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Using Yellow and Gold in Home Decor

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Chazz is an Interior Decorator/Consultant/Retailer, amateur photographer, cook, gardener, handyman, currently restoring an 1880 Victorian.

Photo © CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Photo © CJS. All Rights Reserved.

Warm Up Your Decorating Scheme with Yellow

Ahh! The color of spring! Daffodils, Forsythia, Tulips, Crocuses. No wonder that, astrologically, yellow is the color of the sign of Taurus, a sign of spring. It is also the color that is the theme of this article.

Yellow is the color of sunshine and a symbol of joy and hope. It can brighten the darkest hallway and warm a room that does not receive natural daylight. From bright sunflower to pale butter yellow, the golden hue adds warmth and lifts spirits.

This page is for those whose favorite color is yellow and who would like to use it in home decor, whether as an accent color or as the main color throughout the house. Yellow comes in a range of hues that can add a bit of zest, a dash of verve, or a cocoon of well-being to your interior decor. Yellow (used according to directions and in moderation, of course :-) is the first and oldest anti-depressant, and yellow sunshine is still one of the most effective treatments for seasonal-affective-disorder (SAD) and similar forms of melancholy. Add some to your home decor and see if it brightens more than your color scheme.

Merry Structure by Wassily Kandinsky

Merry Structure by Wassily Kandinsky

Positive, Optimistic Yellow!

Elegant and Joyful or Too Much of a Good Thing?

If your favorite color is yellow, you are said to be future-oriented and crave the new and novel. Yellow is the color of curiosity, spirituality, and imagination. You have a cheerful disposition and are creative and intelligent.

Yellow hues are also associated with power, wealth and age. The yellow spectrum includes ambers and golds, some creams and ivories, as well as lemon. On the yellow/red cusp we find corals and oranges as well.

Saturated Yellow (like cadmium - a stronger "taxi cab" yellow) is attention-getting and a high-contrast high-visibility color, which is why it is effectively used in traffic and warning signs. Like the sun, too strong a yellow can be uncomfortable to look at for any length of time and although it can be dramatic (especially when used with black), it should be used in moderation.

Does Your Favorite Color Reflect the Real You?

Yellow. Cheerful or Distressing?

Lighter Yellow Fabrics for Your Home


Using Yellow in Your Home

Western color psychologists believe yellow can increase self-esteem and overall well-being, but too much of a hot yellow can be a strain on the eyes and cause irritability and anxiety. To avoid the latter, when you use yellow in your home, vary the shades and add other colors.

Classic Blue and Yellow Neoclassical Toile

Classic Blue and Yellow Neoclassical Toile

Yellow and Blue Always Delight

Yellows and Blues make a classic complementary color scheme popular in contemporary, country, transitional, and traditional styles.

It is a color combination found in French toile, English chintz, Damasks, Jacobean prints, Embroidered fabrics, Tapestries, Patterns, Silks, Chenilles, Velvets, and Chinoiseries.

Blue and yellow fabrics courtesy of

Blue and yellow fabrics courtesy of


Warm Up With Yellows and Reds

Yellow and Red create a warm, welcoming space. Choose a toile, floral stripe, or even a plaid for your starting point. Mix and match for interest and a classic color scheme.

If yellows and reds are too bold for your taste in brighter shades try a golden yellow with burgundy red for a rich classic look or try a maize yellow with pinks, blues, and greens for a softer look.

Fabrics Courtesy of

Fabrics Courtesy of

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Yellow and Multiple Colors


From elegant and sophisticated to exotic or simply soft and pretty, yellow is versatile and easy to work with.

Just remember that the stronger the yellow, the more punch it packs, so use deeper shades in moderation.


The Dark Side of Yellow

Yellow is the most visible color and the first color the human eye notices. It raises metabolism and tends to cause eye fatigue in higher concentrations. It is also the strongest color, psychologically speaking, when it comes to emotions. Although it is considered an upbeat, optimistic color, too much yellow, or the wrong yellow, can be overpowering and anxiety producing.

While soft yellow can enhance concentration (which is why it used for legal pads) and stimulate conversation, creating a warm and welcoming environment, some yellow tones can increase emotional distress and contribute to feelings of frustration and anger. In fact, studies show that babies tend to cry more in a yellow room and adults tend to lose their tempers more when surrounded by brighter, more intense yellows.

