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Interior Designers In New Orleans: Butter Yellow Is the Soft Shade Your Home Needs for Fall

Better Homes & Gardens: Reed & Acanthus and other top designers share the best ways to add buttery yellow shades to your home.

buttery yellow paint

Known for its warm tone, buttery shades of yellow add instant cheer and a sense of comfort to any space, while easily complementing other hues. An inviting neutral that sits between pale yellow and creamy off-white, it can be used in both traditional and modern designs. “It’s a soft shade reminiscent of the creamy fillings found in French pastries,” says Lisa Tharp, founder and principal of Lisa Tharp Design. Ahead, top designers answer your questions when it comes to working this soft neutral into your home. Why Butter Yellow Colors Are Trending Today Over the past few years, designers have started shifting from cooler to warmer shades, including butter yellow. “It evokes a sense of simpler times and sunnier days,” says Sarah Fishburne, director of trend and design at The Home Depot. “And brings about feelings of comfort and familiarity while offering a subdued and sophisticated way to incorporate positivity and energy into an interior space.” Hannah Yeo, color marketing & development manager at Benjamin Moore, says it also has to do with "our yearning for a sense of nostalgia as we live in an ever-changing world—whether that’s suggestive of the buttery yellow kitchen from your childhood or a favorite sundress you used to wear. Also, in a world of eye-catching color and visual dominance, particularly on social media, there’s no better shade than yellow to capture your attention.” “We’re spending a lot more time in our homes and comfort is what people are leaning towards,” adds Tina Ramchandani, founder and principal interior designer at Tina Ramchandani Creative. “Butter yellow is not only calming, but it also gets mood-boosting points as studiesshow your body secretes more serotonin, the feel-good hormone, when exposed to the color in your home.” How to Choose a Shade of Butter Yellow "The best butter yellows are unobtrusive,” says Erin Myers, owner of Erin Myers Design. “For example, when they’re on the wall, you should feel enveloped by a sophisticated warmth that reads neutral. If you choose a color that screams, ‘I'm yellow!’, you run the risk of it looking like neon on the walls.” When picking a color, experts suggest leaning towards the golden beiges in a paint deck. “All paint colors get brighter on the wall, and this is especially true for yellow. To get that buttery tone and designer feel, look for a more muted yellow or wheat color,” says Myers. It’s no surprise Glidden has chosen Limitless, a buttery yellow, as its 2024 paint color of the year. “It’s a fresh, warm hue that has the power of a primary color and the essence of a modern neutral,” says Ashley McCollum, Glidden color expert. “It’s an energizing shade—strong enough to stand on its own yet equally as fierce as a supporting color.” Our experts offer up a few of their favorite buttery yellow paint colors:

  • Backdrop: Pablo Honey

  • Behr: Butter Yellow

  • Benjamin Moore: Niveous, Elephant Tusk, Pernod, Hawthorne Yellow, Weston Flax, Windham Cream

