so. The high-energy Web Plum, Lavender Pink, and Sunset are tempered by the curls of Columbia Blue flanking them.

24. Rainbow Sherbet

Rainbow Sherbet color palette

Names: Sandy brown, Jasmine, Aquamarine, Non photo blue, Pink
Hex Codes: #FBB27D, #F7CF77, #ACF3D0, #A6EFFC, #FDC3D1

This rainbow-inspired palette just might bring back memories of cones of rainbow sherbet on hot summer days. As you can see in the example image, this group of colors is a bit more saturated than most, so it’s perfect for making a statement.

This color palette’s somewhat whimsical vibe means it goes quite well with white accents. After all, most illustrations of rainbows come complete with clouds!

25. Sprinkles

Sprinkles color palette

Names: Wheat, Azure (web), Vanilla, Orchid pink, Periwinkle
Hex Codes: #F7DDB1, #DBF1F7, #FDE7AB, #FABDD0, #D9D0F0

When you’re designing with pastels, choosing a background color can prove to be difficult. Light colors sometimes seem to fade into white, but black and other dark colors can start to look harsh. The example image offers a great solution. In this palette, Periwinkle is the darkest and the coolest of all available colors. It’s dark enough to let the other colors in the palette pop out, but not so dark that it looks out of place.

26. Baby’s Room

Baby's Room color palette

Names: Uranian blue, Light blue, Parchment, Mimi pink, Thistle
Hex Codes: #9FCEEE, #BEE3E9, #F3EBD3, #FED3ED, #CBBCDA

This palette’s example image offers you another background suggestion, although it’s effectively the opposite of the one above. The very pale pastels in this palette make it especially appropriate for babies and young children, and Mimi Pink is a fitting backdrop.

Sometimes, using the palest color of the bunch as a backdrop works perfectly. If need be, you can always select a color for your background and dilute it further.

27. Sidewalk Chalk

Sidewalk Chalk color palette

Names: Thistle, Pale purple, Vanilla, Tea green, Non photo blue
Hex Codes: #E6CDF4, #FFE2FF, #FDF5A3, #D5F5B6, #9FEEFF

Looking at the example image, can you almost feel the chalk dust on your fingertips? This palette is a prime example of how pastels can take us back to childhood. For that reason, it’s a nice choice if you’re creating advertising materials for a children’s brand or invitations to a child’s birthday party.

With colors as soft as these, black text may look too harsh. White text will be hard to read. Consider softer colors like browns and grays — they also have the benefit of keeping the design grounded.

28. Chiffon

Chiffon color palette

Names: Lilac, Fairy tale, Columbia blue, Mint green, Light orange
Hex Codes: #D3ACDA, #F7CCDF, #C2D9EB, #C3E7E3, #FDD5B1

Here’s another cool, dreamy palette perfect for creating tranquil designs. Lilac, Columbia Blue, and Mint Green make this a quiet group of colors. Fairy Tale and Light Orange make it a little warmer, though not overwhelmingly so.

We mentioned above that pastels go nicely with warm metallics. This is generally true, but because of its overall cool cast, this palette would also do well with cool metallics. Try it with silver or pewter!

29. Jellybeans

Jellybeans color palette

Names: Non photo blue, Nyanza, Flax, Mimi pink, Pink lavender
Hex Codes: #A7E1E3, #D3EACC, #F6ED8D, #F9D9DE, #E8BCD7

If you celebrate Easter, you’re no stranger to the pastel-hued jellybeans dotting children’s Easter baskets. And while the taste of jellybeans might not be that inspiring, their colors certainly can be.

This jellybean-inspired palette is an interesting one — even though it contains a few cool shades, it has an appearance that is cheerful and warm overall. That’s because Pink Lavender (the only purple in the group) has a lot more red than blue, Nyanza is a green shade with more yellow than blue, and Non-Photo Blue is a particularly energetic shade of blue. If you like high-energy designs but would rather not go the neon route, this is a great one to check out.

30. Summer Bloom

Summer Bloom color palette

Names: Melon, Sunset, Flax, Tiffany blue, Pistachio
Hex Codes: #F5A991, #F1C589, #F2E187, #A6D8CC, #ADD78F

Lots of people associate pastels with spring. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be used for summer designs! As you can see in the example image, including this palette in a rainbow-ordered gradient can be a nice way to add summer spirit to a design.

You might not think of pastels as being particularly appropriate for fall. But if you take Melon, Sunset, and Flax and add a little light cocoa brown, you just might create the perfect fall color scheme!

31. Candyland

Candyland color palette

Names: Celeste, Tea green, Maize, Mimi pink, Pink lavender
Hex Codes: #BFF6FA, #CDFAA7, #FEF584, #FFD5DF, #EFC6E7

If you played the board game Candyland as a kid, you remember the cheerful, sugary color scheme. And if you have a project that needs that same carefree, youthful energy, this is a color palette worth checking out.

It’s especially distinctive in that Maize, its yellow shade, is bright and intense (at least for a pastel). The example image uses it well — it’s effectively a bright accent in the palette, and it rests atop a cool-hued background.

Using Pastel Colors in Your Design

Pastels are beautiful shades, but in the hands of a designer, they’re tools — depending on how they’re used, they can create something beautiful or something disastrous. While there aren’t technically rules on how to use (and not use) pastels in your design, it can be helpful to follow a few general design guidelines. Here are a few strategies you might try:

The Minimalist Approach

Pastels work well alone or in full-fledged palettes. But sometimes, less is more. You often see this approach in personal-care product design. For instance, a bottle of shampoo or face wash might be a single pastel color (or striped with two pastels) with black text.

In some cases, this design strategy works perfectly. In other cases, it looks too plain. If need be, you can always add more color!

Juxtaposing With Saturated Colors

Pastels have a way of making bright, saturated colors pop. If you’re in advertising, this is a good thing to keep in mind.

Say you’re making a product page for a purse that’s a deep, vivid blue (think the color of lapis lazuli). The purse will still stand out against a white background. But if you really want to make it pop, use a background of a very pale pastel blue. Including the purse’s shadow will create a modern and distinctive look.

The Dreamy Multicolor Approach

Pastels look beautiful when blended into one another — they look almost like a cloudy sky at sunset. This pretty multicolor look makes a great backdrop, as it’s eye-catching and calming at the same time.

The Patterned Multicolor Approach

Pastels also look nice in patterns where there’s a clear delineation between colors. Plaids, stripes, and checkerboard patterns are great examples. You can even get more creative with geometric or abstract shapes.

However, if you choose this option, make sure you select the right pastels for the job. If the colors are too dilute, the pattern may become unclear, especially from afar.

The Monochromatic Look

If you want to create a calming design with a modern flair, you might consider making something monochromatic. Using just a single pastel can seem like a risky choice, but for the right application, it can be perfect. For example, you might make a 3D render of a seafoam-green model car in a room that’s entirely seafoam green.

To Ground or Not to Ground

If you want to create a completely ethereal palette, you might not need a darker grounding color. But if your design feels like there’s something missing, it’s worth adding a darker shade (like a dark earth tone or a dark neutral) to keep everything in balance.

If your design centers heavily around text, dark-colored text might be enough of a grounding influence. For example, if you’re designing a book cover with a swirling blend of peach, soft pink, and pale blue, choosing a bold, black font might give you all the grounding you need.

Find Fresh Inspiration With Pastels

If you’ve found that your designs seem to be lacking the spark and verve they once had, it’s worth mixing up your color choices a bit. Pastels have a playfulness about them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t candidates for serious designs. Like a fresh spring breeze, they may just bring new energy to your projects.