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When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, many people opt to change the world, embark on a new, healthy way of life, and/or possibly break old habits. Not me, I just try to embrace things in the design world that I previously despised. For example, six years ago I found muted color to be sleep-inducing and oh-so-safe. Flash-forward to my current portfolio and a person is certain to find muted greys and blues making up half of my body of work. This year, I have decided to stock my bag of tricks with yellow. “So what? Who cares?” you ask? Well, yellow is one color I’ve avoided altogether, simply because I find it kinda-sorta nuclear and impossible to work with.

In order to start playing with this sunny tone, I’ve tacked two tear sheets of yellow done right up on my inspiration board. One by my friend Tobi Fairley and the other by my friend-slash-fellow-Atlanta-resident, Lee Kleinhelter. For anyone else who’s avoided yellow to escape being blinded by the light, take a look at these successful doozies. Now get your sunglasses on and have a happy new year.
Tobi Fairley

Tobi Fairley is a master with color. Whether it’s walls, furniture, artwork or accessories, it’s easy to spot a Tobi Fairley room mostly because of her ability to update traditional interiors with nontraditional hues.

In this living room, the overall color scheme is muted blue-grey; however, from the contemporary art to the silk throw pillows to the patterned area rug, yellow is the room’s overall motif. As far as what I learn from Tobi, it’s all about sticking with classic lines, then making them modern with pattern and unexpected tones.
Yellow Lee Kleinhelter

Something I take away from the interiors of Lee Kleinhelter is her successful, noncommital use of saturated color; her spaces are vibrant but the color isn’t necessarily on the walls or even the upholstery. Most people [I assume] would look at this room and label it “The Yellow Room”; however, it’s pretty much all white/cream. Just a few jolts of bold yellow in easily removable elements, including window coverings and a sprayed paint finish on dining room chair frames, pack major color-popping punch — without creating an oh-my-God-my-retinas-are-on-fire situation. NOTE: Lee is very small, very gorgeous, very funny and, like me, she is obsessed with all things Real Housewives and Rachel Zoe. This is even more reason to like her.

Okay, anyone else scared of yellow?


Design Inspiration

19 Responses

  1. Diane says:

    I have loved yellow since high school, used a yellow drape for my high school picture, then wore a yellow dress to my prom. Met my mate in undergraduate school and his fraternity colors were purple and gold. We decorated our first apartment in those colors (I was sooo in love)and yellow did not blend with those colors. Soon after we bought our first home and I began to use yellow. We are in our third home now and EVERY room has some yellow in it; some with the walls painted yellow some with just accents of vases, pillows, chairs, etc. I use the yellow with navy, (my favorite) olive, teal and wedgewood blue depending on the room. However, yellow is always in the room. I am always complimented on my design choices. Don't be afraid of yellow!!

  2. Lynn Escala says:

    Yellow is a happy color and can be used with so many other accents. I have yellow with white trim and an olive green island in my kitchen. Pale yellow wall in the halls, and yellow with red accents in a bed room. What a great color.

  3. rdh says:

    Yellow is a great color to use in the home. Bright yellow certainly can be intimidating, but soft yellow with other accent colors is not only happy but also inspires creativity. Don't be afraid!

  4. fayfolks says:

    Yellow is an important color if you live in an area that is known for record snowfall and cloudy days-i.e. Central New York. It can be mood lifting surrogate sunshine for those deprived of Vitamin D. Creams and golds are wonderful neutrals and work with dark woods, corals, reds, blues, browns, grays, blacks and even greens. Yellow is often the palette for rooms in traditional homes. Beware of yellows tinted with orange or green that scream "Yellow".

  5. Leida says:

    Maybe you could use some of the same pillows you already have, and just have someone do some sort of pillow covers to the ones you would choose to use in your new decor.

  6. Leida says:

    Ever since I was a little girl, I thought YELLOW was a beautiful color. In fact, growing up I always said it was my favorite color. Currently, my house living room walls are painted in a beautiful olive/sage like color with white windows/door trimmings. I have a cranberry (like color) huge L shape sectional, BRIGHT LEMON YELLOW color accent pieces throughout including four big pillows for the sectional. Also, have gold tone metal accents, with cherry color wood furniture, and have the main window (one of two) to this room with olive/sage, cranberry and gold tone yellow swags beautifully wrapped/placed on it. Every time someone sees my living room decor, I get compliments from having all these colors looking so pretty together. I know that what makes the big difference is the BOLD BRIGHT LEMON YELLOW color. I just love, love YELLOW!!!

  7. KIM says:


  8. ydwbcwuf says:

    ydwbcwuf are good for my favorite Seventy-six year-old ft ., that need very good assist, but nonetheless like to appear elegant.

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