Poor yellow. It may be the most divisive color of all. On the one hand, the vibrant hue can appear joyful and lively, like sunshine and daffodils. On the other hand, if you grab the wrong shade you might start to feel wary or on high alert — similar to the emotion a yellow light triggers. However, when done right, the color yellow deserves respect as a sure-fire way to add personality and energy to any space. But selecting the right shade of yellow is only half the battle. The harder question is: What colors go with yellow?
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Well, "What colors don't go with yellow?" is the quick rhetorical answer, since it pairs nicely with pretty much every color in the rainbow. But 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? Or 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, if you still feel like throwing caution to the wind and incorporating the vivid shade into your home, scroll on for 11 no-fail yellow color pairings.
1. Yellow + 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 forest green chairs results in the perfect balance of formal yet relaxed. And to further complement the dynamic color scheme, throw in a collection of lush plants. Complete the stylish look with luxe light fixtures and warm wood finishes.
2. Yellow + Light Blue
If yellow and blue are good enough for Van Gogh, then it's 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 + Black
Black and yellow are particularly striking against one another, as evidenced in this M. Lavender Interiors bedroom. 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 + 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 beautifully.
5. Yellow + 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 lush mauve couch highlights the dandelion tones found in the larger-than-life painting.
6. Yellow + 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 house guest would be lucky to call their own for a few nights during their 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 paired 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 + Wood
If you're not shy when it comes to interior design, bookmark this Maestri Studio kitchen, which features an interesting arched island flaunting a vibrant sunny yellow, a black and brass La Cornue range with matching hood, and metallic patterned wallpaper, which manages to draws your eyes up. The wood cabinets and barstools play an important role here, as they introduce a calming, natural element to an otherwise busy and bold space.
9. Yellow + Gray
If you have to choose one neutral to pair with yellow, go with gray. The vibrant color gives cool shades of gray a bit of life, and vice versa, 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 wasn't sweet as can be, they topped off the room with a minty ceiling.
10. Yellow + White
To let the color yellow really shine (as if it needs much help) keep the rest of your home decor 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 overcommitting. 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.)
11. Yellow + Multiple Colors (Red, Orange, Purple)
Feeling confident in your ability to use yellow? Don't hold yourself back — pair it with multiple other colors, like the red, orange, and purple 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 on top, making sure that your scheme doesn't get too busy, but instead looks and feels interesting and energizing.