Depending on the amount of red or blue it contains, yellow can have different personalities. Yellows with a red undertone are warm and welcoming, so they’re great on large pieces of furniture and walls―“especially in north-facing rooms that might otherwise feel stark,” says New York City decorator Thomas Jayne. Yellows with a hint of blue can come off as cold, so they’re best used sparingly, on accessories or small furnishings. Jayne suggests keeping bright yellows out of bedrooms and offices, because they can disrupt sleep and concentration. But pale, buttery yellows “function as neutrals,” he explains, and can work just about anywhere.
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Yellow paint picks from New York City interior designer Amanda Nisbet. “All are on the warmer side of the spectrum, which is less risky,” she says.
Best for a Dark Hallway
Bright Yellow Natura 2022-30* “A fabulous jolt for a just-passing-through space.”
A large yellow piece can keep a neutral room from feeling washed-out. It signals playfulness, excitement, and a sense of adventure. When introducing yellow furniture, try to match the vibe of the room―a rustic dresser against unfinished floors; a sleek, bright chair with a crisp, modern desk―to keep the effect cool, not kooky.
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Lacquered Dining Chair
Perfect for a breakfast nook in a mostly white kitchen.
To buy: Unfortunately, this item is no longer available, but find a similar chair at westelm.com.
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Use it in a girl’s bedroom or in a bathroom to stow towels and toiletries.
To buy: Unfortunately, this item is no longer available, but find a similar dresser at mainecottage.com.
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Solid light-gray bedding would play up its minimalist lines.
To buy: Unfortunately, this item is no longer available, but find a similar bed at mainecottage.com.
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Doubles as a side table when you add a tray for drinks.
To buy: Unfortunately, this item is no longer available, but find a similar ottoman at target.com.
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A huge hit of retro style for a small urban apartment.
To buy: Unfortunately, this item is no longer available, but find a similar sofa at cb2.com.
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“This color is arresting in small doses because the eye goes right to it,” says Jayne. “Even a bowl of lemons on a sideboard makes a statement.” When working with yellow details, opt for strong tones to maximize impact, and limit the yellows in one room to a single shade for unity. Pillows, throws, and objects are all fair game. “Just stay away from dishware,” says Jayne. “Food doesn’t look great against yellow.”
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Add a bunch of yellow ranunculus for a modern, monochromatic display.
To buy: Unfortunately, this item is no longer available, but find a similar vase at gretelhome.com.
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The tone-on-tone palette freshens up a traditional pattern.
To buy: Medici Gold rug, $1,160 (six by nine feet), companyc.com for stores.
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Feather-light holders for jewelry or errant buttons.