Crack open the door to self-described “kawaii tech creator” Celeste Fleurs’ room, and you’ll suddenly feel as if you’ve been living your life as a strawberry in some Fruity Pebbles cereal. Like countless other gamers online, Fleurs is an expert of “pastel gaming”—a term borne from Japanese kawaii aesthetics, and perhaps, a need to distinguish from the unassuming black leather and plastics gaming companies try to hawk at males. Pastel gaming, instead, pushes a cool maximalism. Collecting peaches in Animal Crossing. Adorning your shelves with furry creatures of all sorts. Slack jawed Kirby keycaps, and sprawling fields of pink. Lots of pink. You can get in on the action in a few easy steps, and not just by investing in Razor’s famed Quartz line.
So if you’re convinced or if you’ve always wanted a piece of the sugar, Fleurs and Teny, a cute stuff expert who makes content as @10eegaming, have helped me put together some advice on how to bring your current gaming space into the sweet galaxy.
Discover your design preferences
Pink, purple, and cat ear headphones make up some of the most popular pastel gaming design choices, but it doesn’t mean you need to implement them. “Cute” is a personal thing—before you transform your space, decide what visuals, colors, and items resonate with you. Above all, your gaming space should feel like “an expression of ‘you’ and the things you like,” Fleurs said.
“Finding an aesthetic that works for you is really about experimenting to see what really clicks with your self-expression, and the best part is that you never have to be tied down to just one,” Fleurs said. “Try lots of different aesthetics or combine them into a hybrid mix that makes something new entirely! It can be helpful to figure out which colors are your favorite as a starting point, and then go from there to decide which themes you prefer.”
To start somewhere concrete, Fleurs recommends “picking one accent color to start with and using that as your foundation to create a sense of cohesion.”
“You can use transition colors, such as black and white, to help things to match and flow better visually. Using these transitional colors also means that you don’t need to change them if you get bored of your accent color, because they’ll go with everything. If you’re feeling extra spicy, you can add a secondary accent color,” she said. “For example, my main accent color is baby pink, my transition color is white, and my secondary accent is mint or blue. I try to avoid red and orange like the plague.
While you’re looking for your ideal colors (some free paint samples from your local Home Depot or paint store might help with this) keep in mind that you can find gaming items in just about any of them. The Secretlab Titan Evo 2022 series offers up a minty and ergonomic gaming chair for $539, but your options open up further if you’re good with any comfy chair, like the $499 dolphin blue Autonomous ErgoChair Pro. More affordable, well-performing, and still colorful options can be found at all the big box retailers and furniture sites like Wayfair, which also has a range of attractive gaming desks for under $150.
Keycaps are like jewels in the sense that there are many of them and they all feel special to hold, but some pastel standouts include the $29.99 Epomaker Honeymilk set, the Apollo 11-inspired Genespeed Drop and MiTo set, and the Pom Jelly Series, which turns your keyboard into a tray of Turkish Delight. Let your keyboard rest its weary self on a waterproof mat from Amazon or a summer scene from Etsy, then bring your wrists down on this purple rabbit or swimming Magikarp. Pretty coiled cables of all shades can be found on Mechables and Alpaca Cables, and you can customize anything with paint and tape. Fleurs made her motherboard pink with those simple tools.
But try not to overthink it, and don’t feel the need to stretch your budget. “Decoration is just another word for ‘Where should I put this object?’ and it doesn’t need to follow any aesthetic rules,” Teny said. “Every room is built piece by piece, and it’s always a work-in-progress. Change is part of the process, so allow yourself to experiment.
Go really online
After determining the things and colors you’d generally like to see in your gaming room, take to the deepest annals of the internet for inspiration. Perusing Amazon is a no-brainer, but not everyone knows the many joys of niche Etsy storefronts and the art of Ebay. Especially with your pastel gaming set-up, which, as we’ve discussed, is highly individualized and personal, you should take full advantage of the internet as a place for likeminded weirdos.
My top online shoppings tips: search for the most specific imaginary items on Etsy and marvel at things that seem straight out of your imagination. I’m obsessed with these delicate wildflower keycaps, for example. Download the Ebay app for cheap vintage finds and make reasonable offers to get them even cheaper. On both platforms, save items to your favorites to stay organized (and avoid impulse purchases).
