Mad About . . .

Monday Inspiration: Yellow Accents (trend alert)

13th September 2021
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Some of us are clinging onto summer while some of us are eyeing cosy jumpers and woolly socks and are ready to move into the new season. For me this is one of those “how it started… how it’s going” posts. As regular readers will know I have traditionally not been a fan of yellow. But during the long months of lockdown I started to fantasise about a yellow kitchen. Now let’s be clear on this – there is a long way between fantasy and reality but let’s just say I enjoyed looking at pictures without ever being in danger of actually following through. Secondly let’s be clear that, for me, the only acceptable of yellow is a warm buttery, ochre type shade – begone lemony primrose shades. However, at some point over the summer there was a slight shift from the fantasy…

yellow curtains at Casale Amati image by madaboutthehouse.com

It started during the summer holiday in Italy with the bedroom in this house, a converted olive mill, that we rented. There was something about the afternoon light streaming through those simple yellow linen curtains that stopped me in my tracks.

A few days later we visited Turin and the house of the designer Carlo Mollino and while these curtains are more tobacco than yellow, I also liked how they frame the view into the room beyond. I’m wondering if it’s time to bring back curtains in all those knock through sitting rooms we created to make rooms bigger… Obviously it’s expensive to install doors and we don’t necessarily want to put the walls back up but some heavy, gorgeous curtains might be just the thing? Solves draughts and might even work to hide a work from home space meaning you don’t have to tidy it all away at the end of the day but can just draw the curtains across it.

caramel curtains at Museo Carlo Mollino in Turin, image by madaboutthehouse.com

Anyway, back to the subject in hand, look at how much these pale yellow (pale but still slightly dirty in shade!) bring to this simple striped wallpaper. Yes the doors could have been white to match the walls and wallpaper. They could also have been blue, although that might have have been a little nautical. Instead, the woodwork has been covered in this cheery disrupter shade and it looks clean, minimal and joyous all at the same time. It goes without saying that it doesn’t have to be yellow.

yellow doors by Kate Arends of Wit & Delight

yellow doors by Kate Arends of Wit & Delight

I have spoken before about how painting the window frame in yellow can make a room feel bright and sunny even on a dull day. This is in Skye McAlpine’s house (click for a house tour) and this window is at the other end of her yellow kitchen so there is a link. This is, I think the reason why I haven’t done it as I have no yellow in my house and I think just painting the window frames might look a little random. If you are going to do this there will need to be some yellow accessories in the room to make sense of it all. That said, it’s another picture that I look at and admire on a regular basis.

yellow window frame at the home of skye mcalpine by madaboutthehouse.com

yellow window frame at the home of skye mcalpine by madaboutthehouse.com

But here, look at the cleverness from Jess of Clueless Renovators (hardly clueless). This is a combination of the ultimate paint effect coupled with a very modern trompe l’oeil effect. I have painted the inside of my front door in a deep burgundy that matches the stair runner and gives a focal point in my pale hall and there are plenty of examples of yellow and colourful front doors on instagram but Jess has taken it one step further and created the impression that the sun is flooding into her hall.

yellow hall by Jess at Clueless Renovators

yellow hall by Jess at Clueless Renovators

Note also that her hall is narrow – there’s no room for furniture here so the only way to add impact and style is through colour. This makes the dark blue even more dramatic but if you visit her account and swipe across you will see that rather that continuing the dark shade all the way to the room at the back she has changed it to pale pink – floor and all, which draws your eye from the dark space you are in to the the light at the back of the house. Conversely, when facing the other way your eye goes through the dark to the sunshine beyond. And, for those of you who feel this might be a little dramatic for your own spaces, just note what you can achieve in a small space with the power of paint and no furniture and plot your own decor accordingly.

kitchen by Plain English

kitchen by Plain English

Now to kitchens and bathrooms and both these have used yellow as an accent colour rather than the main event. Above, The Plain English kitchen is mostly painted in the deliciously named Burnt Toast, but the island (just scene) is in bright yellow. Their three paint collections have two yellows; boiled egg is too much for me (but great name) whereas the controversially named Nicotine is, as the name suggests, a much murkier shade that suits me better and speaks, as the blurb says, of storied interiors where the fug of tobacco has long since faded . And I have to say that 22 years ago when decorating our first flat The Mad Husband and I spent a long time trying to find that particular shade of Parisian cafe wall that started out white and was smoked over furiously for about 20 years. We chose Farrow & Ball Citron in the end, which is lovely but not remotely cigarettey.

