Why it might be okay to be yellow

Posted by Autumn

Recently, I was helping a friend pick out the color for his bathroom. I assume I was asked my opinion because I just happened to be around, because I’m not exactly known for my home decorating skills. More for Jumble and Scrabble skills—oh yeah.

Dark blue made the bathroom feel small and confined. Crimson red, a rich gorgeous hue on the Pantone chip when we looked at it in the living room, didn’t look right in the bathroom lighting. (See how I casually slipped in the importance of proper lighting for color accuracy? Yeah, I’m subtle like that.)

We both quickly dismissed the green palette, and all of the yellows.

I don’t know why, but I don’t like yellow for a bathroom, he said.

I can’t stand yellow, I said. It makes everything look sickly.

We finally narrowed it down to four different shades of pewter. Who knew there were four different shades of pewter?! The whole experience got me thinking about color, and how color affects our mood. Do most men prefer blue because it is the color attributed to them from the time they are born, or is the color assigned to little boys because men have always favored blue? Why is it that every time I’ve gone to a job interview I’ve worn a red blouse or a red skirt? Is it only because I think red looks nice with my skin, or am I hoping that the interviewer will respond to the color and view me as a determined, powerful candidate.

Some ancient cultures believed each color held certain properties—yellow was thought to stimulate nerves and cleanse the body, for example. Studies show that certain colors do impact a person’s mood, even if the effect is only temporary. You will likely never see a red hospital waiting room, because red tends to make people feel more forceful, aka impatient.

Before you ditch all the yellow in your home—keep reading! Color theory is subjective, and varies from culture to culture. Western cultures often regard white as the color of innocence and purity, but many Eastern cultures view it as the color of mourning. The color/mood connection is also deeply personal. Maybe yellow makes me feel sick because once when I was little I got very ill in my grandmother’s bathroom—which was painted a jaundiced, mustardy yellow. Or maybe I just don’t like yellow.

I actually have no idea if I ever got really sick in my grandmother’s bathroom. I do remember it was a horrid shade of yellow.

Just to make things even more confusing, sometimes a color gets seemingly opposing emotions tacked onto it. Yellow, which you might have guessed is one of my least favorite colors, is both the color of hope and the color of cowards. And while I can’t stand yellow on the walls or in my wardrobe, I admit I get choked up when I see a yellow ribbon tied around a tree in my neighborhood.

So, what does it mean to have a gray bathroom? Maybe it means my friend is anxious or depressed—the emotions most often associated with gray. Or maybe it just means that pewter goes nicely with the tile. Sometimes gray is just a color. I guess the same could be said for yellow...but you're still not going to catch me wearing it.

How do you decide what colors will decorate your life? What colors are your favorite?


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  • Joni 12 years 65 days ago
    Stands back from the keyboard in aamezemnt! Thanks!
  • google 12 years 105 days ago
    I liked your article is an interesting technology
    thanks to google I found you