One of the most uplifting colors, decorating with yellow is sure to lift your spirits and it is perhaps not surprising that this joyful option is experiencing a renaissance in interiors. From pretty primrose, soft buttermilk and golden yoke, to zesty lemons and sunflower or mustard hues, yellow brings warmth and sunshine to every surface it touches.
Hugely diverse decorating with yellow can be used to create spaces that are stimulating and energizing, fun or formal, to cozy and welcoming.
When it comes to decorating with yellow there are so many ideas for using this mood-enriching shade – named one of the best colors to make a room feel happy by paint experts. The perfect shade for a hallway or a front door, yellow provides a warm invitation to any home,’ says Ruth Mottershead, creative director of Little Greene (opens in new tab). Used on all four walls, yellow can make a lasting impression, alternatively, ‘used as a feature zone or on a piece of re-loved furniture, yellow has the power to really add a pop of happiness into a space without needing to saturate every wall in it,' says Anna Hill, brand director at paint and color experts Fenwick & Tilbrook (opens in new tab).
Paler, gentler shades of yellow will create a sense of calm, while stronger sunnier hues offer more high-octane energy. ‘As with any pigment, natural light will affect how your color choice looks in a room so I’d always recommend painting a sample onto the different walls in a room so you can see how it will look in different lights throughout the day,’ says Dominic Myland, owner of Myland Paints (opens in new tab).
‘If yellow walls might be too much for you, introduce it into smaller areas such as kitchen cabinetry, window, and door woodwork, the inside of a wardrobe, or by painting a favorite piece of furniture. Here, color blocking the inset to a window with yellow as a paint trick creates a dynamic effect that not only brings warmth but offers an eye-catching focus to a room.
This warm paint hue from Crown was developed with the Mid-Century trend in mind and is made from a deep greyed yellow that has got the depth of an old gold, too. The finishing touch is pretty, skirted storage fashioned from a repurposed bed hanging sewn with white linen tea towels.
For a serene living space, decorate paneled walls with small print wallpaper ideas in gentle golden hues, such as this Nerissa design in yellow by Jane Churchill (opens in new tab). Playful scale and pattern are at the heart of this project as a kids' bathroom idea by the interior design team Salvesen Graham. You can achieve a seasonal balance by ensuring the living room color ideas for contrasting upholstery, soft furnishings and flooring work for the two halves of the year. Include natural textured flooring along with fabrics in summery neutrals and stripes with weaves in warmer ochres, burgundy and olive hues.
Finally, choose a practical matt eggshell finish for decorating with yellow panelled walls. ‘Yellow with a green undertone is best kept to bright, south-facing rooms as it will turn slightly bilious in a shadowy corner and because of that it is important to recognise how it registers at all times of the day before you commit.
‘Mustard, ochre and sienna carry more importance and can be paired beautifully with blues, greens or even pink, if it is sufficiently subdued. It is perfect for areas of the home where there is much activity and socialising, such as the kitchen and dining room, where it adds energy and vitality,’ says Andy Greenall, head of design, Paint & Paper Library (opens in new tab).
Yellow dining room ideas with golden shades used over all four walls are guaranteed to create wow-factor and spark joy at gatherings and family meal times, alternatively, bring a zesty pop to a kitchen by limiting the shade to the cabinets which can easily be repainted if tastes change.
Yellows that contain red undertones will bring warmth and coziness, making them ideal living room color ideas. These warmer yellows will pair beautifully with natural materials, earthy neutrals and botanical shades like olive green, but can also work well with pastel pink for a playful twist. For those less confident with color, using yellow in larger rooms and busy spaces can sometimes be overpowering, in this case consider using it in rooms used less often such as hallways and bathrooms or over small areas suggests says Nicola Harding, founder of Nicola Harding & Co (opens in new tab).
I have bright yellow tiles in a shower room at home, teamed with a playful Svenskt Tenn wallpaper. In this yellow hallway, Nicola has teamed walls in Farrow & Ball's (opens in new tab) Babouche with woodwork in Inchrya Blue for a fun and welcoming space.
Design studio Frank & Faber ensured that the upstairs landing at the boutique hotel Number One Bruton in Somerset was joyful by using a rich yellow, an ideal to greet guests in the mornings. If you're cautious about using yellow wall-to-wall, try limiting it to smaller areas – it can be a great way to bring a sense of fun to unexpected places as demonstrated above.
‘Yellow is always a good accent colour and using a mustard shade works well inside cupboards or pantries as an uplifting surprise as you open or enter. It’s easier to incorporate this shade into a scheme if you’re slightly put off by bright yellow paint in your home and it is particularly effective in darker, moodier spaces as it creates a feeling of warmth,’ says Sarah Brown, founder of Sarah Brown Interiors (opens in new tab).
Here the Loriini wallpaper in Dorian looks fabulous alongside a flash of yellow such as ‘Trumpet’ on woodwork bringing bold color without going overboard. In this kitchen by Martin Moore, mustard yellow bench cushions bring warmth and softness to the cool, streamlined space plus help to zone the social area of the room.
Opting for a bath in yellow is a great way to create a fun focal point in rooms that can easily lack personality like bathrooms, but if you're thinking of yellow bathroom ideas be sure to chose the right shade says Barrie Cutchie, design director at BC Designs (opens in new tab). Here the choice of pale yellow pairs beautifully with white and grey tiles to keep the space feeling relaxing.
Alternatively, if your collections are in muted colors or black and white, then a vibrant living room paint idea could be a great way to elevate them as demonstrated in this space. Here walls in Peter's Ochre by Francesca's Paints (opens in new tab) brings balance to the striking silhouette of the iconic black mid-century armchair and monochrome artworks with flashes of orange, plus, with underlying warmth, the shade prevents the space feeling too cold.
In bright spaces, though, it is fresh and modern, and works well used on its own but looks amazing with monochromatic schemes such as black and white,' says Sara Bird. It’s also just as happy to exist in harmony with other bold yellow tones, such as Saffron and Olive,' says Rebecca Elderfield, Product and Services Director at Neptune (opens in new tab). 'Subtle and quiet, the palest hues of the yellow palette are perfect for adding a touch of color and warmth while enhancing the feeling of space.
Above, a buttermilk hue is painted all over on walls and ceilings to make a vaulted room feel lifted to the skies. Deeper and richer shades of yellow are added to the mix to add warmth,' says Sara Bird. For a safer option, decorating with a mid-toned yellow is a great choice for simply adding warmth to a cool space, however it's lit.
‘If you wanted to inject a little playfulness to a room without having to commit to big decorating decisions, you can also do it subtly with accessories, cushions, throws or even an accent piece of furniture,’ say Jenna Choate and Mariana Ugarte, Co-Founders of Interior Fox (opens in new tab) 'A pretty combination can be seen if matched with white, and it even works well with bold blacks for a dynamic and striking statement.' ‘I would pair this with the creamier off-whites, beiges and warm greys for a softer palette or with a sludgy green or deep blue for instant drama,’ adds Edward Bulmer, interior designer and founder of Edward Bulmer Natural Paints. ‘Yellow is a soothing colour, particularly when mixed with cool, calming tones such as greys and pale, muted blues,' says Justyna Korczynska, senior designer at Crown.