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  • Writer's pictureDrew

6 Colors That Go With Yellow + Color Psychology and Interior Design

A yellow chair near a desk with black sculptures

Yellow is often considered the color of happiness and optimism, but too much yellow can also lead to aggravation, anxiety, and difficulty focusing. I have written in our blog before about how color influences our mood and how the colors we choose to include in our interior design create an environment that can either nurture and invigorate us or have the opposite effect. Playing with color can be a way to learn about yourself if practiced mindfully. Today I would like to discuss the color theory behind yellow and explore the psychological effects using it in our interior design can have on us. I will also share our six favorite color pairings to accompany, balance out, enhance, complement, and maximize the potential of what is thought to be the cheeriest color in the rainbow.

Color Theory of Yellow + Yellow Color Psychology

Yellow is the most noticeable color to the human eye due to its strikingly bright hues, even when gazing at a muted shade. The brightness of yellow directly influences its reputation as the cheeriest and most optimistic color in the rainbow. Part of the reason for this reputation for cheeriness comes from yellow being the color of the sun. Humans follow a circadian rhythm, or a 24-hour cycle, in our lives where we sleep at night and rise with the sun to be active. Exposure to sunlight raises serotonin levels in our brains, boosting our mood. The sun also provides a dose of vitamin D, which increases our energy levels and keeps us physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy. Sure we may still need some coffee to get going, but the sun is a natural alarm clock for our brains. We make this same association when viewing a yellow wall in our living room, or wearing a yellow shirt. Even looking at a bowl of lemons can be enough to cause a spike in serotonin and heighten our awareness, sense of optimism, and happiness. We painted our home in Portland, Oregon a shade lighter than canary yellow. It was one of the best house decisions we ever made. I loved seeing our home pop with color against the often gray sky in Portland as I turned the corner to our street and pulled into the driveway. Our bright yellow house always boosted my mood.

This increased happiness when seeing yellow results in even more positive ways like increased mental activity. Yellow is thought to influence the left side of our brains, fostering strong analytic thinking and problem-solving. Somewhat connected is the belief that placing a yellow object on your desk while working can assist you in unclogging your mental process leading to increased creativity. For instance, I usually have that bowl of lemons I mentioned earlier on my desk in my home office when I write. At least some yellow flowers from the garden. I find it a pleasant way to rest my eyes away from my computer screen. Yellow is also believed to inspire communication and individuality, so there's that as well.

Four yellow lemons on a naturally lit wooden table. One is cut in half.

Different Shades Of Yellow Provide Different Benefits

Different shades of yellow also offer different benefits according to some color theorists. A bright hue like canary yellow is the best at promoting happiness and cheerfulness. A lighter pale yellow provides a sense of calm and contentment, and a darker yellow evokes feelings of permanence and richness. All three of these shade categories can easily be used in your interior design style plan to achieve a variety of positive results. The only thing to be cautious of is that using too much yellow can sometimes lead to irritability and anxiety. It can be a good idea to limit your yellow usage to design accents thoughtfully paired with color balancing hues. Our six favorite colors to pair with yellow for interior design are perfect for maximizing the potential and limiting the negative results of working with the color!

Marigold Yellow With Sage Green And Avocado To Connect With Nature

This color combination has recently become one of my absolute favorites. Last fall I decided to upcycle an old panel room divider that someone gave us a few years back. I sanded it down then painted it sage green (one of my favorite colors). We had been using it in our home merely for decoration for a few months before Alyssa realized that it would make the perfect space to hang our wool wall organizer baskets that held mail, our masks, and keys. We looked at all of the color choices in our catalog, you can see them all here, but once we combined the sage green divider with marigold and avocado baskets it was a lightning bolt. To me, yellow and green have always been pleasant colors to pair together. The combination brings about an idea of nature and connection to your surroundings, but this takes it to another level. The medium yellow marigold radiates against the neutral sage but also gets complimented by the saturated dark avocado green. It is wonderfully modern and stands at the intersection of Scandinavian design and cottage core.

