Decorating With Sunny Yellow Paint Colors

Pick the right paint color and yellow can be dramatic, daring and surprisingly debonair. Here are some of the ways color-savvy designers prove that yellow isn't always mellow in their room design.

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Though not a common choice for public spaces, this fabulous orangey-yellow was just right for the room — and for the folks who spend their time in it.

Soft and subdued, yellow is often used in babies' rooms and kitchens to create a calm, quiet place to begin a new life or to start the morning. But this versatile color is not just for the duck-and-bunny set or for old-fashioned spaces. Pick the right shade and yellow can be dramatic, daring and surprisingly debonair. Here are some of the ways color-savvy designers prove that yellow isn't always mellow.
Bold, bright and luscious, these mango walls were colored specifically for this space by San Francisco-based designer Martha Angus. The room is the living room in a pool house/guest house in Portola Valley, Calif., where the homeowners work in venture capital.

"The wife of the house is of Greek heritage," Angus says, "and she wanted a powerful, sunny color in the pool house." The room would also host large slumber parties for the clients' children, so it had to be fun, yet sophisticated.

That's where the mahogany floor and ceiling come in; the mango color was selected to work with the wood's tones. Selecting the right yellow to work with various woods can be tricky, Angus says. "I think an ash-blond wood should work with just about any color," she says, "but if the wood is warm toned (honey gold), then the wall color should be warm, too."

And of course, if you fall in love with yellow, a natural wood floor is not your only option. "My mother-in-law has a citron yellow living room and dining room," says Angus. "And she has black floors. It looks fabulous."

Photo by Matthew Millman

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