and the colour for 2011 is… yellow

Karen Haller 01
Karen Haller

Colour of the Year for 2011 is Yellow!

Each year ICI ColourFutures™ presents their colour of the year based on one dominant trend.  The trend for 2011 is ‘Appreciation’ and the colour they believe “best sums up the prevailing mood, attitude and fashion of the time” is Yellow!

Looking at yellow in colour psychology terms, it is the colour connected to our emotions.   Relating this to nature, yellow is the colour of sunshine.  When we see the sun our spirits soar, leaving us feeling happy and joyous.  When our spirits are lifted we are full of self-esteem, self-belief and optimism.

Like any colour it’s important to pick a tone that resonates with you.  You will know if you have picked a yellow tone that doesn’t resonate with you as over time you may feel your self-esteem dip or feel fear or anxiety.  You may also lose confidence in your own ability.  The term ‘Yellow bellied’ refers to a lack of self-esteem.

Here are examples of four different types of yellows.  Which one resonates with you?

Yellow colour palette showing 'spring, summer, autumn & winter' yellows

Making a splash
Yellow can freshen up and bring happiness to any space.

eakfast room - spring yellow. This link will open a new browser window.

You may like to paint a wall or just add a splash of colour in a rug, cushions or flowers if it’s a colour you find too bold.

Ideal rooms to use yellow in are those that could benefit with lightening up or where there is little or no natural light such as a dark hallway.  Great for breakfast rooms with the feeling of starting the day in sunshine!

Here a bright, clear warm yellow was used to create a cheery breakfast room, bringing the sunshine in.

Conservatory - Autumn yellow. This will open a new browser window.

Warm yellow (with a hint of black) works perfectly with the other earthy colours.

Hallway - summer yellow. This will open a new browser window.

Cool yellow (with grey added) enhances the elegance of this hallway.

Library interior - intense winter yellow with black. This link will open a new browser window.

Cool (blue based) intensive yellow works perfectly with black. No doubt this ill be the scene of many stimulating and lively conservations and meetings.

Causing a irritation
When we sleep our bodies are rejuvenating and restoring, ready for the coming day.   If you have a yellow bedroom the opposite will be happening.  Your emotions will be stimulated resulting in depriving yourself of a sound night’s sleep, possibly waking up irritated.  As babies and children are more sensitive they will feel these negative effects even quicker.  Best to avoid using yellow in the bedroom. Look at using calming, relaxing hues such as blue for a restful night’s sleep.

So when it comes to using yellow, find a tone you can relate to, that you feel comfortable with, not just because it’s in fashion.

Given these austere times, what better colour to pick than Yellow – the colour of optimism and hope, as it will be these qualities that see us through…

Wishing you all a happy, joyous 2011

Lots of Love,

Karen x
Karen specialises in holistic interior design & colour psychology

karen haller interiors

Article can also been seen in MACS London Magazine.

Share the knowledge


  1. Stacey Sheppard on February 24, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Hi Karen,
    This is such a great post and to be honest I wasn’t surprised to read that yellow will be big this year. After all the negativity of the past few years, I guess people are craving some happiness, optimism and cheerfulness, and what cheerier colour is there than yellow? I’m certainly loving yellow this year!

    • admin on February 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm

      That’s yellow! bringing in the sunshine, happiness and optimism for these somewhat testing times! Glad you liked the article. Love your musings too!

  2. Janet Best on March 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Hi Karen
    Thank for your tips on how to bring all the positive attributes of yellow safely in to our homes. Most people love the idea of yellow but are frightened to take the plung.

    • admin on March 9, 2011 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Janet,

      Yellow is one of those colours that people either love or loathe. Knowing the right yellow to suit your personality is key. You can have sunshine everyday!

  3. savita kalia on March 15, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Really like this post. Love that image of the library, where is it from??

  4. Decor Girl on March 16, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Karen, great article. I just did a large great room in a golden yellow for one of my 60+ year old clients and she is so thrilled to have a “happy” room. She has lived in the house for 15 years and never liked to be in this room before, now she loves it.

    Life is about color. Nice to meet you yesterday at the chat.

    • admin on March 17, 2011 at 10:15 am

      Hi Lisa,

      Lovely to meet you too on the designer’s chat.

      That’s wonderful to hear your client now loves her home. The home should nurture and support us. The positive qualities of yellow is definitely about happiness, joy, optimism.

      Happy days!
      Karen x

  5. Michelle Weir on March 17, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Karen, what a really interesting blog on yellow! You actually summed up beautifully what I had suspected re the negative feelings from yellow because as a teenager I had a Y bedroom and can’t bear to look at that particular shade anymore! Well done and thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us 🙂

    • admin on March 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm

      Hi Michelle, I had a yellow bedroom too! When I realised I didn’t like it because of colour association and see it was the colour of happiness I now love yellow! Promptly going out and buying a yellow bikini!

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