The new yellows

Remember when we were suddenly informed that Magnolia walls in the home was social suicide in decorating terms? There’s a new family of yellows cropping up in interiors that boast a similar buttery undertone, only, unlike Magnolia there is nothing sickening about them and they are instead delicious. Often quite brown-based, these yellows feel super fresh, unusual and startlingly modern. We’ve been seeking out inspiration for how to use these rounder tones in our home and below are some finds that range from Alan Bennett’s beautifully crumbling gold front room to the upholstery on Salvador Dali’s fish-themed bed (really). Here we go…

Lighter warm yellows

Tonally, Farrow & Ball set the benchmark earlier this year with one of its 2017 key colours – Hay, above – which comes from a family of yellows that International Colour Consultant, Joa Studholme, described as, “charming and country feeling, most of us look at them and think they seem old fashioned.”

The below hallway is even more muted, painted in earthy feeling String by Farrow & Ball, which gives this entranceway a welcoming, elegant feel.

One of the interesting things we’ve noted about these yellows are how fresh they look alongside white. If you’re feeling reticent about it, try it on a single door in an otherwise white room – as seen in artist Brice Mardin’s Greek home below.

Brice Marden’s House, Lonny Magazine

Getting darker…

Photo by Alicia Taylor, House & Garden

This living room, featured by House & Garden, makes a slightly deeper brown-ish yellow look neutral and quiet. The warmth of the shade is offset by an almighty art collection and all the pinky toned furniture and textiles.

Silhouette by The Rug Company

The Rug Company shows off its Silhouette rug by Jamie Hayon in a grand hallway bedecked in darker yellow – the colour makes a dramatic impact. Again, keeping the woodwork white adds a complementary touch. Try Farrow & Ball’s Sudbury Yellow for a similar feel.

Use it as an accent colour by highlighting a feature of the room – the woodwork in the below bedroom (from House & Garden) is picked out in India Yellow, which contrasts brilliantly with the stronger grey. With white on the remaining surfaces, the room is finely balanced.

Image by Davide Lovatti, House & Garden

We also love the idea of toning golds together, using the surfaces and furniture…

Hay by Farrow & Ball walls, paired with India Yellow skirting and Card Room Green floor.

 Go for Gold

Image from Pinterest

Pure gold sounds ultra decadent but if Alan Bennett is doing it, then it can’t be wrong (his other half edits The World of Interiors). His walls have an appealing distressed finish and you can achieve a similar atmosphere using a tone such as India Yellow. Paint your walls then allow them to dry before sanding various patches of different sizes on the finish. Remove any excess dust with a dry cloth.

Prefer to add gold as a glamorous finishing touch? We love the tone of the Military Brocade Rug by Alexander McQueen for The Rug Company.

Military Brocade Rug, The Rug Company

Lastly, we’ve found two great examples of what happens when you opt for golden textiles in the bedroom. First off, here’s Salvador Dali’s aforementioned niche fish bed.

Image by Jill Macnair

Now here’s the De Gourney wallpaper heiress’ glamorous bedroom as featured on 1st Dibs. It’s putting a whole new unlikely colour scheme to us – gold and green? Mmmmmm.

Image from 1st Dibs

All images on Pinterest.

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2019 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist