How To Use White … No! Yellow.

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I was going to talk about white.

But do you know what?  I don’t really do white.

I’m a woman who had her entire staircase – walls, doors, skirtings and architraves – painted in Farrow and Ball Stiffkey Blue. I know all the theory of white – light, spaciousness, blah, blah, blah -  but, well, I just can’t summon up any enthusiasm for it.

Farrow & Ball stiffkey blue

Picture credit: Farrow & Ball

So if full on colour & pattern aren’t your thang (I’m told there are such people) then maybe I can refer you to the estimable Kelly Hoppen or actress-turned-hotelier Anoushka Hemple for a tour round the (not for me) glories of greige.

What’s that you say?

You’d rather bask in the sunshine and magnificence that is Yellow? Well that I can help you with!

Let’s see what the mighty internet has to say: 

“Yellow is…the most noticeable of all colours by the human eye. It means happiness and optimism; it is the colour of sun shining, of bright light and creativity. ... It is the colour of high energy, enthusiasm, hope, fun, and cheerfulness.”

So if you’re looking for a statement, and one with such positivity potential, then forget white and embrace a touch of sunshine.  If you’re keen to bring light to dingy areas then rest assured that yellow has a high light reflectance value with none of the boringness of white. 

Just don’t overdo it, I hear you saying and I’d tend to agree.  

Yellow can be strong stuff. But then again, the great Impressionist painter Claude Monet didn’t seem to mind piling it on.  This is his absolutely ravishing dining room.

Monet dining room

He had it painted in two tones of yellow, completely overturning the Victorian fashion for dark, heavy brown wood. The yellow both contrasts with and beautifully enhances the blues of the dishes and the greens of the outside space.

Knew a thing or two about colour did Claude. (His famous waterlily paintings are regarded as some of the most beautiful art in history and have sold for up to £41,000,000)

So you can take a leaf out of a painter’s book.

Pair clear yellows with blues – navy blue is a classic for a crisp, clean look. Or if you take a more subtle approach, a white or neutral room can be touched with freshness and fun by adding accents of yellow and pairing it with pink or fuchsia. 

Or use the colour wheel.

Explore the complementary colours of violet and yellow to make yourself a vibrant and energetic scheme. Tone it down a notch and pale yellow and lavender will give you something a bit quieter, a bit more natural but still cheerful.

A word of warning for the dramatically inclined.

Be careful when using yellow with black.  Aside from summoning associations with angry wasps, in the wrong hands yellow and black mixed together create a sickly yellow-green. Not a great look for most of us.  

Surprisingly though, grey and yellow are much happier bedfellows. 

Together they create an unexpected, modern and – may I say – gorgeous colour combo.  We used it for our ‘The Final Frontier’ wallpaper and we think it’s rather fabulous.

 TFF yellow wallpaper

Yellow. What’s not to love?

 Victoria x

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