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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. Rachael says:

    Oh, I love yellow. Especially yellow and gray together. My kitchen will soon be yellow with some sort of gray accent (maybe one of those vinyl wall things). it was a difficult choice trying to decide on which shade of yellow to do. I think I ended up with no less than 8 little paint samples. Guess I will use the leftovers for crafting!
    Rachael http://thethriftypicker.blogspot.com/

  2. CplusE says:

    I have always liked yellow (it was my favorite color when I was an undergraduate) but when it comes to home décor I have to admit using yellow has always intimidated me. I think it partly has to do with the fact that I love and own mostly blond wood furniture, which already has so much yellow that any more in the room seems a bit much. Right now I just stick to accents like yellow flowers (daffodils and sunflowers are favorites) but I would like to bring more of this sunny shade into our home. I know it can be done — the room in this photo is saturated with yellow, but somehow it all works:


    I doubt that I am talented enough to pull off this look. Remember the snack food called "Screaming Yellow Zonkers"? Well, I have a feeling that if I were to design a yellow room it would end up looking like it deserved such a name! I guess I just need to start small and work up to more yellow accents gradually. Maybe I'll start with pillows, although my husband will probably roll his eyes when he sees me bringing even more accent pillows home (we could open up a pillow store right now with what we have!).

  3. [...] Year’s Resolution: Learn to Like Yellow HGTV Design Happens Thu, January 12, 2012 3:00 PM UTC HGTV Design Happens Rate this story Share (function(){var [...]

  4. beehappy says:

    The walls of the interior of my entire little bungalow are a warm shade of yellow with white woodwork. My living room combo chaise/sofa is in cinnabar … and I love that reddish shade with the yellow backdrop. I've used touches of blues, pinks, greens, and reds throughout the rest of the house and they all look great with this shade of yellow.

  5. Denise504 says:

    So now I can really understand why I chose to color most thing yellow in Elementary School..My favorite colors was and is YELLOW and PINK……

  6. nkildsig says:

    I love yellow, the soft mellow kind. My bath is yellow and blue- sun and sky. Yellow cupboards in the kitchen and the family rec room in the lower level is brightened up with yellow. walls.

  7. Busybee says:

    I also had a fear of yellow…actually hated it for years because as a teenager, my Dad painted my room a golden yellow and when you threw on the overhead lighting at night, that room GLOWED!! Everybody who walked down 9th Street knew where my room was! But living in Steeler country, I wear a lot of black and a certain shade of yellow that they call gold and I love it. Repainted the inside of my house a few years ago with a shade called Irish Cream … playing it safe as usual but this Irish Cream has a bit of yellow in it. The paint is so great! Depending on the room and the time of day, it could look like sand, buttery yellow or a darker beigy-yellow. I have white carpeting, white trim and black & gold furniture (leather & leopard) in one room, and blue and tan in another room, all white in a 3rd room. The color holds up well with all these decorating schemes and I add pops of lime in the summer. Such a great color to live with.

  8. Karen says:

    Yellow is happy. Yellow is warm. Yellow is energetic. What's not to love?

  9. Vivian says:

    Yellow is like a ray of sunshine!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Beth says:

    Yellow and navy is fabulous together. Love it!

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