Decorating with Yellow

Extolling the virtues of colours synonymous with spring and early summer…today’s colour, YELLOW.  Next up, Greens…

Reliable, reassuring and restoring, spring is not far away…

Unsurprisingly, the spring season gets its name from the verb “spring”. It’s a nod to the flowers and plants springing up and bursting open into full blossom. The word itself derives from the Old English word “springan”, which means “to leap, burst forth, fly up; spread, grow.” It, in turn, developed from the Proto-Germanic “sprengan”. During the 14th century, the word came to describe the spring season instead of Lent, indicating the time when plants rise from their winter dormancy and bloom. An apt name, don’t you think?

Yellow is the colour which makes me think of flowers, lemons, and sunshine. It offers fresh appeal in each of its many variations. What could be more inviting than a bright coloured curtain fabric and a scattering of yellow cushions to welcome you home? The colour of eternal summer, we can’t think of any shade we would rather come home to on a bleak winter’s day – or better, a warm spring evening.

For scientists who study the planets, stars and other not-so-earthy objects, the first day of spring is determined by the vernal equinox, when the amount of daylight and darkness are almost equal. This typically occurs on March 20th or 21st in the Northern Hemisphere.

snow drops in the sunshine  daffodils bright yellow

Left: Galanthus nivalis – ‘milk flower of the snow’. This common snowdrop is small, has three white outer petals and three inner ones that overlap slightly. These inner petals each have a green marking in the shape of an inverted ‘V’ / Right: Narcissus pseudonarcissus – wild daffodils have a more delicate beauty than their cultivated cousins: smaller and more subtle, their trumpets are lemon hued, with petals the colour of clotted cream.

Nature’s own colour palette

The first colours seen in our gardens and hedgerows in the late winter and early spring are soft whites, creams, yellows and greens.

Plants that sing during the winter should be treasured far more than those that are part of the chorus of high summer: Snowdrops have to be the most exciting and welcome flowers of the year, followed by other bulbs such as daffodils, narcissi and then of course early clematis, viburnums, hellebores and more…

The hues and shapes of all these flowers and their foliage have inspired my designs and colours.

Yellow is a joyful colour, synonymous with feelings of happiness and spontaneity, it is perhaps the most energetic of the warm colours and is associated with laughter and hope.

Accents of yellow inject energy into your home and will make the occupants and visitors feel optimistic and cheerful.


Have you ever thought about how a room will make you feel whilst choosing the wall colour? Yellow wall covering will instantly brighten up the mood of the room, make you feel safe and also lighten up dark spaces. See the yellow rooms we have decorated over the years below.
fruit garden buttercup wall covering  Shibori Wall Covering Light Pigeon, Saffron room setting
Gypsy Garland - Wall Covering - Saffron on wall behind sofa room setting  Song Birds - Wall Covering - Buttercup behind antique drawers

Saffron, Hay, Sand, Straw & Buttercup are the names I have given to my different shades of yellow.


A stunning shade of ochre yellow is fresh and strong enough to make beautiful curtains and blinds; it loves to be linked with darker shades of grey such as Winter, Charcoal and Scree. This colour combination looks superb in living rooms in particular.

The following designs encompass Saffron: Gypsy Garland, Origami, Shibori, Stockholm Stripe, Pretty Maids, Cow Parsley, For the Love Of Rose, Japonica, Leaf Dance, and French Ticking.

Suggested coordinating fabrics are:
Pretty Maids – Winter
Velvet – Thunder
Plain Linen Union in Clay and Charcoal
Wild and Free - Saffron, Dormouse Fabric Cow Parsley - Saffron, Charcoal Fabric
Up the Garden Path - Saffron Fabric  Pretty Maids - Saffron, Winter Fabric  Stockholm Stripe - Saffron, Dove, Winter Fabric
In this stylish bedroom, painted in Little Greene – Scree, my Saffron fabrics really sing, light up and warm up the room.


This is my softest yellow, beautiful for an elegant sitting room or bedroom and comes in Fern and Dragonfly, Herbaceous Border Detail, Dainty Daisy, Down To Earth, French Ticking and Lapland Stripe.

Suggested coordinating fabrics are:
Pretty Maids – Winter
Plain Linen Union – Smoke and Charcoal
Dainty Daisy – Smoke
Gypsy Garland – Smoke
This bedroom is a wonderful mix of Smoke and Hay. The Hay in the Lapland Stripe on the Rectangular Headboard gives a light and fresh feel to the room.


It reflects the colour of sandy beaches; it is a little more sophisticated than the others and looks elegant in a sitting room or dining room, adding warmth without the brightness. This shade was inspired by the colour of brown paper envelopes!

You can see my Sand in the designs Cow Parsley, coordinating Stripe and Dash and in a useful Plain Linen Union.

Suggested coordinating fabrics:
Stripe and Dash – Cornflower and Forget-me-not
Plain Linen Union – Cornflower
Velvet – Tarn
You can’t beat flowing full length curtains…here the Cow Parsley is edged in Stripe and Dash, Cornflower and Forget-me-not, picking up the Cornflower of the butterfly.


I have moved towards a mustard yellow, illustrated in the designs Fruit Garden, Sepals & Petals and Acorn & Leaf. Mustard and grey fabrics add warmth and light to a room. This shade of yellow looks really wonderful when teamed with my Pigeon.
This is my favourite room of all time. I love that this beautiful honey coloured cat just appeared from nowhere, sat in the perfect position and unknowingly created this perfect harmony!


A perfect partner for the gentler blue-grey Clay with accents of Charcoal, this combination of yellow and grey is very pretty in kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, exemplified in my designs Song Birds, Fruit Garden & French Ticking. The counter balance between the warmth and cheerfulness of the yellow and the cool grey is perfect. These colours create happiness and are spectacular in the evening when the sun is going down and the fire is lit.

Suggested coordinating fabrics:
Branching Out – Charcoal
May Blossom – Charcoal
Plain Linen Union – Clay and Charcoal



An indulgent, golden yellow to help warm up your home!
The warm Ochre colours are a real complementary colour against this deep Lichen green on the fabrics, and the Hopper wall paint from Little Greene.
This cheery spring window would be lovely to wake up to every morning! My design Wild Rose was inspired by the pretty Dog and Field Roses in the hedgerows in the lanes by my home.

Decorating Tips, Advice, Styles and Inspiration

Get even more styling tips and design advice with our other guides which examine specific styles and colours for your home:

Decorating with greens

Decorating with pinks

Decorating with blues

Decorating with patterns

Decorating with stripes