Hello, Yellow: 10 Color Combos That Make a Case for This Sunny, Summery Hue

updated Aug 7, 2020
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Yellow may seem like an intimidating color choice but hear me out: This vibrant, cheery tone is actually really versatile. As a member of the <a rel="noreferrer noopener" href="warm%20color%20family,%20it%20packs%20a%20punch%20when%20paired%20with%20a%20variety%20of%20hues,%20from%20bright%20orange%20to%20cooler,%20complementary%20purple.%20According%20to%20designer%20Abbe%20Fenimore%20of%20<a%20href=" https:>Studio Ten 25 though, the options are endless. “Yellow is a happy color, but I love the multitude of variations and how flexible it can be with any color palette,” she explains. 

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From dark pink to unexpected navy blue, these unique color combos will allow you to easily work yellow into your home. 

1. Wood Tones and Yellow: Cozy Vibe 

Brown and yellow are a dynamic duo in this Boston dining room. A darker yellow hue takes center stage on the walls, while brown elements, also part of the warm color family, complement the space and create an earthy, inviting atmosphere. 

2. Dark Pink and Yellow: Bohemian Glam

A bold couch in this San Francisco home makes the case for thinking pink. Paired with various shades of yellow—ochre curtains, mustard artwork, and a buttery seat cushion on the accent chair, this color duo is a bright, lively addition to the home. Try a wallpaper design with similar shades to seamlessly tie your decor together.

3. Cool White and Yellow: Modern Cool 

Sometimes all yellow needs is a blank backdrop, as seen in Tommy Hilfiger’s Florida home. “Yellow is such a sunny, happy color,” says designer Kammi Reiss. “I like to use a bright and bold version, like Benjamin Moore’s Highlighter Yellow, and pair it with a crisp white for a fresh, cheerful room.” In the above bedroom, furniture, bedding, and decorative touches start with a cool white base, which allows the yellow painted dots on the floor and walls to shine. The look comes full circle with smaller elements like throw pillows and comforter details in similar yellow shades. 

Credit: Kim Lucian

4. Navy Blue and Yellow: Opposites Attract 

Yellow and blue hues are on opposite sides of the color spectrum but when it comes to design, it works. Take this California living room, which weaves a yellow bookcase and art in golden frames into a living room with a navy accent wall for a unique contrast. Borrow your color combo from the night sky, and you won’t be disappointed.

Credit: The Inside

5. Black, White, and Yellow: Classic Twist 

Painting an entire room yellow can be a big commitment, but there are still ways to try the shade without going all in. Take this living room vignette from The Inside, for example, which pairs a classic black-and-white striped wallpaper with a yellow Scalamandre Zebra-printed sofa. Many colors can hang with black and white, but yellow truly holds its own against this combo and makes them seem more eclectic and electric.

Credit: Eric Zepeda

6. Dark Yellow and Light Yellow: All Yellow Everything 

A California home proves sometimes more is more with a monochromatic yellow look. The cheery bedroom walls and drapery are a lighter shade, while the bedding and bedside tables are slightly darker hues and closer in color to mustard. Some variety in shades and textures keep the scheme from feeling snoozy. For additional visual interest, try adding elements like black-and-white striped lamps, which introduce a high-contrast finish that’ll pop in the space. 

7. Deep Gray and Yellow: Neutral Setting 

Yellow may seem like a tricky color to work with and a little overwhelming at first. When it’s paired with low-key shades like dark gray, however, it’s a welcomed addition, as evidenced by this Minnesota nursery. “When paired with creamy neutrals or rich, chromatic grays as an accent, the effect is invigorating, fresh, and cheery,” designer Sarah Von Dreele explains. 

8. Dark Red and Yellow: Playful Pairing 

Red and yellow are within the same color family, so it makes sense that they’d work well together in a space. Take this Amsterdam home, for example, which masterfully pairs the two colors, with a simple red rug and matching side table that let the bold yellow sofas shine. To balance all the warm shades, try a neutral wall color and drapery in a hue like cool white or light gray.

9. Burnt Orange, Dusty Rose, and Yellow: Ray of Sunshine

“Yellow also shines when surrounded by its fellow sunrise and sunset hues—unified gradations of color provide balance without sacrificing impact,” Von Dreele explains. Take a look at this bedroom to see this design theory at play. Shades of yellow bring a welcoming warmth to the walls and bedding, while burnt orange and rosy details tie the look together with ease. To avoid overdoing this somewhat monochromatic color palette, try introducing other finishes to the space, like the wooden nightstands and shelves here. Of course, plants never hurt in the mix either.

Credit: Andrew Bui

10. Eggplant and Yellow: Regal Style

As complementary shades on the color wheel, purple and yellow were practically made for each other. Designer Maggie Griffin of Maggie Griffin Design, agrees and favors a pairing like the one in this Brooklyn studio.  “I’m a fan of mustard and aubergine, lemon and aqua, or daisy yellow and navy blue,” she says. “Each complementing color has happy, cooler tones that look fantastic with shades of yellow.” If you can’t decide whether you’re a warm or cool color person, try this kind of pair. You can have the best of both worlds.