Is Yellow the New Red?

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I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal that suggested yellow might be gaining popularity as an accent color. In fact you might want to consider a splash of yellow in every room. Ancient cultures who practiced color therapy believed yellow stimulated the nerves and purified the body.  Current color psychology suggests yellow is cheery and warm, but can also create feelings of anger, frustration, increase metabolism and be fatiguing on the eyes. Well that’s a lot for one color!

Regardless of what the experts say, color is personal and if you love yellow, then by all means use it in your decor. My only advice would be to use it cautiously. Yellow can be a difficult color to choose and the wrong yellow can really be awful. Some things to think about before choosing your perfect yellow…

  • Use the 60-30-10 rule: If yellow is the dominant color paint the walls and balance it out by choosing two other colors to make up the 30 and 10 percent remaining.
  • If the room is formal consider using complementary colors with the yellow, if it’s informal try analogous colors with the yellow.
  • Consider what the room will be used for, relaxation calls for a more subtle yellow, entertaining might call for bright and lively.
  • If your room gets northern light your color choice will appear darker, and lighter if it has a southern exposure.
  • In terms of hue, take your cues from nature, dark on the floor, medium on the walls and light on the ceiling.
  • Another trick, try adding something black in the room to enhance your colors. A picture frame, table or a small chest, it works.
  • And finally embrace your color and create flow in your home by restating yellow in varying degrees all around your house.

Photo by Peter Estersohn

Still a little shy about choosing the right yellow? Try bringing home some paint samples. Place them all around the room and see how the color changes, day, night, sunny, cloudy, all it takes is a little research and patience. You’ll find your color and be happy when you do.

Have you had any experience with color, what worked for you…I’d really love to hear about it.


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