An Ode to the Color of Hope, Spring, and The New Year

Clockwise from left: Designer Kelee Katillac relied on yellow Schumacher velvet for the drapes in the gentleman’s drawing room of the Henry Blosser House (photo by Aaron Leimkuehler). Highland House Madeline chair covered in yellow upholstery. The Retro Rainbow pillow is from Ampersand Design Studio. 

While I don’t use much yellow in my home, I feel enthused by the bright, cheery yellow that trend forecaster Pantone chose as its color of 2021.

After all, yellow is the color of sunshine, smiley faces and hope. Proof positive: the vibrant yellow coat 22-year-old poet laureate Amanda Gorman wore for the inauguration.

Each spring, the first flowering plants to punctuate the beginning of the new season like exclamation marks are the yellow blooms of forsythia and daffodils. (BTW, spring is officially here later this month!) The hue is the charge of energy we all need after the slog of winter.

Yellow, to me, also brings the feeling of comfort and coziness. My grandma, who cooked meals so delicious that they rivaled my favorite restaurants, decorated her light-filled kitchen with yellow metal cabinets that kept food fresh like a sealed breadbox. “Yella,” she fittingly called the color, and the dishes she served lunches on were yellow, brown, and white plaid Vernonware “Organdie”—a simple, soothing, and charming midcentury pattern.

This happy shade is indeed making its appearance in upholstery fabric, wallcoverings, and accessories, confirm designers who traveled to recent markets.

Actually, Pantone chose two colors as a pair to represent this year: “Ultimate Grey” and yellow “Illuminating,” representing light at the end of the tunnel. How fitting.

How to Add a little ‘yella’

  • An accent chair
  • A bowl of lemons
  • A vase of tulips
  • Throw pillows
  • Table linens