“There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.” Pablo Picasso
Yellow is universally associated with life-giving sunlight. In addition to being the lightest and brightest, yellow is THE most cheerful on the color spectrum. As one of three primary colors, yellow is linked to joy, warmth, and optimism.
A broad range of yellows exist with hues varying from orange to green. For interior spaces I favor using orange-toned yellows, and reserve use of green-yellows for smaller applications. Dark and dim areas––hallways, basements, windowless rooms––can benefit from an uplifting splash of yellow.
Although symbolic of happiness, yellow can evoke mixed messages. In it’s purest form, a little goes a long way to highlight emergency vehicles and cautionary signs. It’s surprising yellow doubles as both a helpful reminder and a warning of danger. Perhaps the duality originates from the facts that yellow sulphur, smells putrid and that yellowing plants eventually die. I speculate that the timidity and cowardness associated with “yellow-bellied,” refers to an unhealthy yellow tinted with green, nearly jaundiced.
In Imperial China, yellow was considered the most beautiful and prestigious color, reserved for the emperor’s use. The Chinese saying, Yellow generates Yin and Yang, implies that yellow is the center of everything signifying neutrality and good luck. This may be why new parents often decorate baby nurseries in yellow, rather than more traditional gender-specific pink or blue.
A client wanted to change the feel of her living room with minimal effort. The burgundy walls felt antiquated, so that was an easy starting point. I suggested keeping the warmth, but lightening the paint color to a shade of orange or yellow. After experimenting with several test colors, she opted for a cheerful, sunny yellow. The entire energy of the room changed. which freshened the energy against creamy white trim and neutral furniture.The yellow paint accented by the existing white trim created an open, cheerful, and inviting space. Every member of the family prefers the yellow update!