The Uses of Yellow The Uses of Yellow

Instead of focusing on just one highly specific shade, we're going to talk about the magic of using yellow, in several of her guises.

Generally speaking, a little splash of yellow will do a lot to add a quick shot of energy to any room. Adding a line of yellow tile in the backsplash of a blue and white kitchen, or putting up a print with predominantly yellow tones in the front hall will add a spark of energy with little trouble.

Often, as we approach the autumn months, we start thinking of using deeper, darker colors, as if we're all creating a hibernarium just like the bears and other animals of woods. But the trouble is, we need to keep ourselves awake and alert during the winter, and one way to do this is with color. Resist the urge to darken a room with heavy, dark green drapes, and instead install yellow curtains.

Perhaps the most popular color to pair with yellow is red, and again, this combination can work in a variety of shades. Here, you can see how bright, eye-popping yellow works with a solid true red to create a look that's festive and energetic.

And then, in this living room, the red and yellow is used to a much different effect, creating a room that's woody, warm, and a little bit formal. The red of the sofa and curtain, picked up by the sofa cushions and rug, is reflected in the red tones of the wood ceiling. Meanwhile, the yellow walls brighten up the room so that the red doesn't seem too dark.

  • Tip: The trick with using yellow is in getting the shade just right. Don't be shy about bringing a swatch of fabric to the paint store or even buying small amounts of paint and trying them out before deciding what works. You don't want to pair a bright yellow with a dark maroon, and you don't want a yellow that's heavy with green tones paired with a Chinese red.

However, pairing many different shades of yellow can work wonders. This striped curtain illustrates how several shades of yellow and gold - offset by a bright white - can work together to brighten a room. So don't be afraid of using more than one yellow in a room; just make sure the different tones work with each other instead of against each other.

Yellow may not seem like a color that's perfect for autumn use, but with a little work, it could be just what you need to keep summertime in your home year round.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design

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