How to Design With Mustard Yellow Like an Interior Decorator

Updated 09/05/17

Since we've been seeing bold, neutral hues in the most enviable interiors lately, we decided to ask Abbe Fenimore of Studio Ten 25 and Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design how to design with mustard yellow at home. As it turns out, mustard yellow is the unsung hero (and the great stabilizer) of the rainbow, bringing balance to every space it enters (even Dwight Schrute of The Office agrees). This is because it's a subtle pop of color that can enhance any aesthetic.

It brings warmth to an all-white room while it tones down the playful vibes of a colorful space filled with pastels. In addition, it can add the perfect dose of contrast to a room dominated by earth-toned neutrals. To see the transformative potential of mustard yellow, scroll through the visuals and the designer tips below. Even if you don't have a redesign on your calendar, you'll be able to get your daily fix of décor inspiration as well as a new color crush.

In a Whimsical Country Kitchen…

How to Decorate With Mustard Yellow
JH Interior Design

"When I want something a bit more playful and fun, mixing teal with mustard yellow is always a win," Fenimore says. You can go all-in by putting a mustard-hued piece of furniture against a fresh, light blue wallpaper, or do it with a bit more subtlety, and introduce blue decorative objects or artwork, as done in the modern farmhouse kitchen above. We love how the sofa looks with the light gray paint on the ceilings, the glossy white subway tiles, and the dark dining set.

In a Brooding Earth-Toned Living Room…

Nicole Franzen

"[It's] such a romantic, fearless pop of color when it's used on a white, neutral canvas," Murray says. In an earth-toned space like the one above, mustard yellow adds the final touch to lighten the mood. But aside from breaking up the color scheme and making it more visually unique, it also warms things up, which makes it feel homey and livable. And all it took was a throw blanket draped over the soda to make a stylish (and cozy) statement. 

In a Hip, Eclectic Bedroom…

Bedroom Design Ideas
Fantastic Frank

If you're color-shy but want to experiment with mustard yellow, opt for a more muted shade like the one in the bedroom above. It looks gorgeous with the retro emerald green sconces, and it complements the wall art above the bed, making it understated but intriguing.

In a Glamorous Study…

Nicole Franzen

Though mustard yellow will pair well with just about any color scheme, there are a few colors that make the perfect bold statement. Fenimore says "navy is one of [her] favorite colors to mix in with mustard yellow for a rich and sophisticated feel." She also suggests bringing in a grayer blue as a secondary color. This study also makes sure to include shiny gold accent pieces to keep the color scheme from looking dull. 

In an Industrial Loft…

Space Exploration Design

Murray also recommends using it in smaller doses. "You don't want to overuse the color in any one room or it loses the charm it carries in smaller doses," she says. We love that this open-plan living room opts for one bold piece, but it doesn't overdo it on smaller decorative items to match. Using a large rug like this one will introduce just as much color as painting a wall, but it also brings in more dimension. If you like playing with textures and materials but haven't experimented with many colors, a rug like this one is a great place to start.

And though some shades of mustard yellow are closer to brown hues, you can also find great pieces that have lighter undertones to break up your space.

In an All-White Bar Area…

Nicole Franzen

One of the easiest ways to introduce a pop of color without investing in items like a club chair or committing to painting an entire wall, opt for a mustard yellow abstract painting. We love how it's leaning effortlessly against the bar counter for a perfectly undone aesthetic. It dresses up the exposed beams and the painted brick wall without looking overly formal. Plus, Fenimore warns that mustard yellow can look a bit muddy if it's paired with other moody neutrals, so using it in a bright-white space is a good way to avoid that mistake.

Do you have any tips on how to design with mustard yellow? Share your decorating tips with us in the comments below.

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