Skip to content

Say it with yellow

say it with yellow

Welcome back to our mini series about colour. Last time we were talking about blue, and this month let’s look at yellow. I can see you are already smiling. Find out more about how to include yellow in your life, interiors, fashion and business.


Yellow is one of the most positive colours; it’s sunny and friendly. It boosts our confidence and helps our self-esteem if the right shade of yellow is used.

Kate Watson-Smyths argues that some brighter and deeper shades of yellow, especially when combined with black, signify danger (think of a crime scene in a US drama), but, in general, yellow gets our attention and creates happiness and warmth.

Some of the expressions people use when asked about yellow:

“Sunshine, warmth, punchy, bright – definitely not lemon!” Amy Wilson, Interior Design Blogger and Co-founder of No House Rules.

“We have got to say we gravitate towards yellows. Yellow is happy, fun and motivating. We associate it with summer and sunshine.” Clio and Athena Sigismondi from Black&Sigi, Independent Jewellery Designers.

say it with yellow

Using yellow in interiors is probably not the easiest of tasks. You need to tread carefully. Picking the wrong shade of yellow might enhance feeling of emotional distress, but using yellow as an accent colour is a great idea, in my opinion.

say it with yellowA splash of yellow looks great in kitchens, dining rooms and north-facing rooms. Our kitchen (above) and utility room are located in the basement, so we bravely used a Sweetcorn Yellow on our chimney breast to brighten the space and make it more inviting. Yellow and grey combination is always on trend.

say it with yellow

Yellow’s complementary colour shade on the colour wheel is blue. I love how Amy styled her bedroom using two strong colours for her accessories: dark blue and yellow.

“I love yellow. It is the perfect accent colour – it compliments strong dark colours, which I love to use. I don’t mean wish-washy lemon – I mean a strong punchy yellow! It always works well with green – my current favourite is Farrow & Ball studio green.” Amy Wilson, Interior Design Blogger and Co-founder of No House Rules.

say it with yellow
Yellow also works well with green, orange and red. I used yellow and red in my dark utility room (above). The space now looks bold and uplifting. I don’t mind doing my washing there at all.

There are many shades of yellow, but my old-time favourites are: Citrus Zest for its boldness and statement, and Provence – a much lighter shade, looking great in sunny rooms combined with pastel blues.


Yellow is one of the most polarising colours, according to Kate Watson-Smyth. But, I’m in the pro-yellow camp, especially when it comes to accessories. I love wearing yellow in the summer. My favourite summer dress has got a banana motive on it. Go bananas, I say!


Yellow always looks refreshing when combined with black and white. A yellow jacket or statement yellow jewellery will transform a classic black dress into an outfit to remember.

“I wear a lot of dark and white and one of the few big colours you will find in my wardrobe is yellow. My failsafe go-to colour combo when dressing in black & white.” Amy Wilson, Interior Design Blogger and Co-founder of No House Rules.

According to Carol Hanson, personal stylist, using the colour wheel is the best way to experiment with different hues in your wardrobe.


Yellow stimulates the logical side of the brain and is known to give us mental clarity, so using it in offices is not a bad idea if you want to boost people’s creativity. Yellow works well for products and services promoting entertainment and the fun factor, so Ikea made the right choice with their logo. So as Snapchat.

“Yellow Mellow says it all right! We associate yellow with our brand obviously but really for us it takes us to a happy place. We team our yellow with greys and blacks so it adds the fun element to our contemporary brand which is exactly what we want to convey. Every shade of yellow is good in our book from a Mustard which we are very much partial to, to a Lemon Sherbert yellow!” Clio and Athena Sigismondi from Black&Sigi, Independent Jewellery Designers.

Yellow grabs attention, so could be used to promote sales and offers in store, but be careful not to use it too much. Yellow might trigger anxiety and aggression in people who are already feeling on the edge.

Fastfood restaurants like McDonald’s combine yellow and red in their branding – apparently red increased the appetite but yellow makes them move on quickly.

Overall, yellow is a warm and happy colour. So why not include it in your life? What’s your favourite colour?

Written by Monika Pick, cover image by Amy Wilson from No House Rules.

Monika is co-founder of PickArtHome, an online independent art shop selling a selection of unique, high quality, contemporary photographs for those seeking an out of the ordinary twist to their wall décor. And she is also  an interior and lifestyle blogger at SecretGardenHome. IG@secretgardenhome

Thank you to all contributors:

      • Amy Wilson, Interior Design Blogger and Co-founder of No House Rules: w: IG: @thisstyle_rocks
      • Clio and Athena Sigismondi from Black&Sigi, Independent Jewellery Designers. w: IG: @black_and_sigi
      • Tina Bernstein, Founder of Mapology Guides, entrepreneur, designer and blogger: w: IG: mapologyguides
      • Carol Hanson, Image Consultant: w: IG: @wantheroutfit

Further reading:

      1. Stephanie Hoppen, Perfect Palettes. Inspiring Colour Choices for the Home Decorator, Jacqui Small, London, 2010.
      2. Kate Watson-Smyth, Mad About the House. How to decorate your home with style. Pavilion, London, 2018.
      3. Will Taylor, Bright Bazaar. Embracing Colour for Make-You-Smile-Style. Jacqui Small, London, 2014.