It’s yellow

TRENDS are dictating yellow is the colour of the year, and while it may not appeal instantly to everyone, it has an optimistic, cheery feel about it.

It’s the colour of choice for children when depicting the sun shining in colouring projects, and that of smiley face icons on emails and text messages. It’s also the colour of spring melting into summer, of primroses and pale marigolds, and shades that deepen to gold as summer burns into autumn.

Feng shui gurus would say yellow has energy stimulating properties, making it ideal for dining rooms and kitchens to encourage the flow of conversation and debate, so maybe it’s not the best colour for the bedroom in case such stimulating conversation becomes over-stimulated and ends in a fight.

Yellow has been in the fashion doldrums for a while, having had its last serious outing around 50 years ago. For those of us who are loving the retro revival, it’s clear yellow never looked as good as it did in the 1950s and ’60s.

It seems we just can’t get enough of that mid-century modern style. Yellow was then the hot colour in printing and even defined the packaging on Lego, Weetabix boxes and Bird’s Custard packets with its mellow, rich and warm qualities, often accompanied by blue, green or orange, and sometimes all of them together. This might seem like an awful clash but it was acceptable and somehow seemed to work, probably because the tonal quality of the colours used was flat and subdued.

Introducing yellow into your home is an opportunity to play with the very in-vogue grey. Alone, grey takes courage to apply as an all-over colour as it may darken your space, especially if you opt for deeper tones. This can be counteracted when accompanied by something light with warmth. Grey’s flatness and sobriety are the perfect foil to the variety of options yellow offers, from gold depth to acid tints.

This year, yellows with what’s best described as a putty tone, help towards a perfect union with grey. Yellows seem softer and make for a particularly lovely accompaniment to wooden floors. They also seem to counter the hard lines of stone and slate by adding a softening effect. Even the unrelenting hard quality of tiles benefits from a partnership with this soft yellow.

Yellow is also a great choice to heat up northern light, but be careful as it can make yellow take on a green-ish tinge. Fine if you like green, but if you want to have the full yellow effect, opt for an ochre which has strength and warmth to stand up to cold light.

Also consider the gold end of yellow. This warm metal, just like copper and bronze, was out of fashion during the minimalist noughties when cold steel and chrome elbowed their way into our lives. Use just a little so your home doesn’t become a shrine to bling. Opt for flat, muted versions or even brass. Door handles, light switches or the brass candlesticks given to you by a well intentioned aunt, but currently stuck in the back of a cupboard, allow you to warm things without spending too much time or money in the process.

* Next week it’s street café style.


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