To avoid bringing out the "yellow streak," stick to lemony and buttery soft yellows or, if using stronger yellows, limit the color to a few accessories.

Popular shades of yellow

Popular shades of yellow

Yellow Perception: The Cultural Connection

It is important to remember that our perception of color, although based in human biology, is also influenced by cultural connections. In parts of the world, such as India, Malaysia, and China, yellow is even considered a sacred color.


Buddhists, Hindus, Hebrews, and other groups also hold yellow in high regard. In Ancient Greece and Rome, festive garments, bridal wedding dresses, and priestly robes were yellow.

Yellow substances such as saffron and turmeric have a long history of being used for healing purposes. Perhaps that is why they are also imbued with magical qualities. Small bags of saffron, for example, were worn as talismans for good luck during the Middle Ages.

Christianity, however, turned yellow into the color of envy, debauchery, and treachery, preferring the darker colors. It became symbolic of the classic world eschewed by leaders of the newly organized religion as pagan.

Although viewed today, for the most part, with dispassionate indifference, some experts consider human reactions to yellow as grounded in this past. Indeed, it provokes the strongest reactions, both positve and negative, when people are asked to assess their color preferences.

Psychological studies have found that those of European origin tend to dislike yellow significantly more than other groups. Linguists supply evidence of the diminished use of the word yellow as a positive attribute or descriptor in the western world and its replacement with an emphasis on "gold" and "golden," perhaps due, at least in some part, to its perceived monetary value.

Is Yellow Mellow or Stressful?


Yellow Day-Brighteners for Anywhere or Anyone (These Do Wonders for Gray Cubicles!)

Left to right: Sunflowers by Claude Monet, (c. 1881),  Lady in Yellow by Maximillian Kurzweil (c. 1899), and Rosa Sulfurea by Pierre-Joseph Redouté

Left to right: Sunflowers by Claude Monet, (c. 1881), Lady in Yellow by Maximillian Kurzweil (c. 1899), and Rosa Sulfurea by Pierre-Joseph Redouté

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© 2009 Chazz

Has this lens been Interesting? Entertaining? A Sheer Joy? - Let Us Know!

GEMNITYA5 on May 22, 2014:


theholidayplace on April 13, 2012:

I quite like yellow is a lovely colour

Wedding Mom on April 02, 2012:

Yellow reminds me of sunshine. It always make me smile.

ForestBear LM on March 21, 2012:

Light yellow makes me happy and I feel it brings a lot of warmth to a room. Nice lens, thank you

Barbara Walton from France on February 22, 2012:

Yellows and organges creat light. I always remember painting a bathroom yellow and constantly thinking I'd left the light on.

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on February 21, 2012:

I do love the color Yellow because it makes me happy and so does this lens.

jseven lm on November 07, 2011:

I love yellow for many things, walls, food, decor and the sun! Great lens.

Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on November 07, 2011:

I used to think of yellow as an accent color, but a few years ago we painted our den yellow and I love it. It just never seems to grow old and we have not tired of the color. Now I use brown as an accent in the room :)

Treasures By Brenda from Canada on November 07, 2011:

LOVE yellow as a decorating color.

anonymous on September 03, 2011:

Mellow yellow! Love the color. :)

FernLady on July 16, 2011:

I love yellow and have two rooms painted a golden tone. I thought the personality traits were very interesting. Great lens. Off to read about the green room.

Patricia on July 16, 2011:

I love yellow... the color makes me happy. Great lens! Blessing it!

anonymous on July 08, 2011:

I love cream yellow, it brings the brightness of sun-shine at the same time, not hurting the eyes. Bronze and gold have long been used in home decor in vases and embroidery.

RinchenChodron on July 06, 2011:

I love bright yellow. The shrine room where I worship is a beautiful yellow!

ctavias0ffering1 on January 06, 2011:

My sitting room is a rich golden yellow and this year I'll be redecorating the bedroom with a lighter shade of yellow, something gentle to wake up to. Yellow isn't a colour I would wear much but in a room it can be just wonderful, cheerful and a real uplift.

SuperZoe LM on November 18, 2009:

Nice lens! I love yellow.. such a good idea too!

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