Yellow is the most luminous of all the colours of the spectrum. It’s the colour that captures our attention more than any other colour, and it's definitely been having it's moment in fashion and interior design over the past year or so, and we think it's here to stay! In almost every culture yellow represents sunshine, happiness, and warmth and so styling your home with yellow can help instantly uplift a space and completely change the feeling of a room. Even though the sunshine may be slowly disappearing, it is easy to incorporate little pockets of sunshine yellow into your home to always provide that feeling of long, happy summer days. So join us as we learn all about the meaning of the colour yellow and explore ways you can incorporate this beautiful colour in your home!
Deriving the pigment from clay, yellow is thought to be one of the first colours ever used as a paint in prehistoric cave art, with the first application thought to be over 17,300 years old. Ancient Egyptians were also prolific users of the colour too. Thanks to its close association with gold, the colour was considered eternal and indestructible and so was often used in artistic depictions of the Ancient Egyptian Gods. Yellow has a longstanding relationship with the world of art, from artists such as Van Gogh adopting it as a signature colour to Heinz Edelmann, the graphic designer and illustrator who was the art director for the iconic 1968 animated Beatles film “Yellow Submarine." In different cultures yellow has different meanings. In some cultures, yellow represents peace. In Egypt yellow was worn to signify the dead. In Japan, yellow stands for courage. In India, yellow is the colour of the merchants. Traditionally, yellow ribbons were worn as a sign of hope as women waited for their husbands to come home from war and today, yellow ribbons are still used to welcome home loved ones, mostly in the U.S.
Studies show that the meaning of the colour yellow is often thought to be warmth, cheerfulness, increased mental activity and increased muscle energy. The colour yellow helps activate the memory, encourage communication, enhance vision, build confidence, and stimulate the nervous system. Post-it notes and highlighters are often yellow in colour as it helps to promote mental activity and is especially helpful during exams! Bright yellow is an attention grabbing colour, and when used in combination with black, it creates one of the easiest colour combinations to read and see from long distances. This is why traffic signs and warning signs are often painted yellow and black. Yellow gemstones are believed to aid in clarity for decision-making, boost concentration, increase energy, and offer relief from burnout, panic, nervousness, or exhaustion. Yellow has been particularly popular in interior design in the 1920's and 1960's/1970's. In the 20's, Art Deco influence made yellow and gold extremely popular as they expelled energy, wealth and happiness - capturing the energy of the era. During the 1960's & 1970's warm oranges, rusty reds and mustard yellows were particularly popular in fashion and decorating and were often contrasted with bright blues or teals to create a psychedelic colour palette.
So, how can you start including this rich, happy colour into your own home? If you just want to dip your toe into the world of yellow and see how it suits you and your space, we recommend starting with small accessories to add a little pop of colour at first. Our Ghanaian Woven Fans are a great way to add a splash of colour and a rustic, natural textural element to a room. Our yellow, teal & orange woven fan has beautifully rich golden tones to provide that pop of yellow whilst the teal accents contrast the yellow perfectly. These fans look fabulous hung on the wall, either alone, in groups or even as part of a gallery wall because of the textural element they provide. Similarly, our Rwandan Bowl Basket in Terrazzo is a great option for those wishing to try out a small yellow accent in their space. The bright colours help uplift your room, whilst being small and subtle enough that they do not draw too much attention. These basket bowls are particularly great for those indecisive decorators, as they can be displayed either on the wall or used as fruit bowls. Each bowl has a loop on the back for easy hanging and would look fabulous hung on the wall alongside our woven fans to start your own gallery wall!
Another really easy way to start incorporating yellow into your space is through textiles. Our Indian Kantha Quilt in Fantasy Forest comes in both a single size and a queen size and it does all of the styling work for you! Combining soft, earthy greens with a hint of pinky coral and a pop of mustard yellow, this quilt provides the perfect colour palette for those wishing to experiment more with styling yellow in their homes. The quilt is also reversible, with the alternative side omitting all colours except for the yellow for those who prefer a more subdued colour palette. This is a particularly good way to experiment with yellow if you are living in a rented space and the decor tends to be very neutral and textiles can easily be switched out without you having to make any permanent changes to your rental home. For those looking for a more intense pop of colour, our Tanzanian Hand Woven Throw in Sunshine Yellow is made from 100% cotton, making it super soft and breathable for warmer days, but also super cosy as the evenings are getting cooler. The bright yellow is complimented perfectly by the white and the natural texture of the cotton, making it an incredibly easy piece to style. Thrown casually over the back of the sofa or folded neatly at the foot of your bed, a lovely yellow throw is sure to bring instant smiles to a room and will compliment anything from a neutral to a bright colour palette.
Still looking for something even more eye catching? Our Ghanaian Hand Carved Wooden Sun Masks in Golden Yellow really pack a punch! The bright yellow colour and the geometric design really add an element of interest to even the most modestly decorated space. We particularly love them styled against dark blue or green walls, but they look equally as impactful against a more neutral wall. These beautiful masks are traditionally danced during the farming season by the Bwa people of Burkina Fasso. Representing the sun, that along with the rain and earth will ensure a healthy harvest. Traditional masks have been incorporated within African ceremonies and cultural celebrations for thousands of years. Today, these artifacts are often used as a stylistic counterpoint to contemporary styles, adding an artisanal element to modern designs. These masks make a great talking point, and so we often style them in living rooms or dining rooms in order to create a topic of conversation in areas you host guests.
If you would like more inspiration on styling yellow within your home, you can check out our Yellow Edit and shop all things yellow, from bright sunshine to earthy mustard tones. We hope you enjoyed learning more about the history and cultural significance of the colour yellow and hopefully you found some inspiration on how to include this happy colour in your own interiors. What is another colour you'd like some tips on how to style? Let us know!