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Colour // Yellow!

Yellow, yellow, yellow

I recently read an article which said that one of the biggest mistakes DIYers make in updating their interiors is in choosing yellow as a wall colour. Well, this upset me! I mean, I can see where one might go wrong in this department, but when it’s right, it’s so right. So I thought I’d better put together some options for those of you who are as awed by yellow as me, but aren’t exactly sure of how to use it. As as you might imagine, dealing with yellow walls is a matter of selecting the right kind of shade, and as a general rule, a bold, primary yellow just won’t work – we so want to ensure after all that you don’t end up living in a lego house! If you do love bright, bold yellows, consider choosing furniture or soft furnishings in these shades, as they’ll be less dominating, and yet just as powerful a design element.

So first things first – what kind of space are you looking for? Yellow can work wonderfully in a country estate or farmhouse, just as easily as it can work in a relaxed beach house, or a trendy city abode. Yellow can sit within three categories;

– dusty, muted, welcoming yellows, which tend to be found in traditional houses;

– cool, crisp and weightless hues, which are often found in coastal homes;

– or bright, vibrant yellows, which are typically used in moderation in trendy, contemporary spaces.

Defining what look you’re after can help a thousand-fold in narrowing your options. The best thing to begin with is to find a few examples of yellow rooms you love, and then determine exactly what it is that draws you to them and what category of the above they fit into. You won’t be able to make a decision on the colour you want unless you can really clarify the style you are hoping to achieve, so try and be precise and decisive. Is it a warm country kitchen your’re after, or slick, scandinavian inspired look? There are differences – but if all else fails, prioritising just one precedent image as your favourite is what you need to do, as this will give you something firm to go fourth with.

Have a look through the beautiful examples of different uses of yellow below and pick what look you’re after.



For a traditional look …

This yellow sits within the traditional category, and has undertones of green.



Another traditional yellow, this is a muted, slightly green lemon tone.



This wallpaper is a great option and at once provides a crsip pop of colour and a traditional feel.


Yellow Crochet Blanket in Bedroom of Sectantio Hotel in Italy, Remodelista

A lovely rustic yellow room, with a tradtional washed mustard yellow.



A traditional, warm lemon yellow which works wonderfully with reddish toned timber.

Try muted, dusty yellows such as :

Resene Melting Moment – Washed, muted lemon yellow


Resene Sandbar – a mellow, sandy inspired ochre yellow.d6fae481259dcfc662254ecc0a54d531

Resene Chenin – a soft, buttery, citrus yellow, with slight green undertones.

Resene Double Raffia – A warm. creamy mustard (no swatch)

Resene Bittersweet – Rich, deep earthy mustard






For a crisp, fresh, coastal look …

A fresh, weightless yellow which gives a crisp, homely feel.


This yellow works well with muted turquoise tones, whites, and timber.

Try confident, fresh citrus and lemon yellows  such as :

Resene Husk Yellow – Modest, chic, and crisp with slight green undertones


Resene La Luna – a fresh lemon yellow, with a gentle feel



For a contemporary look …

This is a bold, contemporary yellow and works wonderfully with its rich grey counterpoint.


A rich, crisp yellow which gives a great Scandinavian look.


A traditional tone used up against pale greys and white which gives it a contemporary feel.

Try rich mustard and creamy sunshine yellows such as :

Resene Galliano – an intense, honey sweet yellow which works well with rich, natural greys

Resene Bardot – a bright, yet soft toned sunshine yellow













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The Author:

Our principle designer Poppy is a Masters of Architecture graduate from the University of Newcastle, Australia. She graduated in 2013 with First Class Honours, received the Dean's Medal and was awarded the Australian Institute of Architects NSW Chapter Masters of Architecture Graduate of the Year prize. In 2010, Poppy received the Eric Parker Travelling Scholarship encouraging the research and drawing of architecture.

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