How to Tone Down Bright Yellow Paint

It's frustrating to paint a room in your home, only to discover the yellow shade you chose appears much brighter than you thought it would. Not only are you stuck with a bright yellow wall, you are now also faced with the decision of spending money to paint the wall white and start over, figure out ways to make the paint look less like construction paper and more like afternoon sunlight, or pack your bags and move. To keep from relocating or ruining all your hard work, try to simply tone down the color.

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Yellow paint can easily turn out brighter than you imagined.

Step 1

Purchase a color wheel. These can be bought at hardware stores, paint stores or art supply centers. Use the color wheel to locate colors that complement bright yellow, as well as the numerous colors you can create by combining yellow with other colors on the wheel.

Step 2

Apply layers of glaze over the yellow paint. This will create a faux finish, tone down the yellow and give it a more "rustic" feel. If you want the faux finish to appear creamy, mix in a white-based color with the glaze. According to the website That Painter Lady, you may have to use several layers to keep the finish from appearing messy. The site also recommends you paint a board bright yellow and test how different types of glaze mixed with various shades of white-based colors will appear, until you find the one that best suits your tastes.

Step 3

Tone down the yellow by adding a small amount of violet paint. Violet is a complementary pigment to yellow. When added, it will "knock the color down," or make the color darker without reducing it's intensity. If you notice the yellow is too bright before you paint, add violet to the mix. If the paint is too bright after the wall is finished, purchase more yellow paint, mix it with a small amount of violet, and paint over the original bright yellow coat.

Step 4

Adjust the yellow paint. Bright yellow is often created by mixing in bright green. Adjust the yellow by adding a bit of red paint. Red is a complementary color to green and will work to make the bright green and yellow mixture appear warmer and more subdued. If you notice the yellow is too bright before you paint, add red to the mix. If the paint is too bright after the wall is finished, purchase more yellow paint, mix it with a small amount of red, and paint over the original bright yellow coat.

Step 5

Change the bright yellow paint to a neutral brown by adding equal parts red and green paint. If you notice the yellow is too bright before you paint, add the red and green to the mix. If the paint is too bright after the wall is finished, purchase more yellow paint, mix it with equal parts red and green, and paint over the original bright yellow coat.

Step 6

Paint a border around the perimeter of the paint. Choose a darker color that complements yellow and tape off a border going around the lower third of the wall. Paint the area underneath the border the color you have chosen. This will have the effect of toning down the bright yellow color, without actually changing the color itself.

Step 7

Paint wide horizontal stripes. Stripes of light yellow interspersed with the bright yellow will gently tone down the overall effect.

Step 8

Paint (or have a professional paint) a mural on the wall that uses the yellow as a backdrop, perhaps a painting of the sky with the yellow representing the sun. This will effectively move the yellow from the foreground to the background.

Step 9

Accessorize. Purchase furniture, curtains, throw pillows and linens that both tone down and complement the bright yellow. Furniture and knickknacks should be a dark wood or reddish brown color; curtains, bedding and pillows can be brown, red or maroon.