  • Clare: Lemonade

  • Farrow & Ball: Hay, Dayroom Yellow, Cream

  • Portola Paints: Yellow Queen

  • Sherwin-Williams: Lemon Chiffon, Butter Up

Can I Feature Butter Yellow in Any Room? Because it adds warmth, butter yellow works in pretty much any room of the house. “I typically use it in ancillary rooms, like guest bedrooms or nurseries,” says Ramchandani. “But it also looks great in kitchens, offices, bathrooms, living and dining rooms. It’s an easy way to add warmth to a space without fully jumping into the yellows.” Butter yellow works in any room due to its ability to infuse spaces with a touch of optimism, says Meyers. "After years of living through the gray and black and white period, we’re gravitating towards colors that have a combination of depth and mellowness." She notes a bathroom is a great place to add a dose of sunshine in the form of a rug, hand towels, art, or even fresh flowers. Studies also show yellow can increase your appetite, so consider using it in a kitchen. Stephanie Gamble, principal designer and CEO, Stephanie Gamble Interiors likes to use shades of butter yellow in kids’ rooms because it can carry through from the toddler to teenage years, while Patrick O’Donnell, an international brand ambassador for Farrow & Ball, loves to use it in a light-starved hallway. “It also looks beautiful in a sun-drenched bedroom where the color fades to a soft embrace,” he says. Design blogger Amber Guyton of Blessed Little Bungalow likes to use it as a primary color on walls in a gender-neutral nursery or in a kitchen. “It offers a cheerful yet warm backdrop,” she says. “You can incorporate it in a low-commitment way through fabrics on a breakfast nook bench, in seat cushions, or through artwork." Butter Yellow as an Accent vs. Primary Color If you’re feeling bold and love color, you can use buttery yellow as the main color in a space. “However, if you want to be playful yet not go overboard, using it as an accent color works just as well since yellow can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, even in a lighter version,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “Using it as an accent is a great way to get your feet wet—you’re basically adding color and warmth without fully investing," says Ramchandani. "You can feature it on things like pillows, trays, drapery and rugs.” When using yellow as an accent, highlight the area you want people to notice most, says Yeo. A built-in alcove, a gallery wall, or a repurposed piece of antique furniture are great places to start. “If you’re taking the plunge and using butter yellow as a primary color, I suggest painting all four walls, the ceiling, and trim to make the room feel unified,” says Emma Kemper, principal designer, Emma Beryl Interiors. This can have the effect of sunlight streaming into a room, says Tharp, who notes the color beautifully complements walls in deeper yellows and golds. "Just be sure to vary the sheen levels, with matte on walls and ceiling and semi-gloss on millwork.” Another way to incorporate buttery yellow as a primary color is through large pieces of furniture, such as an upholstered headboard or painted dresser. Colors That Pair with Butter Yellow Versatile buttery yellow can be matched with a wide range of shades to create various moods and aesthetics. “Consult a color wheel and remember opposites attract,” says Tess Twiehaus, founder of Tess Interiors. The accent color you match with butter yellow depends on the vibe you’re going for. “If it’s a more feminine and youthful look, pairing butter yellow with a soft baby pink can have a cute and pretty effect,” says Kemper. “If it’s a sophisticated feel you desire, a crisp white will make butter yellow feel clean and modern while allowing the hue to pop.” Buttery yellow warms up cool charcoal gray, creating a stylish ambience, and it adds sophistication when paired with any shade of blue. Match buttery yellow with other pastels like mint green, lavender, or blush pink to create a whimsical atmosphere, or combine it with coral or peach for a cheerful and inviting palette. Olive green promotes a nature-inspired feeling when paired with buttery yellow, while the warmth of chocolate brown creates a cozy atmosphere. Combine teal or turquoise with buttery yellow for a result that’s reminiscent of sunny skies and ocean waves, or pair it with black for a bold and contemporary aesthetic. Bright pink brings an unexpected pop of color, while white looks crisp and clean when paired with this golden hue. How to Make Shades of Butter Yellow Look Fresh Buttery yellow is already a fresh-looking color but including it in a space that needs brightening will create a more welcoming environment. “The color can look a bit dated if the furnishings or elements in the space are too traditional, so it’s important to balance your decor and lighting to give off both a transitional and modern vibe,” says Guyton. By combining the warmth of buttery yellow with contemporary design, you can create a space that feels updated and inviting. Meredith Owen, owner of Meredith Owen Interiors and Laura Brophy, principal and creative director at Laura Brophy Interiors, suggest pairing a modern wallpaper, curtain, or pillow pattern—such as a geometric print—with sleek, contemporary furnishings to give butter yellow a modern twist. “Incorporating natural textures like light woods and botanical elements can also invigorate the color,” says Marie Cloud, owner and principal designer Indigo Pruitt Design Studio. To keep things feeling fresh, Kemper likes to use a crisp white to offset the yellow’s warmth. “In a bedroom, this could be done through the use of white bedding, and in a kitchen, you could pair buttery cabinetry with white stone countertops or a white backsplash.” How to Work Butter Yellow into Your Home Design Use butter yellow in various accent pieces, such as pillows, blankets, wallpaper, artwork, and rugs. “Color can be daunting, so incorporating butter yellow throughout these types of accents can make things easier for the color adverse,” says Kemper. Wallpaper is another great way to add buttery yellow to your space, says Ariel Richardson, owner and principal designer at ASR Design Studio. “A fun floral or abstract butter yellow print in a powder room adds character to a small space. Hanging a buttery yellow wallpaper in an office will help spark creativity.” Because butter yellow draws in the eye, consider using it to highlight architectural features such as window mullions or door trim, says Bethany Adams, principal at Bethany Adams Interiors. Kitchen cabinets are another prime spot to feature the hue. "Its warmth pairs well with wood tones, whether you're pulling the wood in through the floors or furniture," says Twiehaus. "I like to lean into the warmth even further by sourcing brass hardware. You can also paint the inside of cabinets or drawers for some hidden sunshine if painting your exterior cabinets is not an option.” “You can also bring small spaces to life—like pantries, linen closets, powder rooms, and mudrooms with a buttery yellow hue,” says Guyton. How to Decorate with Butter Yellow Outdoors Buttery yellow adds a vintage charm to outdoor spaces. “There are a number of ways it can be featured outdoors—in furniture, patio umbrellas, planters, wreaths, outdoor rugs and pillows,” says Katharine Rhudy, an interior designer at Reed & Acanthus Interior Design. Or paint shutters or exterior doors for a warm welcome. “I love featuring this color in table linens for the ultimate garden party vibe,” says Kemper. “In a cozy lounge setting, I would bring it in through throw pillows and blankets draped over a chaise.” It's a classic hue that looks great with all-white outdoor furnishings, adds Adams. Does Butter Yellow Work Best with a Specific Style? Butter yellow’s adaptability allows it to shine in many environments, from cottage to coastal, midcentury to modern. “It’s one of those colors that transcends genres,” says Gamble. Kemper agrees the color isn't limited to one style. "If you live in a super modern condo, for example, you just have to plan where you use the color and make it intentional.” Where to Avoid Shades of Butter Yellow “There aren’t a lot of places I can think of that wouldn’t benefit from using butter yellow, as the color can be brought into pretty much any space depending on how you accessorize,” says Kemper. “But I probably wouldn’t purchase a large piece of furniture, like a butter yellow sectional couch, unless I absolutely loved the color.” “Due to the wear and tear of high-traffic areas like staircases, entrances, and hallways, butter yellow may not be the best choice for walls or runners,” says Rhudy. “I wouldn't paint the outside of a home in butter yellow because it’s too muted a shade for an entire exterior,” says Owen. “Better to stick with accents like shutters or doors if you want to incorporate a soft yellow on the outside of your home.”


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