Tips for yellows

Yellow is one of the best colours in interior design and also one of the most delicate as it is a primary colour. The right shade of yellow brings cheer to dreary rooms. Some bright yellows, however, cause people pain in interior design.

As the most visible colour, yellow grabs attention. Whenever yellow is used in a room you will see this colour first so it has to be used carefully. Too much bright yellow hurts our eyes and agitates us; this is why road workers wear yellow, so use with caution.

As yellow is a very delicate colour to use, I always prefer paints with as much natural pigments as possible, that is why I recommend to use higher grade quality paint for yellows such as Paint and Paper Library from London, Farrow and Byrne, or Devine, all have good easy to use yellows.

Paint walls a pale yellow to mimic a sun-filled space and create a soothing feeling for the room's occupants. Choose soft creamy yellows, not dingy, dirty-looking, yellows that make people nauseous.

Bright-yellow painted walls can cause feelings of turmoil and hostility. Use bright yellows sparingly, especially in high-anxiety spaces like kitchens. Naturally bright rooms that have been painted bright yellow over-stimulate some people and may bring about angry feelings. I keep the intense rich yellows for small rooms, passageways, and corridors as they can be a good way of bringing light to a room, but I avoid them for larger rooms.

Like the colour red, yellow speeds up our metabolism so it makes it a good colour for china, table-top accessories, or cushions if you want to bring a spring summer feel for a few months.

Think of natural sunlight when you use yellow. Soft, warm, rays feel good. Bright, hot, rays feel painful. As with all interior design, balance using the colour yellow ensures harmony. Think also of flowers or yellow roses; you don’t need to paint a room yellow to benefit from it, sunflowers will easily transform a sitting room or dining room as all the attention with go to their bright yellow as soon as you enter the room. Yellow taffetas or silk shades will also brighten your room and diffuse flattering light.

Good matches are, for instance:

Organza yellow and light grey for a classic and peaceful room, whether contemporary or period.

Bright yellow and blue for a seaside feel.

A distressed or distemper straw yellow is a good way to introducing a bright and soft yellow into a room.

Soft yellows and lavender or sage green are always a very romantic combination.

Yellow and white are always good in stripy wallpapers for a fresh, timeless, feel.

I also like plain textured yellow wallpaper with a silky or shine effect which softens bright yellows by reflecting the light.

I personally stay away from mixing bright yellow with greens, pinks, or reds as I believe those colours together are too strong for the Irish climate.

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