COLOUR CONFIDENCE: HOW TO DECORATE WITH YELLOW

yellow swan lake on walls

I’ve been thinking a lot about yellow recently. I think it’s because I do most of my thinking when I walk the dogs, and for the last week or so, when we’ve been out and about on our walks, and as spring is finally blossoming, my heart has been gladdened to see swathes of beautiful, sunny yellow daffodils all over the place. I have always loved seeing yellow daffodils; more than any other flower, they herald the change of seasons to me, and their golden colour makes me think of sunshine and summer and long warm days. And as the girls and I walk along and I admire the sunny flowers, I get to thinking about my soon-to-be-decorated guest bedroom which will be wallpapered in yellow swanned loveliness and I realise that yellow makes me happy, that’s it’s an uplifting positive colour in the world, which should be adored and loved by the masses.

Nina Campbell yellow Swan Lake wallpaper

So, WHY oh WHY, was it the one colour, in the five years of having my shop, that got absolutely slated. ALL of the time. No other colour would really get a mention. I would show people fabrics and wallpapers they didn’t really connect with, and it would be a relaxed ‘nah’….but show them yellow, and I’d get a vehement ‘I don’t like yellow’, ‘I’ve never liked yellow’ and ‘anything but yellow’. My colleague and I discussed the phenomenon at great length. But to no avail! We still have no idea why people seemed so averse to it. But for all you fellow mellow yellow lovers (drink some tequila and repeat) and for all of you who I would like to convert, here’s my guide to decorating with that happiest of colours.

For anyone who already knows they love yellow, or for anyone feeling brave, you can start off with the fully whammy and go for the ‘investment’ yellow, the high ticket items you buy for your home:

WALLPAPER
This is for the fearless decorator who is confident they’ll enjoy the pattern and colour for a long time to come. If intrigued but a little scared, experiment with a feature wall. I absolutely adore the full-on maximalist floral bedroom below, but love the calmer geometric as well; what makes both of them so successful is the layering of colours, textures, art and accessories, so that the wallpaper doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

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2. geometric yellow wallpapered wallsUPHOLSTERY
If you prefer your colour in a smaller block, consider upholstering a favourite chair or sofa in a rich, beautiful yellow, to give your room that wonderful pop of colour.

Yellow sofa and footstool in dark blue living room

yellow armchairs

Yellow sofa against grey walls

FURNITURE
If you’re worried about brightly coloured upholstery, maybe you have kids or dogs and you prefer your upholstery to be more hard wearing and maybe something that won’t show up so much muck, invest in off-the peg furniture in yellow, or a one off commission like the bathroom cabinet below.

Yellow dining chairs in a blue kitchen

Yellow bathroom cabinet

CURTAINS
And finally, if you’re like me and have a real penchant for brightly coloured, make-a-statement curtains, introduce your pop of yellow in full length drapes, to give your room a luxurious, layered look.

Yellow curtains in a dark green living room

Now, what all of the above options require is for you to either know that you like yellow enough to invest in a more expensive item for the home in that colour, or for you to be a bit bold and somewhat reckless and take a punt on using it and hope you like it. A less risky strategy for any of you curious about experimenting with yellow, is to opt for more budget-friendly introductions that won’t break the bank should you decide that, like all my old customers at the shop, you too have an aversion to it in your home!

PAINT
Paint is the easiest way to transform a room and for you to dip your toes in the waters of yellow, and of course, can be painted back over if the experiment goes wrong. Try it on all the walls, on the radiators, your kitchen cabinets, or a chest of drawers, the options are endless, so just give it a go and see what happens; you might love it!

Yellow painted kitchen cabinet

Yellow painted pipes and radiator

Yellow colour blocked wall

Yellow painted chest of drawers

Yellow painted door

SCATTER CUSHIONS
Eh by ‘eck, us interior designers do like a scatter cushion or two, but it’s because it’s a lovely way to be able to introduce more colour and texture into a room. And it’s the perfect starting off point if you want to splash a bit of yellow in your decor but not sure if you’ll like it or not. Scatters can be easily swapped a year or so down the line, once you’ve had a little dabble. And who knows, you might like your sunny yellow cushions so much that you move on to upholstering a chair.

Yellow scatter cushions

Everything I’ve shown you so far has been quite in your face yellow. But that’s not for everyone.

TONE DOWN ON THE YELLOW
Another way to introduce yellow in your life is to opt for the more mellow tones, the softer golds and the ochres, to give you a more sophisticated and calmer feel.

Gold yellow sofa

Yellow ochre painted bath

And finally, if none of the above appeal to you, there are ways of introducing yellow into your interior without even investing in anything to do with interior design; things that can go in a cupboard or are more transitory, making them easy to get rid of should you get tired of the colour.

PERSONAL ACCESSORIES
I love the image below, the designer has made such a clever use of colour and the pop of yellow is just so unexpected. Look how easy it is to introduce yellow just by adding shoes and a handbag into a room.

18. yellow shoes and handbag

SAY IT WITH FLOWERS
If all else fails, then pop some yellow flowers in a vase and brighten a corner of your home. Nothing could introduce yellow more easily and more affordably, and how can you not like yellow flowers? Impossible.

Vase of yellow flowers

So I hope that after looking at all those beautiful images, that you’re with me on the yellow front, that you’re in full agreement that’s it’s a versatile and happy colour that can easily and stylishly be introduced to your home, and that you think that some of my previous customers were quite clearly mad. And if not, I hope you don’t dislike it as much as you used to. I, in the meantime, will continue to enjoy the daffodils, and I’ll continue to look forward to my swan wallpaper, but maybe now I’ve got this off my chest I’ll be able to think of something other than yellow when I next walk the dogs. Maybe I’ll move on to how people’s peevishness to purple perplexes me, that’s always been a conundrum….plus, I like alliterated sentences with the letter P.

Ta ta for now

Rx

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