AdvicePainting and decorating

5 ways to cheer up your home with yellow

From mustard to lemon – no one yellow fits all.

The colour yellow can get a bad rap. It’s often seen as either too bright or too wishy-washy and it can end up being a decorative afterthought rather than the main attraction or a well-thought-out feature.


That said, the sheer size of paint colour charts and the clever blending of shades by paint companies means that it’s now possible to paint your rooms in yellow without making them look like a fading care home or a fast food outlet. Mustard shades, grey-yellows, orange-yellows and even yellow with elements of pink or green allow you to create luxurious rooms in a hue you may normally avoid. Done well, it’ll bring a touch of sunshine into your home.

If you’re looking for ideas about how yellow could work in your home, look no further:



Unless you’re very lucky with natural light, it’s likely that your stairs will be at least partly in the dark. The beauty of using yellow on the stairs is that as it’s just a space you pass through rather than linger, it’s a good place to start if you’re nervous about committing to a yellow room. It’ll certainly lift your mood when you come down for breakfast in the morning. Dayroom Yellow may sound like something from a hospital, but this Farrow and Ball shade works well in stairwells. You could also ask your painter/decorator to forgo the paint on the walls and paint your actual stairs or get a yellow carpet fitted for a bold and unusual feature.

Feature wall


Lots of paint companies now offer special feature wall ranges, often in colours that many would find too powerful or unusual in a whole room. Something like Dulux’s Lemon Punch will add a zesty touch in your bedroom. It works well with whites, blues and greys as the main colour. In Feng Shui, yellows and golds are seen as uplifting too – a bonus if you struggle to get up in the mornings and could do with a burst of positivity to motivate you ready for the day ahead.


Like stairwells, hallways can be dark places so using bright yellows here makes sense. They’ll nicely reflect any sun that does come in and make the whole area glow when you have a light on. Valspar’s Illuminate Me is perfect for brightening up dark spaces, while providing a classic backdrop for your hallway paintings or any decorative period features in your home.



Yellow will draw out elements of your room so using it as a highlighter can be a great alternative to the feature wall. Asking a painter/decorator to place it behind a wall full of shelving like Vogue Kitchens did at the 2013 Ideal Home Show will help the items on the shelves stand out. Something that’s bright without being acidic will work well here, with a colour such as Crown’s wonderfully-named Happy Daze.

Whole room


This is where a little faith and daring can come in. Buy at least half-a-dozen tester pots and try them out in big swatches, preferably in different parts of the room where you can compare how the light falls on the shades you’ve chosen. Little Greene’s Yellow Pink is a great, bright mustard shade that will look great in a modern or classic home set up. You can even go with dark door frames or paintwork if you’re feeling particularly bold. If you’re a Dulux paint fan, their Visualizer app can help you imagine how your room would look painted in a few of their yellows.

Need help introducing the warm shade into your home? Let us help you find a painter/decorator to take care of it.

Iain Aitch

Iain is a London-based writer who works as a journalist for a number of newspapers and magazines. He has also written two books, one of which is a hilarious lexicon about Britishness – Iain is a Brit through and through!

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