A colour risk worth taking
Lively ... the power of yellow must be carefully harnessed. Photo: callananphoto.com
Grey skies and life challenges last week left me feeling drab. It was the luxuriant golden mimosa by the railway line that lifted my spirits and reminded me of the power of this colour. Yellow, the colour of butter, bananas, lemons, marigolds, saffron and corn.
Yellow is notoriously difficult to use as a wall colour because it is so strong and clear. Wall colours ideally recede. Yellow makes its presence felt.
The trick is to find the right yellow and use it in the right way.
Rikki Stubbs, callananphoto.com
In my 1850s Petersham home, yellow featured inside and out. I used colours that lie either side of pure yellow in the colour spectrum. Entrance halls can take a strong colour. I chose a modern limey yellow. It ran like a vivid thread connecting the colours of the other spaces - the aubergine television room, the lavender guest room and pink and grey striped walls of the main bedroom.
I lived with a neutral wall colour in the kitchen for a while and then painted it a golden yellow. The colour wasn't overwhelming because the walls were broken up by doors and windows and accented by the black benchtop. My cooking may not have improved but my enjoyment of being there certainly did.
It's a common misconception that dim rooms must be painted white. White in a dark room looks sad and grey. Yellow creates light and a sense of wellbeing. But don't use it for bedroom walls, especially a child's room. It's too active. Use it in smaller doses on a fabric for a blind or chair. It's dynamic in geometric fabric prints. Team it with deep pinks, lime, turquoise, rust reds and chocolate.
Cool, sharp yellows are well suited to the clean lines of contemporary interiors. I used an acid yellow in the dining room of a huge 1920s apartment in Potts Point to offset the bold artwork and the white kitchen. Enliven a white kitchen with yellow splashback tiles in glass or glazed ceramic.
Mud at Edgecliff has lemon yellow bowls, plates and platters and across the road at No Chintz are Chinese yellow ceramic side tables that double as stools.
Metallic yellow can look sensational on a front door. I can't wait to see the results of my external scheme for a weatherboard cottage in Balmain - soft grey with sharp yellow window frames and a paler shade on the eaves.
Yellow is so life affirming. Use it with confidence.