Is Yellow a Marmite Colour? Or Will it Hit the Mass Market as it Mellows
Top Image Credit. Rockett St George
Yellow, the happy colour. The colour of daffodils in Spring. Bananas and bees. The sun.
Yellow is the brightest colour and it is the most noticeable of all colours by the human eye. Studies show that it can mean warmth and cheerfulness and has the benefits of increased mental activity and increased muscle energy.
The colour yellow helps activate the memory, encourages communication, enhances vision, builds confidence, and stimulates the nervous system.
It means happiness, positivity, clarity, energy, optimism and freshness, enlightenment, remembrance, intellect, honour, loyalty, and joy.
What is not to like about yellow then?
Like many colours there is a downside to its effect on our psychology. It can represent cowardice and deceit. Dull and dingy it can represent caution, sickness, and jealousy so ultimately it depends on where it is used and how.
Bright yellow is used to attract attention. Think of New York taxi cabs or US school buses. Yellow is also combined with black on these vehicles as this colour combination is the easiest to read from a distance.
Yellow is used to attract children and features in children’s advertising campaigns but if overused in a child’s room it can cause tears and tantrums. Babies are especially sensitive to yellow and a yellow painted room, or even a cream painted room (with undertones of yellow) could lead to a fractious child.
Too much yellow causes loss of focus and makes it hard to complete a task and so a study or office painted entirely in yellow would have a detrimental effect on work efficiency. Too much yellow also can cause people to become critical and demanding.
So, it is quite clear that there are many reasons against painting a room entirely in yellow, but does it have a place in interior decor and why are we seeing it creeping into interiors in recent years?
The Colour Yellow in Interiors
Yellow and its current resurgence in interiors is quite possibly because of its positive psychological qualities: creating happiness, optimism and confidence for the future, in a world that seems relatively uncertain at present.
Yellow is a bright and fresh colour that brings joy and energy into spaces and this makes it eye-catching. Use it in a hallway, which is traditionally dark and it will be a welcome sight to greet you and your guests, or perhaps a breakfast room where you want to start the day in a positive, energetic and happy frame of mind.
Because it is eye catching, yellow is a great accent colour if you want to highlight the most important elements in your interior design or to create focal points in a room. A yellow sofa for example, can look amazing in the living room and for the bedroom you could use some yellow bedding or in my case, I’ve used a yellow velvet bed. One other reason why yellow is a great colour for enhancing features is because it’s seen before other colours when it’s placed against black or dark colours. This means you can pair it with other accent colours and it will still be the centre of attention as long as there’s some black or darkness for it to contrast with.
Yellow is especially good when paired with grey or as you can see in the hallway above, black (with black picture frames).
It is clear that using yellow in the right rooms for the right reason is important to harmonious living and to create the right mood. I believe that using the right colour yellow is also important. For example, I can’t see a bright yellow bed working in my colour scheme, rather darker ochre yellow feels better to me.
But, ultimately yellow may never be for you. And that’s okay because colour is deeply personal.
So, what do trend predictors WSGN think about the future of yellow? “Yellow will start to feed into the mass market when it shifts to a deeper tone of mellow yellow, feeding into the popularity of earthy, baked hues”
Below you will find some examples of the use of yellow in interiors via Instagram. With only one exception (and that room is painted in the more mellow tones of yellow predicted to trend in 2020), yellow is predominately used as an accent colour.
I’m not a big fan of the use of yellow in interiors, although I absolutely love the colour used in the hallway above. I find it visually too demanding when used in large doses and so I think sneaking in a little dose here and there allows you to utilise what can be a refreshing colour without it being overpowering. Hence, why I have chosen to use it for my bed but would never consider painting the walls in yellow paint, or at least not the whole room.
LHS to RHS Image Credit @almost_everything_off_ebay, @threeboysandapinkbath @the_idle_hands, @iamlaurajackson
The Girl with The Green Sofa