Colour psychologist Karen Haller explains what it means if you adore yellow – and how to incorporate the shade into your everyday life.
Sunshine, daisies, butter mellow… Yellow is one of the most vibrant shades around, and in 2018 it’s emerged as the colour of the year, popping up in interiors, beauty, food, books and fashion.
If yellow has long been your favourite colour, you might feel a little irked that everyone’s suddenly jumping on the bandwagon – or you may be glad to have more fellow yellow lovers in the world. But what does it say about you if you find yourself drawn to the brightest slice of the rainbow?
Karen Haller is a leading colour psychologist and design consultant who has studied the effects and significance of colour for over 20 years. She tells stylist.co.uk that people who love yellow tend to be “very optimistic and happy”.
“We think of sunshine when we see yellow – and when we see the sun, we feel good,” she explains. “It really is the colour that lights us up and boosts our confidence.”
As a result, she says, yellow doesn’t tend to be beloved by introverted misanthropes, particularly when it comes to clothing. “If you saw someone wearing yellow, you’d assume they had a sunny disposition.
“You wouldn’t expect them to be moody and grumpy, because someone who didn’t want to be noticed – or who wanted to be left alone – would not wear yellow.”
But even if you love yellow, it’s not always the easiest colour to incorporate into everyday life. If you’d like to bring more sunshine into your home or wardrobe, Haller recommends spending time figuring out exactly what shade makes you feel good (and, if it’s clothing, suits your skin tone).
“That could be a neon yellow, it could be a sunshine yellow, it could be a greyed-out yellow, it could be a saffron yellow,” she says. “Define the tone that actually resonates with you, rather than going along with whatever’s in fashion.
“There are hundreds of yellows, so it’s about personalisation and using the colours you feel reflect your personality.”
Back in 1989, colour expert and interior designer Carlton Wagner claimed that people were more likely to lose their tempers – and babies were more likely to cry – in yellow rooms. This statement has never been backed up by conclusive research, but it’s certainly true that some people find too much yellow in interiors grating, says Haller.
“All colour has duality, and too much yellow – or the wrong tone of yellow – can actually make you feel quite anxious and irritable,” she says. “So I would never say to somebody ‘fill your house with lots of yellows.’”
She particularly warns against painting your bedroom a bright, egg-yolk yellow. “If you want a restorative night, yellow is not the colour to sleep in, because it can be overwhelming.”
Instead, Haller suggests deploying your favourite colour sparingly and in specific locations around the house.
“Yellow is wonderful on a front door – it’s a lovely way to be welcomed home, because it’s like your door is excited and happy to see you. And it’s a good colour to use in the hallway, because often hallways are quite dark.”
Soft yellow can also be uplifting in a breakfast room or kitchen, she says. “It’s a lovely way to wake up.”
If you’d rather not paint your walls yellow, Haller recommends adding yellow accents around your home. “It could be as simple as buying a bunch of yellow flowers, a yellow cushion, a lovely lamp or some yellow placemats for your table,” she says. “Yellow doesn’t have to be everywhere to bring the happiness out.”
Want more ideas about how to incorporate your favourite colour into your home? Check out our round-up of yellow interior décor pieces, from plant pots to cushions to candles.
stylist.co.uk has had a yellow makeover on 15 August, to celebrate our Yellow Issue and pay homage to the colour of the season. Read more about the most playful shade of all here.
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