A look at the new season with some Monday inspiration from Kate Watson-Smyth. Brighten up a space with a bold splash of yellow, the classic roll-top bath has been given a modern update. #yellowbath #bathroom #madaboutthehouse

yellow bath by catchpole & rye

Or what about this cheery yellow bath in an an otherwise plain white room? In real life you might remove the stool and co-ordinating flowers but this is a product shot so it needs to all be there. This would work really well with yellow window frames that are perhaps only revealed when the shutters are open rather than the more obvious whole shutter look.

And in a return to the theme at the top – how it started and how it’s going I can say only that I have been asked to work with a company making window dressings to promote their new collaboration. Reader, we are going YELLOW. Watch this space….

And, before I go, this isn’t yellow but let’s stretch to tobacco and this fabulous bobbin leg bench designed by Hannah Pemberton at WandaLust, made by Jess at Pohmaluna using the Ginger Dalmation fabric by Poodle and Blonde. It’s perfect in this spot. Prices start at £477 for the small, £577 for this medium and £677 for the large. There are seven glossy leg colours to choose from and dozens of fabrics.

bench by wandalust, made by pohmaluna, with fabric by poodle and blonde

Have a lovely day everyone whether you’re home alone for the first time in ages now schools have gone back, or enjoying a return to the office. I’ll be back on Wednesday.

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  • Erin 14th September 2021 at 6:51 pm

    I just painted our loft a sunny yellow, including the ceiling. I was terrified when I finished painting it, because it was so much stronger than I was expecting (painting the ceiling seemed to dramatically intensify the colour). But once the furniture and accessories were back in the room, I decided I love it! I suspect that it will really come into its own during winter.

  • Changing seasons – New trends – First Stone Worktops 14th September 2021 at 3:48 pm

    […] which highlights up and coming trends is Kate Watson Smyth, who this month is inspired by yellow Monday Inspiration: Yellow Accents (trend alert) – Mad About The House. If you are looking for kitchen ideas check out the worktops in the kitchen displayed and the […]

  • Hélène 14th September 2021 at 10:09 am

    25 years ago, My kitchen walls were this warm sunny yellow. I am not sure I want to go back there… It’s another country.

  • Hélène 14th September 2021 at 10:08 am

    Isn’t it cyclical.
    25 years ago, my kitchen walls were that warm sunny yellow. I am not sure I want to go back there… It’s another country

  • Lindsay 13th September 2021 at 1:24 pm

    I like the idea of curtains between two rooms, particularly if you have a set of doors at one end, leading out to the garden.
    Installing another set of doors seems excessive so this could be a good compromise, however I think it would work better with a grown up family as young children might spend their time hanging on them !

  • Anna 13th September 2021 at 1:02 pm

    The light coming through those voile bedroom curtains will be an Italian light which is rarely repeated here nevertheless yellow curtains can bring joy. Sophie Conran has yellow silk curtains puddling on to the carpet in her bedroom and raves about them. In the days of Dulux Buttermilk paint being on trend, I too enjoyed having soft coloured yellow curtains!
    In 1971 we painted a tiny narrow entrance hall egg yolk yellow and the paint could only be obtained in London. We hung a huge gold framed antique mirror on the wall opposite the front door and were the envy of the street!

  • Catherine 13th September 2021 at 8:39 am

    How timely you post is Kate. This weekend I painted a very worn out wooden footstool with a tester pot of Little Greene Giallo (Drew Pritchard would NOT be happy). It’s a fabulous rich warm colour which I am using as an accent in my north facing sitting room. It’s like a burst of sunshine which lifts the soul. The power of colour.

  • Lenore Taylor 13th September 2021 at 8:17 am

    The yellow tub is wonderful. Dreading our long Canadian winter, I long for one of those, so I can sink as deep as I like for ages. Cheers from Canada!

  • Kelly Underwood-Fone 13th September 2021 at 8:16 am

    We have a yellow downstairs loo that draws a lot of positive comments. It can be a tricky colour to decorate with. My house is mainly monochrome so it was a big move for me! Although I do have small yellow accents throughout the house so I must be more drawn to it than I realise!

  • Gill 13th September 2021 at 8:12 am

    About 20 odd years ago I had a butter yellow bedroom. Walls and curtains were almost the same shade and no matter what the weather or season it was a really uplifting start to any day. Because it was such a soft colour it didn’t jolt you first thing on waking, just gave you a nudge in the right direction. Visited a friends new home yesterday and there was a lovely ochre thread running through the whole house. Really pleasing on the eye.

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