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Decorating With Yellow on a Budget

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Decorating With Yellow on a Budget
Photo © Rob Melnychuk/Getty

“I was for years in the yellow period, you know.” Josef Albers

Ah, cheerful, sunny yellow! When it comes to decorating with yellow, one either loves it or leaves it. Yellow makes many people feel cheerful, energetic, and happy, yet the color yellow – especially the brighter shades – causes some to feel agitated and uncomfortable.

Though yellow tends to turn the stomach of some, there are many staunch supporters of this bright and classic interior color. If yellow is your thing, these tips for decorating with yellow will help you incorporate this sunny color into your home.

  • If you love yellow but you are the only one in your home that does, try tempting your mate with a light, buttery shade of yellow. Many don’t realize that most ivories and creams have their footings in yellow and already love these soft, simple neutrals.

  • If you are decorating a child's room, soft yellows are easier on the eyes and more calming than bright, primary yellows. Also, your child won’t so easily outgrow the softer shades.

  • Yellow reflects light and is perfect for poorly lit rooms, also making it a great choice for a ceiling color.

  • If you are nervous about incorporating such a bright color, try first using it as an accent color in small doses, like in a throw pillow, vase or a piece of art. Or try using your favorite color of yellow paint on an accent wall.

  • Since yellow can be overwhelming and the eye may tire of it quickly, you may not want to invest in any large-scale, expensive furnishings in yellow. Save yellow for the side chairs and keep your larger pieces neutral.

  • Sticking to muted tones of yellow, like golds and mustards, is a safe yet sophisticated way to incorporate this strong hue into your home while keeping it from becoming overwhelming.

  • Since yellow is a primary color, it tends to combine well with most other colors. For a perfect mix without much guesswork, look to yellow’s complimentary color – violet.

  • Be sure to fork out for a paint sample before you buy a full gallon of any yellow paint. Yellow is one color you will not want to trust on the paint chip, since it tends to not only intensify on the wall but also change according to the time of day and the light.

  • When decorating with yellow on a budget, gold and yellow spray paints can be your best friends and can transform accent decor almost effortlessly.

  • Since yellow is a primary color, it may be hard (if not impossible) to mix your own wall shades or other yellow paints for use, so look for yellow oops paints at your local hardware store.

  • If you like the brighter hues of yellow, you may be tempted to go muted or neutral with the rest of your room’s palette. Don’t. Bright yellow is extroverted and meshes best with a friend, so pair bright yellow with another sunny shade like lime green, citron orange, rose red or sky blue.

  • When pairing soft yellows with another color, remember that muted yellow loves its closest cousins like deep browns, golds, terra cottas and umbers. These warm colors can harmonize well in a space.

  • Yellow is such a classic hue so it is easy to find yellow decor, art and furnishings on a budget. You may have trouble finding the richer, more muted tones of yellow on a budget, especially in fabrics. High-end fabric stores often keep a remnant or overstock room on site, though you may have to ask for access.

  • To (re)use yellow on a budget, consider repurposing yellow clothing items into accent pillows, hand towels or other small home decor.

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