Neutrals such as white, gray, and black are go-tos for their ease of use and color pair-ability, but as much as we love a good monochrome scheme, there's no denying that introducing a vibrant color or two is an effective way to personalize space your space. It adds unparalleled character, definition, and a unique sensibility. And while yellow might not be top of mind when selecting a color palette for your home, allow us to sing its praises.
Yellow is a cheerful color associated with happiness, positivity, and optimism — and who doesn't want more of that? It's often overlooked for use in interiors out of fear it will overwhelm a space, or because people aren't sure what colors to pair with it. We stand by the belief that if you're looking to infuse personality and energy into any room, it's hard to beat the golden hue.
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Despite its hard-to-pull-off reputation, yellow looks lovely incorporated into virtually any aesthetic and can be integrated into your space in any number of ways, depending on the vibe you're after. For an eye-catching statement, it's hard to beat furniture upholstered in yellow or a bathroom tiled in the radiant shade. But you can also give the hue a test-run with pieces of home decor — such as pillows, throws, rugs, or a vase — that are easy to swap out down the road.
As is the case with any hue, the intensity and shade of yellow, as well as the colors it's paired with, will affect the overall mood. Before you commit to a color palette, it's important to know what undertones you're working with. Is it a primary yellow? Toned with gray for a muted effect? Or shaded with black, resulting in more of a saffron hue? Perhaps it's tinted with white resulting in a pale, pastel yellow? Determining what lies beneath is the key to starting the color combination process.
With that in mind, scroll on for 20 no-fail yellow color pairings.
20 Yellow Color Combinations
1. Yellow and Olive Green
You're going to love this Hollywood glam dining room by Dabito from Old Brand New. The saturated combo of sunny yellow paint and olive green chairs results in the perfect balance of formal yet relaxed. And to further complement the dynamic color scheme, throw in a collection of verdant plants. Complete the stylish look with luxe light fixtures and warm wood finishes.
2. Yellow and Light Blue
If yellow and blue are good enough for Van Gogh, then they're more than good enough for us. He used the unbeatable color combo to depict starlit nights and vases of sunflowers, but it's equally as enchanting and elegant in a bedroom, as demonstrated here. Warm beige walls set the stage for a pop of light blue bedding and mustard yellow window treatments, with a matching accent pillow for good measure.
3. Yellow and Black
Black and yellow are particularly striking against one another, as evidenced in this bedroom by M. Lavender Interiors. There's nothing shy about this space, which layers pattern on pattern on pattern, from the zebra wallpaper to the floral bedding. While the bright yellow walls enliven the space, the pops of black seen throughout ground it. Take this as proof that sometimes more is more.
4. Yellow and Orange
Wait, yellow and orange? Yep, it can absolutely be done. Don't be afraid to go bold with two similar colors: They just may bring out the best in each other, and this bedroom by Meg Braff Designs is picture-perfect proof. The colors blend so seamlessly together you may start to confuse the two. The tropical palm print wallpaper — how darling! — combines the two shades brilliantly, while the accent chair, bed frame, and bedding draw out the warm coral hue.
5. Yellow and Purple
In the RYB (red, yellow, blue) color model, yellow sits opposite purple, making them complementary colors. (If you're looking at a more contemporary RGB color model, yellow's complementary color is blue.) The combination appears in nature all the time: Imagine purple asters with yellow centers or yellow pansies with purple markings — you can't argue with Mother Nature. Luckily, the combo works in home decor, too, as proven by this living room idea from Marie Flanigan Interiors. The dark purple couch highlights the dandelion tones found in the larger-than-life painting.
6. Yellow and Pink
We'll give you a minute to take in how utterly cool this guest room from The House That Lars Built is. The yellow and pink color scheme makes for a warm and playful space that any houseguest would be lucky to call their own for a few nights' stay. The color-blocked walls and ceiling are complemented by an equally vibrant sofa, while a shag rug and woven bamboo pendant light add a welcome dose of texture.
Navy blue is essentially a neutral, making it an ideal pairing for a standout shade like yellow. Take it from this gorgeous setup by Raili CA Design, which pairs a bright yellow piano with navy blue walls. Swoon! The rich paint color and floral wallpaper ground the space, allowing the vibrant feature to rightfully steal the whole show.
8. Yellow and Brown
If you're drawn to earthy, desert-inspired palettes you can't go wrong with a yellow and brown color pairing. In this living room setup styled by Julia Wheeler of San Diego Songbird, the warm palette — showcased through a rich leather sofa and golden yellow accessories — introduces a calming and natural vibe to an otherwise bright white space. The beige-colored rug and cream pillows temper the more saturated hues.
9. Yellow, Gray, and Aqua
If you have to choose one neutral color to pair with yellow, go with gray. The vibrant shade gives cooler hues a bit of life, and likewise, the neutral shade tones down the vibrancy of yellow — exactly what you want for a nursery. 2LG Studio shows us how it's done with this minimalist setup featuring a graphic wallpaper pattern, light yellow millwork and trim, and light gray furniture. And if that weren't sweet as can be, they topped off the room with a minty ceiling.
10. Yellow and White
To let the color yellow really shine (as if it needs much help) keep the rest of your space rather simple. Think white walls, interesting but unassuming accessories, and perhaps a dash of pattern here and there. This approach will give you the flexibility to try out a bold color like yellow without over-committing. For example, in this living room by Marian Louise Designs, the white backdrop allows the velvety yellow couch to be the star of the show. (Note: A leopard print pillow + a yellow couch = a definite yes.)
