Use yellow with modern interior design ideas to create a contemporary and sophisticated look - minimal with a retro twist.
I share with you exactly how to get the look at home...
The color I’m feeling particularly attracted to at the moment (for all things interior or fashion) is yellow
And it’s actually a really contemporary interior design color at the moment...
So I thought I’d get designing...
And I have come-up with this ultra-modern and sophisticated interior design look with yellow.
Modern interior design ideas use yellow in a slightly different way to the methods of decorating with yellow which you may be used to...
It is known as the ‘sunshine color’ in interior design – as it helps to bring the light of the sun into your home, plus gives you that cheerful sunshine feel.
This interior design look uses yellow in a slightly different way. Yellow is actually used ‘just’ as an accent color in this look – although, in essence, it is the main color in the design…
This is because the other colors used with yellow are neutrals – so the yellow, as such a bright color anyway, does really stand out as the absolute focal point of the design.
Modern interior design ideas set yellow against a dark background.
As we can see in this design, when you set yellow against a dark background, such as the charcoal gray in this look, the bright color really ‘pops’ – and looks sensational.
This modern way of decorating with yellow, is, essentially, a minimalist way of decorating – very simple, understated, and of course, extremely stylish.
Dark colors give the whole look a very ‘grown-up’ and sophisticated feel.
However, not all rooms can take dark colors as comfortably as others – and not everyone likes to live surrounded by dark colors – so we’ll look at ways of adapting the look to keep the feeling light and bright – and not have to go completely over to the ‘dark side’.
For me, charcoal gray is the best dark color to use as the background for your yellow – other options to consider could be:
Although other dark colors are, of course, available, sticking to this limited palette of neutrals (considering a deep, deep navy blue as a neutral) makes sure the resulting look is simple, modern and sophisticated – all the effects we want to achieve when decorating with yellow in this new, modern way.
Minimalist and modern interior design ideas are the basis for this decorating with yellow style...
But yellow lends itself so well to giving that ultra-hip retro edge to the look – so we’ve blended in a few quirky and colorful retro touches into the design, too – to give it that extra ‘oomph’ that turns a design into your own personality statement for your home.
Clearly the main color in the look is yellow.
But it is used in a relatively small amount as the ‘main’ color...
And in fact the largest ‘quantity’ of colors which should be used are the neutral colors which make up the background of the look.
These retro-modern interior design ideas go best against a dark background – and I’ve chosen dark gray as my recommendation for this look, as it’s dark enough to give the drama we’re looking for with this style…
…but it’s not harsh (as black might be).
The charcoal gray gives a softer, luxurious or decadent background to set your yellow against – and makes the yellow color appear richer and more vibrant by contrast.
Of course, unless you have a well-lit and large room, dark colors can be quite difficult to work with, and to get right…
That’s why we suggest, for this look, not going for all-over dark gray for your background.
A dark color all over (even with the ‘pops’ of yellow which we’ll add in, in a minute) can quickly become oppressive, and can also make your room feel:
So, here, we’ve lightened up the look by keeping the flooring in a mid-toned, tan wood.
Wood is a great neutral to add into the room, as it gives a lighter tone, plus the rich texture and pattern of a natural material, which adds a real depth and soul into the style.
Try to choose a tone and color of wood that fits with both your accent yellow, plus your darker background. Warm-toned woods (with yellow or orange undertones) are usually best for this.
Mid-toned woods (like the one in this design) are a good mid-point between the dark charcoal background, plus the bright yellow, plus the lighter whites, which we’ll add in later.
You might want to choose a paler or darker wood, though, if you think it will suit your own room or your own modern interior design ideas and styles, better.
Although the yellow is the contrast to the dark gray, and the main color (and main accent color) of this design – you will likely want to add in some whites (or pale greys).
White is brilliant to add into a dark look like this, as it helps to make the look suitable, even for small and dark rooms.
