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.
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.
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.
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.