Google+ House Revivals: Y is for Wallpaper and other Yellow Things

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Y is for Wallpaper and other Yellow Things

In this weeks' alphabet meme, we are on the letter Y.  To think we're almost finished!  It's been such a pleasure to participate in this link party for the last many weeks.  To see more Y posts, visit Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday.

I love the color yellow.  It's warm and friendly and vibrant.  It can whisper...
...and it can shout.

It can stand on it's own, or be used to compliment or support another color.

A lot of people think they don't like yellow, but I wish they would give the color another chance.  And take a good look around them.  Chances are, they're surrounded by yellow.

Photo - Don Johnston / Getty Images, source

They may actually like things that are yellow, but be "soooo over" yellow color trends of past decades that they have dismissed an amazing color based on old experiences.

Yellow is not always an easy color to work with.  It can really overwhelm a space.  I once had a professor who told her interior design students "elephants are gray, and canaries are yellow" was a good rule of thumb when using yellow.

Of course, I had another professor who said "rule. of. thumb.  =   r.o.t."!  What I've taken from that is "go ahead and use yellow, apply good design principles, and remember that 'rules' don't always apply".

Confident artists are not afraid to use yellow.  Van Gogh's Irises is a lovely example good design principles in action, and "rules" thrown out the window. 

Yellow can make a person feel energized.  It can also make a person feel agitated.  Years ago, I painted my dining and living rooms a beautiful gold that looked like parchment paper.  I loved it.  It felt warm and welcoming and energizing.  My husband and teenage son (who have similar temperaments) felt agitated in the space.  Not a good thing.  There is so much more to color than rules or principles.  We can never forget the human factor.  Everyone's brain chemistry is a little different, and good design adapts itself to the people who will be using the space.  In my case, although the room was beautiful, it was a case of bad design because it it did not address the needs of all the users of the space. 

Truly, though, yellow is wonderful.  For some, it is best used in large doses, but for others, just a little bit will do.

 In 'The Yellow Wallpaper', the journal 
writer is haunted by the writhing images
of figures she sees in the yellow wallpaper
in the house where she is "kept" by her
well-meaning husband. image source

There is a fabulous short story, written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, called "The Yellow Wallpaper", in the story, the writer is driven slowly insane by bad yellow wallpaper.  Okay, maybe it was her husband who drove her crazy, but I like to think it was the wallpaper.... You can read the story and decide for yourself, here.  Or listen to a dramatization of the story here.  Or download the audio book here.

Enjoy the color yellow. Use it in a way that makes you  happy.  And do listen to, or read the story 'The Yellow Wallpaper' (I recommend a recording of the book)!


  1. I like this post very much! You are awesome! You need to check put Linda at A La Carte! SHe posted yellow too! Very cool post and I love yellow. My first car was a canary yellow 1972 Dodge Swinger! Woo! Hoo! Anne

  2. You got me to thinking now! When I was a kid my folks had two canary's! They were Elmer and Oliver. Pretty pretty yellow birds.
    I love the pretty yellow shoes with the delicate little flower on them. Lovely post! Anne

  3. Bad yellow wallpaper would drive me crazy. But then again, so would any wallpaper. I am fiercely anti-wallpaper. Just a quirk.
    Visiting from Alphabe-Thursday.

  4. I love yellow! It goes so nicely with the blues in my house. I like that picture of the blue kitchen with the black eyed susans. Perfect!
    It is my daughters favorite color because it is so cheerful.

  5. I am stopping by from Alphabe-Thursday. I, too, love yellow! I can take it in large doses because it's bright, warm and cheery. So I enjoyed your post and pictures about yellow! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I like this post a lot because....I've just spend the last four days painting three rooms in two shades of yellow. The formerly-red kitchen took two coats of KILZ primer and four coats of Benjamen Moore 'Butter', but it looks fabulous!

  7. I like yellow, although I wouldn't be caught dead wearing it. I look awful in it!

  8. YELLOW is my favorite color! It makes me feel warm and happy and cheerful. Decorating with it takes on all shades of the color and sometimes you only need that little "POP". Thanks for all the info you gave us today. I enjoyed reading it!

    Have a great day!

  9. yellow is a great color as you have illustrated here - I like those yellow birds, quite a vibrant color

  10. Superb ‘Y’ post – love the baby shoes & canaries!

    Have a great Alphabe-Thursday!


    PS Mine this week is HERE. Hope you can join me!

  11. I do enjoy the color yellow. I use it in acdcents in my home...although red is my favorite! JOni

  12. Yellow is a special color! I enjoyed your pictures. LOVED the little shoes. My guest room is done in a bright yellow with red and navy blue. It's in a boat theme. Hope you have a great week. Debbie

  13. I adore yellow as well. It is such a cheerful color, but you can get it too bright.I love to listen to stories on CD or podcast, thanks for the sources.

  14. YellowBoy (who is featured in my Y post) would love this! You found great examples (and anti-examples) to share. And of course, this sunflower lover is quite fond of yellow as well. :-) Thanks for my continuing education in design. Boy have I learned a lot from your blog!

  15. Well written. I don't think painting your dining room gold was "bad design" it was just a matter of different tastes. How generous of you to cater to your husband and son's.

  16. I enjoyed reading your Y post, I also love yellow especially with blue.
    The little baby shoes are just too cute.

  17. Yellow is a wonderful color. when the aspens turn here in colorado it is lovely site!

  18. I could live with a soft yellow on the wall, but bright would drive me crazy.

  19. I love yellow and blue together. They complement each other so well :)

  20. what stunning yellow you have there, love the yellow forests, the yellow shoes, and the yellow birds...
    cute and fun to look at.

  21. Hi! What a sunny, happy stop on our little journey through Alphabe-Thursday!

    Those baby shoes and yellow birds. Oh. Those made my heart smile!

    Thanks for adding this joy and sunshine to our days!

    I love visiting your blog!


  22. I learned a lot about color today - thanks. It is so interesting that one color can make different people feel differently.

  23. I love yellow in nature and I use yellow to create things, but boy, is it a color I cant wear! (think extreme jaundice)
    I do love the creamy yellows though for wall color........


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