Beautiful Rooms: A Dash of Mustard

Well now are you sitting comfortably with washed hands and ready to take our weekly stroll through some beautiful rooms. If we’re all going to be quarantined soon then we’re going to need all the inspiration we can get and I’m starting this week with a look at how a dash of mustard can just liven up a space. For me it’s too much for a wall but it works perfectly as a disrupter colour as we shall see below.

mustard feature radiator image via @mrbuckleyinteriors
mustard feature radiator image via @mrbuckleyinteriors image by @zacandzac 

Firstly this is a very calm pink and blue room but turned the radiator into a feature really finishes the scheme off. It shows that the creator thought about what they were doing and rather than just playing it safe with the two colours deliberately threw in another to disrupt it all.

I know I always say you should match your radiators to your walls and if you have typical modern white ones then you should for sure. This is a little bit more designer and while it would have worked well to match it to the wall, it would never have completely disappeared as it’s so large so better to “own it” as they say and pick a strong colour that makes it part of the decor.

mustard cushions and pendant lights by @sofacompanyofficial
mustard cushions and pendant lights by @sofacompanyofficial

Loosely using the mustard reference here although there’s no doubt they make the pink work harder and stand out well against the blue. This is more about the pendant lights although I’m going to make the same point about owning it. Regular readers will be familiar with my complaint that many pendant lights in bedrooms useless because while they are in the middle of the ceiling that tends to mean they hang pointlessly over the end of the bed lighting a patch of carpet that has no need of being promoted.

Now I appreciate that this is a product shot but three lights is so much better than one. They may be in the wrong place (it’s hard to tell although it looks like they are shining on the middle of the bed rather than the end) but as there are three – hung at varying heights – suddenly it’s a lighting feature – and given that most of us will have bedside lights then the central overhead one in the bedroom is often more a decorative feature (except perhaps on dark winter mornings) so might as well make it count. Three lights in different sizes hung at different heights will do this perfectly and they don’t have to be expensive. Paper lanterns will work perfectly.

mustard desk chair image by @snookphotograph for knightfrank
mustard desk chair image by @snookphotograph for knight frank

From cushions to chairs and this velvet desk chair just highlights the brass handles on the table and brings a happy aspect to the space. I’m not wild about the brass feet but this is about the mustard chair contrasting with the dark blue walls. Always a happy combination blue and yellow but if this doesn’t appeal to you try varying the shades of each until you find the two that work for you.

mustard shower tiles by jill macnair
mustard shower tiles by jill macnair 

As many of you know I have never really been a fan of yellow, although I quite like this mustardy version, but these tiles in the Scottish home of journalist and designer Jilll MacNair have made me start pondering if I would like some like this in the boys’ shower room which needs redoing at some point this year (you can see more of Jill’s house in the current issue of Elle Decoration). While my house has a lot of pinks and burgundies, some chocolates and an increasing amount of green it suddenly feels like a bit of muddy yellow might be just the thing.

Or maybe I should just paint a door as Liz Kamarul has done here to great effect below. All the colours in the room have been pulled out of the wallpaper so it’s a palette that works even though there are quite a lot of different shades.

mustard door by Liz Kamarul
mustard door by Liz Kamarul 

What do you think? What would your disrupter colour be?


Tags : beautiful roomsInspirational interiorsinspirational roomsmustardmustard accents
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I realised last night, when looking at a choice between two rugs I was considering buying, that mustard is the ‘red thread’ in my house! Immediately made my decision of which one to buy, easy! Your advice definitely helped immensely.

  2. Do we know where mustard desk chair is from? I’m working on office space right now.

  3. I have mustard velvet chairs around an antique table in my kitchen. They make me smile every morning even BEFORE coffee so I will keep them. 🙂

  4. Love the mustard especially the last photo of the door. I think two doors in mustard would have been too much and one is just right. As you have mentioned in the past if you look at your wardrobe it gives you a good idea of the colours you like. I don’t wear it a lot but I do have about three mustard cardigans, couple of dresses and a pair of sandals. As I age I don’t even know if I suit this colour anymore but somehow always drawn to it in fashion and decor.

  5. Thanks for this. I have a mustard yellow sofa in a very drab den that has been clamoring for a make-over, and now I can see a way forward with wall paint, cushions, wallpaper–without having to recover the sofa.

    I’m in the Northeastern US but live in a house built in 1880, and find so much more inspiration in your blog than in the sun-drenched perkiness of many American bloggers, newspapers, and magazines.

  6. Hey Kate,
    The bedroom looks absolutely beautiful, I’m sure it must have taken some time to make it look just out of a magazine page. Kudos to your effort.

  7. A dash of mustard is exactly how Coleman’s made their fortune. Much was left on the plate and so I would say just a dash is quite enough.
    I wonder can you fall in love with draw handles on a desk? I have. The small desk with artful brass handles has made me so envious.

  8. I love a touch of mustard yellow – such a joyful and dynamic colour. I never would have thought of pairing it with pale pinks, but it actually works quite well with navy blue in the mix. I have to disagree with you on the chair though – I think the brass feet look fab!

    Happy Monday Kate!


  9. Love the mustard accents. BTW, just got your new book. As I redo my apartment I am thanking you for such thoughtful and insightful advice.

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