The psychology of colour series: Yellow


‘How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.’ – Vincent Van Gogh

Here at The Cotton Poet, we just love our fresh, bright white bed linen. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not big fans of colour, too. After all, what happens when you shine white light through a prism? You get a lovely, vibrant rainbow, of course!

Of all the colours in nature’s delicious palette, we think yellow is perhaps the brightest and most cheerful of them all – bringing warm feelings of happiness that remind us of the onset of spring and summer. There are so many playful ways we can harness this energy in our homes, and make them feel like a calm and welcoming sanctuary for ourselves and guests.

A delicate primrose or daffodil yellow provides a warm welcome to a kitchen, filling a surface or windowsill with delectable tones. Borrow this directly from nature and dot around some flower-filled vases, or garnish your walls with artwork to the same effect.

While soft yellows promote calm and zen, splashing more intense versions of the sunshine shade around can make bold, confident, and impactful statements - whether you adopt that in your house, or in what you wear. Mustard is a fabulous example – rich and bold, you can almost taste it! I do love throwing on a pair of mustard trainers with an otherwise neutral outfit, just to add a little hit of spice and intrigue.

A word of caution – used in the wrong context, or as abundantly as New York taxi cabs, and yellow can come across as bolshie and aggressive. After all, it is also one of nature’s warning colours. Unless you’re feeling super adventurous, or simply can’t get enough of big, brash, bright, block colours – we think yellow, for all of its warmth and happiness, is a colour best used as an accompaniment. In other words, let flowers, ornaments, and small furnishings do the talking.

Despite this, we’re still in love with mellow yellow – whether that’s in a refreshing glass of freshly squeezed orange juice in the morning, a jug of daffodils in full-bloom, or the golden piping of one of our very own pieces of bed linen – it’s a colour that holds a dear place in our hearts.