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From the Resene colour choices booklet

Happy, sunshiny yellow – it’s the colour of spring and summer, of warmth and cheeriness. It brings a bit of brightness into your life and makes you smile.

Yellow home exterior

Exterior in Resene Moonbeam.

Yellow is one of the most vivid colours in the spectrum, so it can be a scary colour to use. Like road signs and highlighters, yellow is difficult to miss. Uplifting in a cold room, yellow may be overpowering in a sunny one. While intense daffodil yellows may be a bit much on all four walls of a room, there are many yellow-based colours that look amazing.

Deep dusky yellow:  These yellows are a bit muddied and stretch from soft straw tones to deeper mustard and ochre hues like Resene Hacienda. Such saturated colours lend sophisticated warmth to a room, and look fantastic in older homes with a heritage bent. You can give these colours an acidic edge by adding a touch of green for sharp urban interiors and team them with charcoal or black. Or add some red for a spicy saffron yellow that looks great in ethnic-inspired interiors.

Soft lemon yellow:  Another easy shade to live with, pale lemony yellows, like Resene Pale Prim, impart a bright, welcoming look to any room. They look great with clear whites and fresh greens, and suit country-style or Frenchstyle interiors.

Custard yellow:  Creamier yellows, like Resene Moonbeam, haven’t been seen much in interiors; our paler neutrals have tended more towards stone tones. If you deepen custard yellow a little for a warm, tropical-banana yellow, it becomes a lovely colour for a child’s room. Or if you’re feeling really brave, go ’70s retro and use it with brown!

Yellow metals:  Copper, gold and brass metallics have been strong in interiors in recent years. Check out the Resene Metallics and special effects range for colours like Resene Gold Dust.

A yellow lower walll feature
Lower wall in Resene Wild Thing; upper wall in Resene Black White.

Top tip

When used on the walls of a room, yellow is a colour that reflects off itself so the look of it intensifies even more. If in doubt, choose a softer, creamier yellow. Yellow can also become acidic quite quickly so unless that’s the look you’re after, veer towards creamier, more wheaten tones.

Positive – Yellow is the colour of optimism, confidence, extraversion, emotional strength, friendliness and creativity. It tends to make people feel happy and energetic. Buttery shades of yellow are easier to live with.

Negative – Too much yellow or the wrong tone can prompt irrational behaviour. It can also induce fear, depression and anxiety.


Download a PDF of this article

Resene colour choices booklet
Choose colour with confidence and creativity


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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

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