Color Trends 2012 – 2013 – Yellows Again!

Design Legacy Pillows from MyHomeFaceLift on a yellow leather tufted Chesterfield sofa from Anthropologie

Brights are back!

And what would brights be without Yellow?

The color of that shining orb to which all of humanity can credit for its continued existence is going to help us explore the use of yellow today. Such an energetic color is not known for its calming effect.

Pantone‘s Connect Palette – image from Pantone’s 2013 Color Planner webinar.

Amongst other 2013 palettes, I like Pantone’s “Connect” Color Palette which pairs the color of barely harnessed energy and enthusiasm with the stabilizing effect of ultimate the neutrals – grays. At left is an illustration of the perfectly neutral RGB ratios of gray, as opposed to beige, which most people would offer as their first example to being asked for an example of a neutral color.

The Connect palette also effectively blends the warm and the cool yellow tones, uniting the best color DNA of both yellow families.

Van Gogh – Landscape Under a Stormy Sky – images separately from awesome art

If you read this blog routinely, you are expecting the “find your saturation level that expresses your comfort level” speech at any moment, but today we will explore exposure instead.

I wish that all architects were forced to take Astronomy I – as part of their required curriculum. You may laugh at the notion of star-gazing architects but if every architect’s lap top resided the remedial tools and formulas necessary to determine the sun’s relative seasonal position to the observer at any given latitude – or moreover, to the designated position of a residential build, designers would not be forced to spend so much energy compensating for poorly conceived exposure. In short – exposure of sunlight matters! It changes color, outlook and energy consumption. Yellows are especially sensitive to the muses of their celestial color creator.

Giverny when sunlit

Warm yellows are the solutions to spaces lacking great exposure. The egg yolk tones of Giverny were Claude Monet‘s answer to architecture predating windows with any “R” values at all. Banks of windows made homes in the 19th century either very cold or very warm, and were not practical – yet Giverny was ahead of its time in this regard, boasting many tall windows albeit hindered for light exposure by shudders. Warm yellows provide the sun-soaked impression of the Giverny gardens, even after sunset in poor lighting conditions.

Monet’s dining room at Giverny

Warm Yellows mix beautifully with this season’s cooler acidy yellows. Lighter shades of yellow tend to feel cooler, and I especially love Benjamin Moore’s HC-4 yellow, which is a warm compliment to the yolkier and more cottage tones of yellow, a great deal like the Para shade shown. It is lighter in person than you see on the screen, and can actually be used as a trim color with brighter colors like Tangerine Tango.

Paradise P2720-02 Para – image from House & Home CA

Exposure is diminished by breaking up the yellow area, inhibiting glare – book shelves are ideal candidates for some lemony zest of a cooler shade of yellow.

Citrus Zest 390B-6 Behr – image from House To Home Canada

Cooler yellows add a contemporary foot note even to very traditional spaces.

Banana Fibre 6096-42 Sico – image House & Home CA

Bright warm colors act a great deal like laser pointers. In a room layered with neutral cooler tones, your eye will be drawn immediately to the hot spot of color. Remember this for show-casing pieces of art with hot colors or focal elements.

image via thingsiliketolookat blog

The same works in reverse – A citrus yellow disappears into the supporting cast when framing a turquoise or cerulean blue, even in a rooms lit by CFL light sources.

Lemony Degournay choisenerie wallpaper – wonderlandphilosophyblog

The warm yellow table stories of Monet’s dining room still find themselves at home with today’s reincarnated “working blues”.

Limoges Monet China

It works at Buckingham palace!

It will work for you too, if like many home buyers you were seduced by cathedral ceilings that later defied all your efforts create intimacy.  Like many relationships, we tend to hate what we were drawn to initially when we fell in love! A yellow ceiling can repair the relationship. Where light blues visually raise ceiling height, warm yellows and reds function to visually lower ceiling height. If you are working with 15 feet plus, this may make your space feel better oriented to conversation.

Buckingham Palace – image from

Let’s face it…it it works for generations of royal majesty…….

Pick a shade and get some sun!