Choosing a color scheme can be a daunting task, especially when you have the urge to ditch the minimalist vibe and try some bright colors for a change. Decorating with neutrals is definitely simpler, but a bold color palette can be easier than you expect with a little inspiration and a quick lesson in color theory.
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Yellow is a primary color, and green is a secondary color (meaning it's made by mixing two primary colors — in this case, yellow and blue). Because they sit right beside each other on the color wheel, they are considered analogous. To build a palette around these two colors, you have a few options. The safest and easiest is to add a neutral color, like gray, white, black, or brown. If the room you're decorating features one of these as a dominant color already, you don't have to give it a complete overhaul. You can incorporate touches of yellow and green through elements like furniture, rugs, throw pillows, and artwork.
If you want to be more adventurous, you can forgo the neutrals and add a complementary color, meaning one that sits across the color wheel from green and yellow — in other words, shades of purple and pink. This will give your space a fun, eclectic vibe. "I'm a sucker for the combination of yellow and green," says designer Jewel Marlowe from Jeweled Interiors. "I especially love when you add pink and/or red into the mix."
On the other hand, you could create an analogous color scheme by choosing three neighboring shades on the color wheel. That could mean green, yellow-green, and yellow; lime green, yellow, and orange; or chartreuse, green, and teal. Such an electric color palette can be difficult to tie in with the rest of your house and may be easier to execute in a contained room, like a bedroom, bathroom, or office as opposed to an open-plan living area.
Keep in mind that there are many different shades of each color, from emerald green to seafoam green and from dark mustard to pastel yellow. Consider color psychology and the mood you're trying to set in your space as you narrow down your choices. Softer options, like pale green and yellow, will be more relaxing, while jewel tones can convey sophistication, and brights feel energetic and fun.
No matter which route you take, decorating with green and yellow will make your space look happy and welcoming — a standout in a sea of neutrals. Here are 10 ways to make the bright colors work in any space.
10 Color Combinations for Green and Yellow
1. Green, Pale Yellow, and Charcoal Gray
The bright green wainscoting and graphic wallpaper in this bathroom by Jeweled Interiors will make even the smallest powder bath feel grand and luxurious. Pale yellow and charcoal gray make the green paint pop. With such a bold design, it's best to keep the accessories, like the sink, mirror, and lights, streamlined and simple so they don't compete with the rest of the room.
2. Sage Green, Warm Yellow, and Pale Pink
It's hard not to smile when you see this sweet space by Joy of Oh Joy! The playful combination of sage green, warm yellow, and pale pink gives off fun, laid-back vibes and makes this living room one you'll never want to leave. Layered rugs in a neutral palette help add texture without competing with the rest of the room.
Leave it to Dabito of Old Brand New to put together a room that's the perfect blend of style and sophistication. The jewel tones in both the green velvet sofa and the navy blue walls feel elegant and cozy, while the pops of yellow in the rug and artwork brighten things up. This room is all about balance.
4. Lime Green, Mustard Yellow, and Brown
This quirky kitchen designed by Sophia Cook demonstrates how to balance bold, bright colors with neutrals. The medium brown wood throughout the kitchen tones down the vibrant lime green and mustard yellow. Omitting the upper cabinets and going with a shelf instead opens up the kitchen and makes it seem larger.
5. Green, Yellow, and Light Blue
If you want your space to feel serene and relaxing, look no further. Designer Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn put together this living room utilizing a color palette that's reminiscent of the ocean. Lime green, light blue, and yellow might not be your first choice when it comes to choosing a color scheme, but once you see it all together, there's no denying this combination.
6. Forest Green, Bright Yellow, and Black
This bedroom by the team behind Erica Bryen Design utilizes high-contrast colors, like forest green, bright yellow, and solid black, to deliver a striking result. The black bedding and bed frame add depth to the space and help balance the bold colors. The mostly bare walls and simple fixtures keep the room looking just busy enough.
7. Olive Green, Chartreuse, and Rust
If eclectic rooms full of patterns and texture are your thing, then you'll love this one from Tom Baxendale, who runs the swoon-worthy Instagram account @themellowmaximalist. The olive green sofa, rust-colored ottoman, and chartreuse chair are the main focal points of the room even though there is so much to look at. Throw pillows in a variety of colors help to tie this funky room together perfectly.
8. Green, Yellow, and White
Turn your powder room into a bright and cheery place to make a pit stop. The fun lemon-print wallpaper selected by Regan Baker Design does most of the design work while towels and fresh flowers add an extra boost of yellow. The wallpaper's white background along with the floating vanity and frameless mirror gives this small bathroom a little breathing room. (This wallpaper, part of Hygge& West's collaboration with Rifle Paper Co. is now sold out, but you can find some equally stylish and whimsical options here.)
9. Green, Yellow, and Plum
Dark plum, green, and bright yellow — it may sound unusual, but it just works. The purple nook that surrounds the bed in this space by Cameron Ruppert Interiors plays off the light purple flowers in the wallpaper and makes for a lush look. A bright yellow headboard provides visual separation between the purple bedding and the walls and ties the whole room together.
10. Mint Green, Yellow, and Orange
The soft color palette in this bedroom by Sofie from Three Boys and a Pink Bath is one you won't mind waking up to every morning. A mint green blanket and yellow pillows match the abstract wallpaper perfectly while the orange millwork framing the bed keeps the rest of the space from feeling washed out. Even the wall hooks and dishes match the palette.
Colors That Go With Green and Yellow
Using both green and yellow in your design is a bold move, but it doesn't have to be intimidating. Take this opportunity to have fun playing with color theory. Tone down the bright colors by adding in neutral shades of gray, black, or white or keep things interesting with bold accents in pink, red, or even purple.
Here's a recap of colors that pair perfectly with green and yellow:
- Charcoal gray
- Pale pink
- Navy blue
- Light blue