There are colour palettes that come and go (remember the lime green craze of 2012?), and others which boast a more timeless appeal. Don’t get me wrong; I think unless you’re selling your house, your personal taste should be the deciding factor in which colours you paint with. But each year, designers and paint companies choose to showcase particular colour groupings, sometimes suggesting pairings that are wholly fresh and other times reminding us of tried-and-true favourites that we may have lost sight of.
I recently opened my email to a subscriber message from PPG Pittsburgh Paints (I’m a big fan of signing-up for emails from companies, brands, and designers I admire; I love being in the loop and seeing what they are focusing on) and they were spotlighting their Sunnyside Collection. Like the name implies, this palette is comprised mainly of warm buttery yellows, rich golden maples, washed-out terra cottas, and soft pale sands. Though yellow is by no means a brand new room colour (in fact, it’s something of a classic), I was reminded of how bright and inviting it can be, and presented with new ways of using it, all of which had me falling in love all over again with these sunshine-y possibilities.
Yellow is not the easiest colour to work with for two reasons, though when you get it right, the results are beautiful and enduring. The first factor to keep in your peripheral when channeling your mellow yellow is that this colour magnifies on a wall, meaning it will seem much brighter and more expansive when translated from a tiny sample or accessory to an entire room. Usually you should go two to three shades lighter than the yellow that catches your eye on a paint swatch; this will give your space the same feel as the yellow you love, but it accounts for the difference between looking at a spot of it versus being surrounded by it, preventing your selection from being overwhelming.
The second factor you need to keep in mind when selecting the right yellow for your home is lighting. A room without much light will make yellow walls appear dingy, whereas you also don’t want to be blinded by a flood of light bouncing off of too-bright a yellow. Natural light and your interior lighting will both interact differently with yellow, which is why it’s wise when selecting lights for a room in this colour family, to choose lightbulbs which mimic the colour of the natural light that room receives. For example, if the room is westward-facing and receives sunset light, your bulbs should give off a warmer glow, whereas a space that sees a lot of mid-day light should have whiter lighting.
Yellow is definitely a colour you want to do a paint test with, which is where you buy a sample of the paint and apply a patch of the colour(s) you’re considering to one of the walls it’s ultimately intended for. Let it dry and check on it throughout the day to see how its appearance changes based on the lighting the space receives.
In a room that receives a lot of natural light throughout the day, a lighter, warmer yellow is going to give the space a bright, inviting, invigorating feel. This is especially nice in a dining or sitting room. Warmer wooden furnishings and accents will keep this type of space grounded, and a crisp white on the trim will make everything feel very fresh.
For the bedroom, particularly a master suite, you’ll want to soften the yellow a bit to make it more restful; think more pale honey tones and sands. A guest room can afford to be bright and sunny because whoever is using it is most likely on vacation, but most prefer their personal bedroom to use quieter colours to promote relaxation and unwinding. For children, a soft cheery yellow strikes a balance between the serenity of a master suite and the welcoming of a guest room. It can be a particularly lovely choice for a nursery, especially if the gender of the anticipated arrival is unknown. For a more modern use of yellow, pair a watered-down shade of it with a pale grey, or go darker on the grey for a bigger impact. Create a coastal feel by pairing a beachy yellow with varying shades of blue.
Yellow can really animate and enliven a kitchen, blending warmth with energy; just what you want for that busy part of your home. Depending on the style of cabinetry, the flooring, and the lighting of your kitchen, you can take go for a more muted yellow, opting for that French chateau feel, or you can go bright and airy, for that wildflower-country-kitchen ambiance. It comes down to personal preference, but you also need to be cognisant of the more permanent elements of your kitchen; if your appliances are black, the fresh country kitchen yellow will probably not work. If you don’t get a ton of natural light in this part of your house, you’ll definitely want to lean towards the richer, more golden shades of yellow, to create warmth without dimness. For bright yellows, the cabinets either need to be in complimentary wooden hues, or a really fresh white; this allows the space to breathe. Off-white will suit the muted yellows better; if you pair the golds with stark whites, it can make the yellows seems grimy.
Yellow can be very pretty in a bathroom, but the same rules for using yellow in a kitchen usually apply to this room. Most bathrooms do not receive a huge amount of natural light due to privacy needs, which is definitely something you want to be aware of in selecting the right yellow for that space. When you find the right shade, it will make for a very cheery bathroom though!
There are a huge variety of yellow colour palettes you can incorporate into your house. Because there are so many different shades of yellow, from a warm gold to a lemon, there are many other colours it will pair well with, and depending on the yellow you go with, your décor, and the other colours you use in the space, you can achieve many unique styles. Yellow can give you a beach house, a Tuscan villa, a fresh country cottage; it all comes down to how you make it work. Whichever design you go with, yellow is a perfect way to bring sunshine into your home.
Originally Published by The Chronicle Herald
Alexandra Kelter is a social media specialist with Central Home Improvements. Her column covers many aspects of home improvement, both indoor and outdoor, and will combine trending styles with practical applications all within realistic budgets. Kelter is also passionate about fashion, travel, living by the ocean and her bulldog.