Colors That Complement Yellow

In a study, the color yellow scored better than any other color on tests of visual appeal; it won out over white and was more pleasing to the eye than red, orange or green. Yellow’s greatest strength is that it stimulates you without making you feel threatened—it can truly brighten your day without adding tension (which is why we see most bananas as cheerful). It will also help your mind become more focused and efficient. The craze for all things lemon recently has been driven by our desire to boost energy in the morning and cleanse at night. But any shade of yellow will do just that because its warmth triggers feelings of hope and happiness–two states you want on your side when fighting fatigue.

According to an ancient Chinese proverb, “yellow comes from gold.” Yellow is the color of the middle child–the one who stands between the fun-loving twins on one side and the responsible teenager on the other side. So if you’re stuck between two decisions, wearing some yellow will help clear your head—it’s said to be a soothing color that helps us focus on the present.

Are you thinking about painting your room yellow? If so you will find this article helpful. Below are some colors that complement yellow:

* Yellow complements blue topaz, orange zircon and purple amethyst.

* It is said that yellow-green and green reflect the most light, so complementing colors would be blues, purples, reds (not chocolate brown), naturals (e.g., wood grays) and black.

* A bright shade of blue or a dark shade of orange will banish a sickly yellowed hue in your furnishings. And if you have a yellow wall in your room, try using darker shades of paint on the remaining walls to tone down its dominance in the space.

* For an instant pick-me-up, surround yourself with pale greens for harmony; pair it with yellow for good luck.

* Colors that look good with yellow: green, blue-green, blue, violet and red. Orange and yellow are a fabulous combination; so is pink and yellow. Yellow looks great against almost all colors except black unless you want to give it an aged look in which case pair it with browns or maroons. Green complements it nicely.

* Green greens and yellow yellows are natural complements, as is the sea’s salty air to summer sun-warmed skin; winter moonlight and fire’s amber glow; daybreak and dew after a storm. Try subtle combinations like these when you want your space to be harmonious, but not matchy-matchy.

* The palais of Catherine de Medici in Paris shows off her passion for color with its rich tapestries, gilded furniture in oversize Renaissance forms, painted panels, frescoed ceilings and floors covered with vibrant Persian carpets. It was designed by Philibert Delorme (1510–1570), who completed it in 1564. The color palette is a blend of warm and cool shades of golds, browns and yellows.

* I had a client who wanted to paint her fireplace a “more cold” yellow, but we felt that would be too much (unless you have it anchored with other decorations in the room). Instead she went with peach as an alternative that gives off more warmth than banana or buttercup hues, but less than canary—which has a lot of orange in it. Peach looks good on its own or paired with anything from blue to red to purple to green.

* A pale shade of turquoise complements dark teals; burnt oranges look great with rust-based pinks, brownish pinks and yellows, and mustard yellows; deep blue complements sapphire blues; pink can be paired with violet; green yellow is a wonderful match for magenta.

* I’ve found that if you put a warm color up against a cold one, it just looks sloppy. You want to keep the contrast between the two colors subtle—about 60/40 or 70/30 for natural harmony rather than harsh contrast. For example, brown is both a cool and a neutral so it works well with warm reds and medium greens as well as cool blues like teals or blues-greens. Yellow is bolder than pink but not necessarily more pleasing if placed directly across from blue because their difference in temperature (warm vs. cool) is so much.


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