Bottled Sunshine: Decorating With Yellow

By Oliver Burns

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June 11, 2018|Trends

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  • rom the softness of dappled sunshine to zingy lemons on tabletops, via the paleness of soft butter and burnt saffron tones of market spices, yellow hues burst with hope and warmth.

    NYFW18 catwalks were awash with yellows and WGSN’s Interiors Trend Report for 2018/19 highlights that blondes continue to have more fun – yellow is the fastest rising colour behind orange, starkly contrasted with dark colours and bold primary shades or standing bright against neutrals.

  • Oscar de la Renta/Carolina Herrera/Trussardi via Glowsly
    Living Etc
    Sara Battaglia via
    Elle Decor
  • Like a lone daffodil shooting up in Spring, the zesty shade can’t help but boost happiness and energy levels, though it’s deemed a ‘tricky’ colour in both fashion and interiors. Applied carefully, this tirelessly modern hue remains anything but dull, signalling radiance, intelligence and even enlightenment. It’s no wonder, then, it’s influencing flamboyant high-end and high street fashion – and the uplift in bright, botanical interiors proves tropical is still topical.

    The psychology of the colour yellow does much to explain its resonance with Generation Z, seeking alternatives to saccharine ‘Millennial Pink’ found in cafés and clothing shops on every corner.

As keen as mustard

  • Image via pinterest
  • The brightest colour of the visible spectrum, yellow signals vitality, honour and extraversion – themes that saturate Instagram feeds across the globe in the wake of ongoing political and environmental struggles. Painting the walls of a room a statement yellow is undoubtedly bold, but a path to be trodden carefully. The ‘wrong’ hue is proven to trigger feelings of anxiety, so it’s hugely important to research which colours resonate before taking the plunge.

    Carrying over ideas from the catwalk, create a vintage feel with pale yellows set against tweed, or barely-there creams and whites. You can modernise the look with acid brights – a grapefruit yellow throw or cushions pop against crisp white bedsheets and a brown headboard in sumptuous fabric, just as a banana yellow will stand out against a dogtooth dress in earthy tones.

Take cues from the catwalk: create depth with contrasting textures

Miu Miu via Oracle Fox
Emilia Wickstead

Beyonce gave the colour its moment in the sun when she came out swinging in her ferocious ‘Hold Up’ music video, fighting infidelity and distrust in ruffled marigold Roberto Cavalli (on an album entitled ‘Lemonade’, no less.)

Accessorised with a baseball bat, the dress signified emotional strength and independence – attributes that can be put across with a deft addition of yellow in the home or wardrobe. Beyonce changed the game with one dress, inviting a legion of followers to build a new one completely.

Those who don’t quite possess the self-confidence of one of the world’s best-selling recording artists can start by introducing pops of the colour. Embrace unlikely colour matches like a grey suit paired with yellow shoes or a deep purple skirt, or throw on jeans and a jumper featuring primary colours.

If you'd prefer not to wear the trend, try adding it to your home

Tapping into the trend can be as simple as picking out the yellows in a rug with one statement chair, or setting a lighter shade against the neutral shades of natural materials to soften hard lines and add texture.

Organic materials blend seamlessly with yellow: try an acid yellow window frame against white walls, or a woven hemp rug to bring down walls the colour of egg yolk). For a non-committal nod towards the trend, explore living décor – some freshly-cut sunflowers or an imaginative yellow spray, placed alongside dove grey or clean white, will add an artful finish to any scheme.

Make a powerful statement with one stand-out wall or artfully layered textures

  • Blocky, retro pieces that hark back to the 1970s are still key for 2018 (smooth arches and saturated colours were prominent in Milan at Salone del Mobile for AW 2018), brought into the present with sparing usage and contrasting textures.

    A strong yellow sofa, cushion or cabinet can instantly lift a neutral black, white or grey scheme, breaking up a monochrome pattern or acting as a deliberately high contrast conversation piece. Set against deep navy, yellow proves to be an excellent secondary colour, working hard to draw guests’ attention to nearby artwork, furniture and antiques.

    From pretty pastels to regal marigold, using yellow with careful consideration creates a gloriously sunny disposition, inside and out.


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