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Design: Yellow makes a bright, bold comeback

This yellow-patterned occasional pillow could be a bold

This yellow-patterned occasional pillow could be a bold accent. ($16.99 at target.com) Photo Credit: Target

It's taken a long time for yellow to make a comeback on the decorating scene. Memories of those garish Harvest Gold appliances surely play a part, but like the jumpsuits of days past, yellow is returning to favor in a fresh new way.

If you haven't given yellow a thought in, say, 30 or 40 years, there are lots of shades to choose from today without going anywhere near that dreary hue of 1972.

A NEUTRAL

Besides being colors that are easy on the eyes, certain shades of yellow can read as neutrals. When the color is light and soft, it becomes a neutral that goes easily from the bath or bedroom to the office. Shades such as Benjamin Moore's Lemon Chiffon or Ginseng Root have the kind of shading that creates a backdrop suitable for a variety of decor styles.

BOLD ACCENT

If you'd like to use yellow in a new way, it's perfectly at home in a white kitchen. Add bright yellow linens or curtains to pop against white cabinets. Paint your kitchen bar stools with a sunny gloss like Pratt and Lambert's Country Kitchen.

Mornings will be brighter and sunnier in a banquette or chairs covered with Duralee's Zsa Zsa pattern in Canary (Duralee.com). If you've got built-ins in your kitchen, this would be a wonderful spot for a sunburst of yellow paint.

For a surge of color anywhere in the house, try painting a single piece of furniture in an unflinchingly bright yellow shade like Yolk from Benjamin Moore. Think about a sunny yellow statement piece in your home office, on a foyer table, or the buffet in a breakfast room or dining room. Some sunshiny yellow paint or accent pieces might be just what you need to perk up a dull bathroom or windowless hallway.

THINK ELEGANT AND UNDERSTATED

Yellow doesn't have to make a bright, bold statement; it can be subtle. Palest lemon can be a sweet color in a nursery. Pair up some rich medium-yellow upholstery fabrics and you can make a room feel decidedly French, a la Versailles Palace.

In a white room, try medium-yellow trim for a fresh, lemony lift. Or go deep with a rich golden hue for a masculine feel in a man cave, study or family room.

PAIRINGS

Yellow really comes alive when paired with other colors. A pairing that makes both colors look fresh is taupe and yellow. Pick up the pace in a neutral room with some throw pillows in a yellow print, or add a yellow matelassé spread under a comforter. When the comforter is pulled back, there's a light pop of sunshine underneath.

Try pairing yellow with ice blue, pale lavender, deep purple or teal -- or this year's "it" color, orchid.

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