“This was a peachy-toned oak ‘family room’ that read more like a second-tier hotel lobby,” designer Nick Olsen says. “I convinced the owners to paint over all of it — walls, wainscoting, beams, andfireplace mantel — in this taxicab yellow. It instantly became the warmest room in the apartment!”
Though the finest of fine metals, gold is just an organic material mined from the earth. As such, metallic gold is a good choice for brightening neutral, nature-inspired color schemes. The trick is to pair metallic gold with warm, deep-tone neutrals, such as charcoal or slate gray, chocolate and coffee browns, dark sage and olive greens, and deep tan and beige. White works, as well, but it may create a too-cool contrast when paired with metallic gold. A better choice is off-white warmed with red, brown, or gray undertones, such as chamois, ivory, or ash white. Since your complementary color options are many and metallic gold colors vary in tone, take your favorite gilded accessories with when you shop to help you choose picture-perfect color companions.
A sunny shade of yellow adds to the charmingly retro feel of this Chicago kitchen.
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“It’s the color of afternoon light — that end-of-the-day moment when it feels warm and mellow and everything has a glow. I’m thinking some beautiful house on the Mediterranean, and we’re sitting outside and eating figs with a bottle of white wine.” — Sara Bengur
The latest trend in jewelry and fashion comes to home fashion and is easy to DIY.
“I’m looking at yellow now in a different way. To me, it’s classic American decorating, but I’m rethinking it for a modern context. It looks great with blue and white, which is how it was traditionally used. But try it with a red-and-white toile, a black-and-white check, a tartan plaid, or a floral chintz, which I am seriously into again.” —Anthony Baratta
Since gold naturally casts a warm glow, consider pairing it with hot-temp colors that neighbor it on the color wheel. Metallic gold makes a fantastic partner for all shades of reds, rusty oranges, and red-tone yellows, especially in rooms with formal features or global leanings. Think of golden silk pillows popping off a ruby red bedspread or metallic gold shelves advancing into view when placed against terracotta walls. In this bedroom, metallic gold-papered walls showcase intensely hued coral draperies and accent fabrics, while an off-white duvet and beige upholstered headboard provide calming counterweights to the glitzy wall covering.
“I’m attracted to warm colors that kind of wrap their arms around you. This is like candlelight, with a wonderful golden glow. I’ll put layers of glaze over it so it’s as rich in daytime as it is at night.” —William Eubanks
Metallic gold accessories, gilded furnishings, gold-threaded fabrics, and shiny brass accents introduce a sense of luxury and drama to room designs. Happily, metallic gold tones, which fall on the warm side of the color wheel, have a place in most color palettes. They work especially well when set against deep-tone backdrops and when partnered with saturated sunset hues, rich jewel tones, and shadowy neutrals that allow their sparkle to really shine. Pay attention to the gold’s tonal quality when using metallic shades in white-walled rooms or with pastel palettes; light gold accents may fade into the background. If you love pale rooms or if you like a casual, contemporary, or cottage look, opt for metallic gold and brass accents with tarnished patinas and chipped-paint finishes. The layers of wear give the pieces more visual weight, which lets them be seen, appreciated, and given the attention metallic gold deserves. Here’s a look at the colors that highlight gold’s precious-metal qualities.
Bright yellow walls brought a zesty energy to the kitchen of a North Carolina house by designer Lindsey Coral Harper.
Designers Jesse Carrier and Mara Miller took inspiration from the yellow backsplash when selecting the cheery wall color for a kitchen in a Naples, Florida, home.
“[An entryway] is one of those spaces that people go through quickly, so you can afford a higher level of drama. Often, there’s not natural light, so you need a heavily saturated color like this warm, yolky yellow. Get it in full gloss because the gloss gives it depth, and it’s much simpler to apply than glazing.” — Christopher Drake
Look across the color wheel for contrasting blue-tone hues that you can use to enhance metallic gold’s presence in traditional and transitional room designs. Go over-the-top opulent by pairing navy-blue or royal purple paints or fabrics with gilded antique frames or furnishings. Or, do like the owner of this bedroom did. Soften the contrast by mixing metallic gold finishes with gray-tone lavender furniture finishes and red-tinted violet walls to create high-interest, serene spaces. When you’re checking out the cool side of the color wheel, you’ll also find a number of jewel tones, including turquoise, emerald green, cobalt, and sapphire blues, that make lush companions for metallic gold.
“In a guest room that seems a little staid, paint the bed. This is a Ming yellow like you see in Chinese silk robes, with a little lemon and mustard in it, which gives it more dimension.” — Kim Alexandriuk
In the Palm Beach, Florida home of Liza Pulitzer Calhoun, colors were chose with care and thought. The dining room walls are painted mustard yellow “because yellow goes so well with candlelight,” Calhoun says.
“It’s hard to get yellow right — usually it’s too green or too red or too muddy. But this is nice and clear, without being shrill. If it’s too vivid, it’s like living in an omelet.” — John Yunis
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“This is a medium-strength yellow, the color of fresh pineapple. People love it. It’s just a happy color. Try it in a living room or dining room with a pale blue ceiling and white woodwork. It’s like sunshine. Everything looks good against it — blue-and-white porcelain, a floral chintz.” — Mario Buatta
“One of my favorite spots in Florence is sitting on the balcony of the Lungarno Hotel — all those shades of sun-drenched yellow. It’s a color you see in every Italian town; you wonder how they got it so right.” — Elissa Cullman
Designer Ann Pyne of McMillen Inc. chose a canary yellow palette for this Southampton, New York, house’s dining room.
If you’re looking to brighten up your home, you’re in the right place. We’re sharing our favorite shades of yellow, plus designer tips on how to decorate around each hue to really make it shine.
Pale yellow-glazed walls add a touch of elegant color in a living room by Christopher Maya.
A custom shade of yellow adds warmth and light in a Santa Fe, New Mexico, kitchen by Judith Espinar, Jim Deville, and Scott Robey.