Warm, bright and cheery, yellow can really bring a room to life. And for those who really love it, one way to incorporate this color into your home decor is on your walls. Whether through paint or wallpaper, sunny yellow walls are an instant vibe. Paler, buttery shades can give a soft and lovely glow to a room, and bolder shades are oh-so energetic.
If you're thinking about decking your walls in yellow, one of the first things you'll want to figure out is your overall color palette. Understanding the shades and undertones of the yellow you've chosen, as well as some basics of color theory, will help you incorporate other colors that balance out the room in a beautiful way. For example, if you have pale yellow walls, pairing them with other soft shades in a child's room would be a natural fit. Or you could go for other warm tones, like wood and creamy white, say, in the kitchen. Meanwhile, if a vivid chartreuse is more your speed, its green undertones would pair beautifully with navy blue or a neutral like brown.
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You can already begin to see how many different directions you can take yellow walls in. What's great is, once you've got your color palette sorted, you can start playing with layering on those other hues, such as with window treatments. Curtains, in particular, are a lovely way to layer on color and pattern, creating a more finished and intentional look. They also play an integral role functionally, blocking out light and creating privacy. Ready to take a look at the options? Let's start by breaking down the different types of curtains.
Curtain Styles to Consider for Yellow Walls
In choosing a curtain style for your room, you'll want to consider opacity and length. Styles range from sheer to blackout, and from short valances or café curtains to puddle-length.
When it comes to curtain thickness, you'll want to think about how much privacy you need them to provide as well as how much light you'd like to shine through. In main rooms like the kitchen and living room, privacy may be less of a concern, and you may opt for a sheer or semi-sheer style that allows in more natural light; in bedrooms and bathrooms, however, an opaque curtain is often the favorite choice. Blackout curtains go a step further, offering total darkness when you sleep. You can also choose to have the best of both worlds with a double curtain rod and two sets of curtains — one sheer for daytime and one opaque for privacy and/or sleep.
Lengths vary, too. Short valances or café curtains can add a finishing touch in a kitchen, where you still want abundant natural light. Sill-length or apron-length curtains end just at the bottom of the windowsill or just below it, and are great in a dining nook or on a window that has a radiator underneath it. Next, you've got floor-length curtains, which are probably the most traditional and commonly used curtain length. And lastly, there's puddle-length, where you allow the curtains to pool slightly on the floor, which can a bit of drama and formality to a space.
Once you've decided on the style of curtain you like, it's time for the fun part. Read on for color inspiration.
11 Curtain Colors for Yellow Walls
In this eclectic space by M. Lavender Interiors, yellow, black, and white make for a striking color palette. Iconic Scalamandré wallpaper fills the bedroom with warm color and a whimsical zebra print, which is echoed by the black and white elements in the bedding, door, and window. With so much going on already, a muted gray curtain with a faint black and yellow plaid print provides a necessary respite for the eye.
This room by Heidi Caillier Design is just so cozy, thanks in part to a warm and sophisticated color palette. Golden yellow, honey-toned wood, mauve, and muted red blend perfectly together and create an environment that invites you to settle into that epic granny chair, tuck your feet under you, and get lost in a good book.
3. Chocolate Brown
Okay, here's a fun one. In this dining room and living space by Amanda Nisbet, two curtains featuring the same zigzag print in different colors act as an easily adjustable room divider. Brown curtains face blush walls, while olive green curtains face chartreuse walls. The front room is quieter and the back bolder, but they're designed to transition seamlessly into each other. Chocolate brown tempers bold chartreuse for a fun, retro color combination.
Analogous colors — that is, colors that sit side by side on the color wheel — are always a good bet for a harmonious palette, especially when they're also similar in tone. Take this room by Meg Braff Designs. Both the golden yellow wall color and grapefruit pink curtains and furniture have orange undertones. Orange throw pillows and lamps complete the analogous trio. The neutral colors fit the warm theme as well, in gold and creamy white.
Don't overlook the power of neutral colors when working with yellow. They allow the bolder shades in a room to stand out without distracting or overwhelming the eye. These soft white curtains are a great example. They make the window feel dressed and the room look finished, while allowing the pretty patterned wallpaper to be the star.
6. Beige and White
Yellow can speak pretty loudly. If you love the color but want something a bit more subtle, the buttery tone in this room by Brown Hall Design may be just your ticket. Even still, the abstract botanical print is anything but quiet, so it makes sense that the designers went mostly neutral with their color choices for the bedding and furnishings. The patterned white and beige curtains perfectly fit the color scheme without demanding attention.
Here's a different way to find balance. To complement eye-catching chartreuse walls, add navy blue curtains in a geometric pattern, as Zoe Feldman Design has done here. Of course, you'll also need furnishings with enough oomph to balance that big statement wall — such as a leopard print couch, and hey, maybe a vibrant teal one, too, while you're at it.
8. Pale Green and White
This yellow room is full of color, but the whole carefully chosen palette blends beautifully together. Designer Meg Braff incorporates blue, green, yellow, and orange, which are actually analogous colors. As we mentioned earlier, that means they're neighbors on the color wheel and will work beautifully in a space together, as this room plainly proves.
Yellow and white alternate on the walls of this living room by Tribe Creative. There's also a good deal of high-contrast black and white here, in the wall art, area rug, and throw pillows. The designer's choice of a mid-tone taupe for the window treatment, then, makes good sense. With everything else going on, this muted color gives the eye a rest.
Designer Sarah Bartholomew gets it. If you're going to put together a room with bright yellow walls, an intricate chandelier, a wrought iron mirror, and plaid slipcovered chairs, you'll probably want to keep the rest of the room design a bit toned down. Yellow curtains blend into the walls while still making the windows feel formally dressed to reflect the traditional style of the room.
11. Sage Green
Analogous colors for the win once again. Burnt orange, sage green, and yellow play well in this room by My Attic, with the light beige and whites giving just the right amount of breathing room to highlight these lovely shades. Two different paint colors make the room feel artsy and one-of-a-kind.
Curtain Colors That Go With Yellow Walls
Yellow walls can really brighten up a room. But if they seem daunting to pair with the right curtain color, just remember some basic rules of thumb. First, undertones are a great guidepost in choosing the best color palette. If your shade of yellow has warm, golden undertones, it will pair beautifully with other warm tones, like reds, oranges, browns, and creamy whites. If it leans cooler and a bit greenish, think about pairing it with blues and other cool tones, as well as complementary browns or even a leopard print. Consider, too, whether the shade you've chosen is a lighter pastel or a more saturated jewel tone, and try to pick colors in a similar tonal family. Lastly, remember that sometimes rules are meant to be broken.
Here are some of the best curtain colors to pair with yellow walls:
- Chocolate brown
- Navy blue
- Pale green
- Sage green