Mustard Yellow And Pale Blue For Creativity

Yellow and blue are a pretty traditional combination. Close your eyes and think of how many schools, organizations, and brands use the color scheme for their logos. It is a lot. Often they use a combination of royal blue and canary yellow, which looks nice. To me, however, mustard yellow and pale blue is a trendy tweak to your standard pairing that will make your interior design pop! The warm and lush mustard yellow offers a feeling of comfort to your home, while pale blue reminds us of the open sky on a cloudless day. This color pairing fosters cheerfulness and creativity and fits nicely with modern farmhouse style. It can also be used as an accent pairing in an otherwise neutral-colored home to add a splash.

Black And Yellow For A Dramatic Effect

A black sofa and lamp stand in a neutral colored room. On the sofa is a yellow pillow.
Black and yellow are a dramatic color pair in interior design

The pairing of black and saturated yellow is a bold combination where each partner color holds its own in the relationship resulting in a wonderfully balanced palette. It can be a dramatic choice for any interior design theme, however. We would recommend leaning heavier on black and using yellow as an accent color, although using each color equally can also be extremely attractive. Using yellow as an accent with black fosters feelings of strength and confidence. Use it as a color pairing in your meditation room.

A piece of fiber art wall decor featuring black, yellow and white hangs on a white wall.
Our felt colorfield in black and yellow is an example of how the colors can pair in balance together.

Gray And Yellow For A Sophisticated Interior Design Look

For a less dramatic and more sophisticated look, try pairing yellow and gray. This color combination is terrific for an interior design theme focusing on balance and calm. Grays tend to tone down the radiance of yellow, allowing the warmth to show without becoming oppressive. Yellows, on the other hand, can provide a warm boost to an otherwise gray room, enlivening a minimalist aesthetic. Yellow and gray will look great paired in a Scandinavian or Japandi style room.

Yellow And Purple For A Complimentary Pair

A fused glass tray with yellow patterns rests on a black table along side a plant. There is purple jewelry in the glass tray.
Yellow and purple are complimentary colors and naturally look great together

The relationship between yellow and purple is natural when considering a color wheel. Purple is the opposite of yellow on the wheel, making them complementary colors. Complimentary colors always look great together since they balance each other out in just the right ways, as you can see from the image above. The yellow in our fused glass dish makes the purple from the necklace leap out to your eye. This color pairing is versatile and fosters energetic and and playful feelings. Experiment with mixing pale yellows with deep purples, vice versa, and everything in between to achieve any number of great design effects.

Yellow And Peach For A Danish Pastel Look

The final color pairing that we love with yellow can be easily added to one of the newest and trendiest interior design movements this year. Danish Pastel is more colorful than the typical Scandinavian design that you are probably accustomed to and the combination of yellow and peach will fit in perfectly. There is still a relatively minimalist approach to the overall design aesthetic of Danish pastel, but springlike colors and cozy lilac rugs are being added to white-walled rooms. The Danish concept of Hygge is still very present in this style, but an extra amount of optimism can be felt from the colors alone. The color pairing of yellow and peach are equally as positive in our opinion. They should be on your radar when sprucing up your interior design this spring. In regards to color theory and color psychology, peach also compliments yellow extremely well. Peach fosters feelings of encouragement, friendliness, and playfulness. Pair that with the bright cheerfulness of yellow and you have a winning combination!

A room with salmon pink curtains, peach plush chair, and yellow lamp. There is a cozy yellow pillow on the chair.
Combine hues for an even more playful style

Don't Be Shy And Give Yellow A Try

Using yellow in your interior design plan is a great choice. Whether you are looking to freshen up your rooms as we move away from winter and into spring, or you are just ready for a change. The versatility and positive psychological traits of yellow will brighten your living space and can even boost your mood. Using color for its psychological benefits is a fantastic way to explore your home's potential while enriching your own well-being. Try using some of our top six color pairings and start playing with yellow in your own home. Focus on how the different shades make you feel. Are you trying to achieve a state of happiness or calm? Maybe you would like to boost your energy levels and creativity. Using yellow in your interior design plan can achieve any or all of these outcomes. The best part is that it can be included seamlessly in a variety of design styles as an accent or feature color.

Let us know what your favorite color pairings with yellow are in the comments. We would love to know! If you enjoyed this article like it and subscribe to our website to get the latest updates. Also, share it with your friends if you think they would enjoy it.

Final Thoughts

At Camp Copeland Studio we offer a variety of home goods and decor options in yellow that would make great additions to your home. To visit our website and learn more click the button.

Thank you for reading


Further Reading On The Color Psychology Of Yellow


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