Ah, yellow… The colour of sun, sand and saffron, the embodiment of summer and the happiest of hues. A yellow blind or pair of curtains are guaranteed to make you smile and bring instant warmth and light to any room but how do we choose the right shade? In our continuing series of blogs, we look at the history and characteristics of yellow, the most optimistic colour in the paint box and suggest how to use it in your home.
One of the three primary colours, yellow has been popular since the 18th century but in the Victorian age it developed a controversial side. Seen as a thoroughly modern colour and a symbol of the age, it was embraced by artists and writers alike, particularly those who courted controversy. Scandalous literature would be pressed between yellow covers and newspapers of the day made much of the fact that Oscar Wilde, when arrested in London in 1895, was carrying a yellow book under his arm. Vincent Van Gogh was a great fan of yellow and Henri Matisse, in his 1924 painting ‘Interior with Phonograph’ demonstrated just how fantastic a pair of yellow curtains can look!
Yellow is the colour of value and beauty. In China, a particular egg-yolk shade was favoured by emperors and royal palaces were often marked out by their yellow roofs. In India, yellow has long had spiritual associations and is considered a symbol of peace and knowledge. And then of course there’s gold - yellow in metallic form and the most coveted object of all.
Yellow creates rooms full of energy. It is said to stimulate the brain and make people open-minded, decisive and alert - so an excellent choice for a home office or study. Add a yellow blind or pair of curtains to your place of work and your productivity is guaranteed to increase!
Other rooms designed for bustling activity - such as kitchens, pantries and utility rooms - also benefit from injections of yellow and a sunny hallway can’t fail to be welcoming. In bedrooms, living rooms and spaces designed for relaxation, yellow in its palest form is a safer bet although the 20th century tastemaker Nancy Lancaster’s ‘Yellow Room’ is a great advert for using the boldest tone in a reception room.
Yellow is not the easiest colour to get right as anyone who’s tried to find a yellow jumper to suit their complexion will know only too well. But, if you get it right, the results are stunning.
The softest, gentlest yellows work well as neutrals and are the easiest to use. Applied to large areas such as walls, floors or curtains, yellows such as our ‘Banana’ Cotton Twill produce a subtle warm glow that makes a room feel like it’s permanently bathed in sunshine. These pale tones work beautifully with other ice cream colours such as mint, rose and vanilla to create a room full of freshness, grace and romance. Crisp white and touches of chocolate or charcoal will prevent things from becoming too sugary sweet.
Yellow in its most pure, saturated form is a joy to behold. Team our ‘Gold’ Cotton Twill or ‘Pollen’ Flax with cream and spice tones such as cinnamon and ginger for a summery feel. For a more dramatic, autumnal look, combine our ‘Lemon Drizzle’ Wool with animal prints, coffee and chocolate accents.
Kane’s curtains in Upcycled Silk, Empire Yellow - the perfect statement. Yellow sits between orange and green on the colour wheel and as it veers towards green it takes on a sharper, citrusy quality. Our ‘Citrine’ Velvet is the embodiment of this and works beautifully with many other colours. And finally, when thinking about metal finishes, nothing goes better with all types of yellow than brass and gold. Relegated to the shadows for many years, these warm metals are now firmly back in vogue and rightly so.