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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While yellow may come and go, stylistically the challenges of using the color transcend all trends and time.

The rich, ochre yellow in this New York City apartment, designed by Alan Tanksley, was achieved with a layered Venetian Plaster finish. The color was developed on-site by an artisan and the plaster applied layer after layer, all by hand. The result is a depth and sheen that paint alone could never offer — the perfect backdrop for this apartment's mix of modern and marvelous, with elements new and natural.
"I think yellow got overplayed in the '80s and, therefore, often has an association with old-fashioned decoration," Tanksley says. "However, it still works in many situations and looks fresh again."

"The biggest issue with choosing yellow, which is thought to be the most difficult of all colors to get right," Tanksley says, "is whether it is a cool or a warm tone, and whether the chosen color is in harmony with the other room elements. For instance, a cool yellow, one with a blue or green hue as opposed to the brown hue found in the ochre, would have been very jarring in this apartment. In general, I avoid using cool-toned yellows in south-facing rooms, as these shades tend to look and feel very cold. In those situations I choose yellows that have a rich brown or slight reddish undertone."

Photo by Francois Dischinger

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