"I can't get enough of yellow and whites or creams. The combination can read playful or sophisticated, depending on the aesthetic you're going for. I would pair a pale yellow with white and a mustard yellow with cream," says Mary Patton, owner and principal designer at Mary Patton Design.
11. Yellow and Red
Feeling confident in your ability to use yellow? Don't hold back — pair it with multiple other colors, as seen in this bedroom by KT2 Design Group. Even multiple shades of yellow — like the pale paint color on the walls and the golden hue of the comforter — can be mixed and matched without overwhelming a space. The trick? Choose a neutral (here, it's white), then slowly layer patterns and colors (like red and orange) on top, making sure that your scheme doesn't get too busy, but instead looks and feels interesting and energizing.
12. Yellow and Hunter Green
Create subtle contrast by using colors that share similar undertones. In this living room, the walls are blanketed in a rich shade of hunter green that contrasts with the yellow (almost chartreuse) lounge chair and mustard lamp shade. The lush greenery imparts a relaxed and lived-in vibe.
"I find yellow to be such an inspiring color. I tend to pair soft yellows with various shades of green; a favorite is yellow and earthy greens. When using a bold yellow, think about pairing it with vibrant blues and pinks," says Lance Thomas, owner and principal designer at Thomas Guy Interiors.
13. Yellow and Terra Cotta
While some people gravitate toward soothing bedroom escapes, others prefer an energizing refuge. Enter this cheerful space by Amanda Marie Martinez. Using a little creativity and DIY savvy, the creative paired a painted terra cotta circle on the wall with brilliant yellow paint on the door and trim, resulting in a cozy bedroom that's full of life. Yellow accents on the bed and an earthy landscape echo the scheme.
14. Yellow, Peach, and Brown
There are so many shades of yellow — combining a few of them in one space creates interest and depth. Angie Hranowsky used a pale peach Roman clay finish on the walls of this elegant bedroom coupled with punchier yellow curtains for a soulful look that isn't overwhelming. Mixing the dual flaxen hues with burgundy and brown creates an elevated desert-inspired color palette. The designer imbued sophistication to the earthy shades with refined furnishings and streamlined accessories.
15. Yellow and Cornflower Blue
Gray with blue undertones runs the risk of looking cold and unapproachable which is exactly why pairing it with yellow is ideal. A buttercup yellow sofa in this living room effectively perks up walls painted in a cool shade of cornflower blue and framed by concrete columns. Graphic artwork and accessories reinforce the modern sensibility.
16. Yellow and Sage Green
Analogous shades sit next to each other on the color wheel and have a close relationship, making them no-brainer combinations. As analogous hues, green and yellow are a simpatico pairing that introduces a warm and soothing quality — both of which are particularly welcome in bedrooms, like this youthful setup by Heirloom Projects. The sage green board and batten wall paneling goes three-quarters of the way up the walls where it is met by a charming dinosaur wallpaper from House of Hackney. The predominant use of the cool shade ensures the scheme continues to feel light and airy even with a bright color like yellow.
17. Yellow and Cobalt Blue
Accessories are a low-commitment (and affordable) way to include a dash of yellow into any space. It only takes a few sunny accents can make a big impact, as seen in this kitchen. The culinary design features walls and trim coated in an assertive sapphire blue, which makes the perfect backdrop for a lone yellow pitcher filled with coordinating flowers.
Color blocking is a modern approach to introducing bold swaths of color into interiors without the distraction of patterns. It also allows you to combine several different colors in a playful and unexpected way. This pared-down bedroom flaunts a fuchsia accent wall, navy blue throw, and a punchy yellow pillow, all tempered by an abundance of white. A tapestry anchors the back wall and creates a focal point.
19. Yellow and Teal
A blend of blue and green, the color teal is a timeless shade that introduces a sense of calm to any room; one reason why it's often used in quiet spaces like bedrooms, libraries, and offices. To liven up a high-traffic area such as the kitchen, Landed Interiors paired a teal island with a sunny yellow backsplash for the perfect balance of energy and quiet. Beige cabinets, marble countertops, and pared-down lighting ground the look.
20. Yellow and Beige
Pulling off a sophisticated and elegant dining room using a vibrant color like yellow might feel like a challenge to some, but the team over at Susan Marinello Interiors manages to pull it off seamlessly. In this setup, one oversize work of art flaunting the golden hue is met by beige walls and an abundance of light wood, all of which add loads of warmth to the space. The light gray dining chairs provide a cooling effect and a hint of contrast.
The Best Colors to Pair With Yellow
Yellow is an under-the-radar color that imbues joy and a sense of vitality to interiors. It's more versatile and easier to incorporate into spaces than people think. It plays nicely with a range of hues, and depending on the shade and intensity, can be used to enliven a neutral space or be a soothing complement to a calmer aesthetic. It might be surprising to learn that in addition to being a no-fail companion to monochrome shades like white, black, and gray, yellow pairs well with bolder colors like red, green, navy, and pink.
For a quick recap, here are some of our favorite hues to pair with yellow:
- Forest green
- Light blue
- Navy blue
- Hunter green
- Terra cotta
- Cornflower blue
- Sage green
- Cobalt blue