The amount of white you want to add will depend on:
In the design I’ve prepared for this page, we’ve included a fair amount of white, to really lighten the look, and to make it suitable for most rooms.
It’s a great idea to have an accent wall of a lighter color.
You could have an accent wall of yellow, but as yellow is such a strong color, I think a large accent wall can sometimes still be a bit much…
A great alternative is this gorgeous statement wallpaper (see the image above), which uses white as it’s background color – and also the black/charcoal gray, to create a striking graphic pattern - perfect modern interior design ideas for your contemporary yellow style.
Well, I’ve looked into the basics of this design quite a bit, but so far I’ve barely mentioned yellow…
So, now it’s time to wheel out the yellow!
Like I said, yellow is a very important color for this look – it's the most important color for these retro-modern interior design ideas – but to keep the look subtle and sophisticated in tone, we don’t want to overdo it.
Bring in the yellow carefully – it’s a strong color, so a little does go a long way.
I’ve chosen a couple of gorgeous, yellow, statement pieces of furniture for this look – 2 modern-styled yellow sofas.
These give a good solid block of color in the room, without being too much – we can then reflect the yellow color in other accessories around the room.
You don’t need to use sofas, you could use cabinet doors in a kitchen, bedding in a bedroom, a brightly painted sideboard or chest of drawers, or even just sofa throws or curtains/blinds to get that large block of color in.
Once we’ve got the main yellow accents in, the next step is to reflect this accent color around the rest of the room.
We will add in more, smaller, yellow pieces in different parts of the room.
Some good ideas for these smaller yellow accents are:
You can also look for larger pieces where yellow makes up just a part of the whole – for example, a curtain with a white and yellow pattern, or a black and yellow bedspread.
Keep to minimalist and modern interior design ideas as you choose your styles of furniture.
I’ve chosen both black and white pieces of furniture in the room, as this gives a balance between both colors in the room.
It is also a good idea to think about where you intend to position a piece of furniture before you decide on its color.
In this design, the small bookshelf and sideboard look fantastic in white, as they stand out (contrast) so well against the dark walls.
In other parts of the room this contrast would be less apparent, so you can choose whatever suits, and even introduce some wood tones.
The usual interior design rules apply, and if your room is on the dark or small side, lighter colored furniture will help with this.
Pale rooms can cope with the darker colors for furniture.
And if your room feels ‘cold’ (unwelcoming) at all, warm wood tones will really help warm the whole look up.
Take a look at some great modern interior design pieces in yellow, which you can use to kick-start your decorating with yellow plans…
Hope you bag a yellow bargain!
For larger images, video walk-throughs, and information about products and colors used in this design, take a look at the links below:
Take a closer look at the ‘Yikes! That’s Yellow!’ Moodboard on Sampleboard.com
Use the virtual moodboard tool I used to inspire this look, to get started with your own designs...
Have you got your free subscription to my interior design e-zine?
Receive your free, monthly, email newsletter, packed full of interesting interior design ideas and information about decorating with color - straight to your inbox!
Stuck with your own interior design project? Or want to share your own ideas and style with other readers to this site?
My Fabric Designs
Aug 17, 15 12:11 PM
Follow our big do it yourself kitchen makeover - turning our badly planned kitchen into a kitchen and home office...
Jul 22, 15 05:01 AM
Sofa Workshop have created a great little interior design timeline, showing major design influences, colours and real life inspiration for your project - through the ages, right from the middle ages…
Jul 13, 15 08:12 AM
My new project - Lotti Brown Fabric Design & Surface Pattern Design
Jul 13, 15 07:14 AM
Follow along with our own home makeovers in my interior design diary - starts February 2015, this is page 4 of my diary.
Apr 29, 15 09:22 AM
Sharing our own weekend bathroom makeover - slapping about a bit of paint to make it pretty...
Mar 11, 15 02:20 PM
Choose and buy your interior design textbooks and reference books here. Read helpful descriptions of each book. Color Guides, Design Skills, Exam Help, Ideas and Inspiration ...