Decorating with yellow brings one of the happiest shades of the color spectrum into your home. Space enhancing, summery and warm, it can be used to enhance space or add a cozy and intimate feel to a room.
“Use lighter shades, and yellow reflects light in and around a room to make it appear larger and brighter—the perfect choice for small spaces, narrow corridors, or rooms with low ceilings where it can get wider, longer, and taller. Use mustard, deeper yellows to create an enveloping, intimate appeal,” advises stylist and art director Sara Bird.
Known for its mood-enhancing properties, yellow is also suitable for busy day spaces such as kitchens and offices where the color provides a great backdrop to stimulate activity. Energizing and upbeat or welcoming and cozy yellow room ideas are ideal for contemporary or historic homes. Here experts describe the tricks for decorating with yellow.
Decorate with yellow
Decorating with yellow is an uplifting and wise choice for a home. Below we share our favorite color combinations, what works best where, as well as ideas for the whole house, room by room. Included are the latest shades and tips on how to use them, amazing color combinations to try, including classic themes.
What is the best color yellow for rooms?
“Like it or not sure, we’re seeing more yellow in our homes this year. An uplifting choice, yellow comes in a variety of tones, from bright and cheerful to somber and earthy. Used as an accent zone or on a piece of furniture that is loved again, yellow has the power to really add a touch of happiness to a room without saturating every wall within it,” says Anna Hill, Brand Director at Paint and Color Experts Fenwick & Tilbrook.
So, when decorating with yellow, what shade do you choose?
“There are three considerations: the style of your room or property; the orientation of the room and how much natural light it receives; and the effect you want to achieve with your chosen yellow,” he advises Houses & GardensEditor-in-Chief Lucy Searle.
“Tired or spicier hues, like the one above, create a very different look in a light-filled room than in a north-facing room. Combined with warm accent colors and natural textures, they conjure up a cozy look, or in combination with flatter colors like black, they are perfect for conjuring up an elegant, historical ambience.”
For a safer choice, decorating with a mid-tone yellow is a great choice for simply adding warmth to a cool space, however it’s lit.
“Opt for a soft mid-yellow hue as above to create a healthy and welcoming vibe in a space. This particularly soothing shade brings the warmth of the sun inside with its reduced radiance,” says Sara Bird.
“The delicate and calm, the lightest shades of the yellow color palette enhance the space and add a touch of warmth to a cool room. Above, a buttermilk hue is painted on the walls and ceiling to make a vaulted room rise into the sky. Deeper and richer yellows are added to the mix to add warmth,” says Sara Bird.
If you love decorating with yellow but want to create a contemporary look, consider a zesty citrus hue.
“This shade of yellow works best in a west- or south-facing room; In rooms with cooler light, it takes on a bluish tint, which isn’t an idea. However, in bright rooms it’s fresh and modern and works well on its own, but looks fantastic with monochromatic schemes like black and white,” says Sara Bird.
Can you layer yellow in a room?
When decorating with yellow, any color really, it always pays to layer the look of your space with more than one tone. While layering from neutral to neutral works beautifully to add interest, it should always be done with caution with any bold color if it’s overwhelming. How does this work? Combine yellows that closely match in tone and avoid contrasting yellows, like in the space above.
“Quince is a particularly versatile and adaptable shade that finds natural matches with all sorts of contrasting shades. It’s also just as happy to exist in harmony with other rich yellows like saffron and olive,” says Rebecca Elderfield, Product and Services Director at Neptune. “Saffron is our ‘real’ yellow – it’s neither pastel nor too bright. Olive, on the other hand, is a traditional green with a yellow undertone that pairs perfectly with quince. Together these three colors create a happy sunshine palette.”
Also keep in mind that sometimes a few bold pops of color work better than an all over pale hue, like in the room below.
“Use accents of citrus, lemon and chartreuse to highlight house ferns and foliage. A color palette of chalky yellows reflects all available sunlight used throughout; For added depth, try a more vibrant shade of yellow on a wall that’s perpendicular to a window. As an extra tip, paint the recess and window frames a sunny color like Sherbert Lemon,” says Justyna Korczynska, Senior Designer at Crown Paints.
What colors go well with yellow?
“Yellow is the perfect partner for all sorts of colors, from its color wheel neighbors green and orange to the contrasting shades of pink and plum,” says Sara Bird. “It’s a pretty combination to see paired with white, and it even works well with bold blacks for a dynamic and bold statement.”
But without a doubt, classic combinations of yellow and blue and yellow and green room ideas are the most successful. Packed with personality, this classic archival design by Morris & Co (above) uses touches of yellow with greens in the wallpaper and fabrics to bring lots of cheer to the space.
“If you’re not sure where to start when decorating with yellow, we always recommend starting small. It could be a mustard velvet throw, a lemon candle or an ocher rug for a pop of color underfoot,” advises Lou Graham, co-owner of Graham & Green.
Can you decorate a living room with yellow?
Yellow living room ideas should be approached with caution. Ocher and cinnamon, yellows approaching beige, and cooler hues work best in a normally busy, multi-layered space.
“If you want to add a little playfulness to a room without committing to big decorating decisions, you can also do so subtly with accessories, throw pillows, throws, or even an accent piece of furniture,” say Jenna Choate and Mariana Ugarte, co-founders of Interior Fox.
Can you decorate a bedroom with yellow?
Yellow bedroom ideas are incredibly inviting, especially at night when light levels are low; However, it’s worth considering how you might feel too yellow in the morning light.
“The more effervescent the shade, the more energetic you feel, so consider creamier, more muted yellows for bedrooms with bolder color palettes in your kitchen and study,” advises Sara Bird.
Or bring yellow into the bedroom as an accent colour, like in the room above.
Can you decorate with yellow in a kitchen?
“Decorating with yellow in a kitchen is a bold decision, but I always say if you love a color, embrace it,” says Lucy Searle. “If you are remodeling your kitchen to sell your home I would advise against yellow kitchen ideas, except for accessories, as this bold hue is clearly not going to be to everyone’s liking. However, if this is your forever home and you love yellow, why not?
“Kitchens painted yellow give you flexibility, so if you change your mind or your circumstances change and you unexpectedly need to move, you can always repaint to a safer hue.”
Can you decorate a bathroom with yellow?
Yellow bathroom ideas can be ideal for instantly warming up a cold, north-facing room, and can be softened with cooler accent tones like the room above. For a fun family bathroom, you can go for zingier shades of yellow, but in more grown-up rooms we recommend sticking to the more muted tones or simply accessorizing with yellow towels.