Yellow is universally accepted as an emotionally positive color but it is so rarely used and I wonder if it may be because people assume yellow has to be the same yellow as in the crayon box. There are so many more sophisticated yellows that give you all the positive feelings without the look of an elementary school. When I did my own house, I had an office in the basement that had a window but didn’t get much sun. I painted it a pale yellow and did all the trim in a glossy ivory. I loved going down there because it was such a happy sanctuary where the color was both calming and energizing. For Feng Shui, yellow is associated with health and well-being and in color psychology it is linked with feeling cheerful, charming, and confident. Gold is correlated with compassion, understanding, joy and love.
Light: Sherwin Williams 7106 Honied White
So light it is white with a yellow cast, this is an easy yellow to in a large room where you don’t want overwhelming color but still want some energy or softness for the walls. This is a color that works well with any interior design scheme or region because it is so light.
Medium: Sherwin Williams 6129 Restrained Gold
I find this is a perfect complement for rooms that have brown tones – leather, dark wood, earth-tone upholstery, etc. Instead of doing a tan or a taupe that dampens the richness, Restrained Gold makes everything glow. The medium tone keeps it neutral and understated. This is definitely one of those colors that keeps the peace in rooms with masculine and feminine elements.
Dark: Benjamin Moore 293 Showtime
This reminds me of the color you get when you whip egg yolks. This isn’t a quiet, flat color so use it in small spaces that don’t get much sunlight or where you want to make a statement such as an entry way. This is a fun color for those that love cheerful kitchens and have a small quantity of wall space to make that happen.
Gray/Muted: Benjamin Moore HC-35 Powell Buff
This is a muted yellow with a heavy dose of tan to give all the warmth of a sandy island beach in the sun. Its medium tone coupled with how neutral it is makes this a versatile color. Use this as a background color that will glow in the sunshine and deepen comfortably in dim light.
Unusual: Sherwin Williams 6380 Humble Gold
For those that have been waiting for a bright, sunny yellow that isn’t a primary color, this is it. Humble Gold is a lovely combination of yellow and gold, with a hint of pink. The gold tones make it flattering for anyone in the room and the yellow and pink give it the warmth and liveliness you would expect from a yellow.
Favorite: Benjamin Moore Golden Straw 2152-50
Designer William Eubanks states, “This is like candlelight, with a wonderful golden glow. I’ll put layers of glaze over it so it’s as rich in daytime as it is at night” (House Beautiful). Another easy yellow to use, it is a sophisticated, light and airy, with a touch of brown to keep it from blowing away.