Other online stores you may want to check out for pastel gaming needs, courtesy of Fleurs:
- SakuraiArmory on Etsy and Instagram: “A couple from the US who make custom fan cover decorations for gaming PCs and wall plates, I’m even releasing some designs in collaboration with them!” Fleurs said.
- Fizzy Lungs on Instagram: “A small UK business making really unique furniture that you can commission to be customized exactly the way you want it. Two words: Sanrio tables.”
- Superlove.store: “An indie Australian business that makes stickers and decals, plus some other cute accessories. I have their ‘Haku’ and ‘Game Over!’ decals on my PC.”
- SugoiMart.com: “A Tokyo-based company by Japan Crate that stocks lots of different anime merchandise, gaming stuff and homeware.”
- Neonfreek.com: “A company that makes really cool custom neon signs! I want one so bad.”
You’ll also find a strong pastel gaming community online. “I owe a lot to the incredible #gamergirl and #kawaiigamer community on Instagram and TikTok,” Teny said. “There are so many inspiring women who share what they love, and as a collective we actually end up having a direct influence on gaming companies to create more products that are geared toward female gamers.”
“I’m a millennial, and I remember buying cat ear headbands from Claire’s in the mid-2000s and thinking ‘I wish they made cat-ear headphones’ at a time when they didn’t even exist,” she continued. “Now you can find hundreds of different kinds!”
Some selects from all of those cat ear headphones: I do have to recommend Razer’s take, which comes in rose or black, has the best performance of what’s on the market, and is currently on sale for $99.99, the more affordable Somic G951s with detachable kitty ears, and this Robocop-looking headset from Phoinikas. For pastel lovers that value their real ears over plastic ones, you can find beautiful, high-performance sets over by Logitech, Bose, Sony, and in Astro Gaming’s A10s.
As for Teny’s favorite Etsy shops, try LuxSkinsOfficial, CBcustomsandrepair, and PrintablesYeg, where she bought a custom-made Switch Lite TV holder. Etsy is the kingdom of cutesy Switch accessories you’ve never seen before in your life, like custom thumb grips and bespoke controller color combinations.
Online, you might get intimidated by the sheer amount of stuff pro gamers and pastel aficionados seem to have. Don’t be. Your pastel gaming space should prioritize happiness and a sense of peace over consumerism.
In fact, “one of my biggest inspirations in designing my space actually comes from Marie Kondo’s book Spark Joy, where she talks about honing our sensitivity to joy—this process starts by recognizing which objects feel closest to our hearts, and bring us excitement and inspiration,” Teny said. “So I began designing my space with this philosophy in mind, and only keeping (or collecting) items that brought me the most joy.”
“Another good way to identify joy can also come through childhood nostalgia, which is why Nintendo and Sanrio have such a strong presence in my space,” she continued. “I think the best aesthetic is one that naturally falls into place when we truly and uniquely listen to our hearts. So, my game room helps me to maximize my own personal sense of joy.”
You don’t need to spend much to cultivate joy. “A lot of my decoration is super low budget—the framed pictures were either images I printed from the internet or illustrations I cut out from a shōjo manga magazine or 2020 Pusheen calendar,” Teny said. “The fake plants are all from my local dollar store. I also visit thrift shops for some of the more unique finds.”
“There’s a lot you can do within a limited budget,” she continued. “Stores like Daiso and Miniso are also great options for plushies and home decorations, as well as Target and Ikea for the basics.” Both when blowing open a room and in general, buy small, infrequently, and intentionally.
Make do with what you have
In that spirit, Teny recommends others try transforming the objects they already own “by spray-painting them a different color, adding stickers, changing out the drawer pulls, or layering a patterned piece of fabric.” Valuing what you already have saves you time and money (and the planet!)
“Getting into decorating a whole gaming room and making a setup can be a super expensive hobby or side interest,” Fleurs said. “I see a lot of younger people online who are desperate to have these big, elaborate set-ups that you see on TikTok, but honestly these can take years to curate and save up for.”
Fleurs prefers to take time with her design purchases, to make sure she actually wants the item and that it will actually be useful to her. “I see my set-up as a sort of long-term journey, so I don’t feel the need to get everything at once. I think that’s a healthy way to look at it too, since it makes it more personal—plus it helps with the more consumerist aspect, since anything you decorate with will have more value to you,” she said.