We’re all suffering from a lack of sunshine. And while there’s no magic wand to change the murky outlook, you can set the forecast to ‘sunny’ by embracing the brightest trend on the decor horizon - yellow.
Warm, golden sandy tones, reminiscent of sun-drenched beaches, through to vibrant canary shades can’t fail to banish the gloom and bring light and cheer to dull rooms.
“After a prolonged period of cold, wintry weather, no other colour brings such an instant injection of warmth and sun to the home than carefully chosen shades of yellow,” says Rishi Subeathar, founder of eico, the environmentally-friendly paint specialists.
If you’re wedded to neutrals and even the thought of yellow has you wincing and reaching for your sunglasses (a Crown Paints survey found 35% of us are scared of using any kind of colour in our homes), it could be time to overturn your colour prejudice.
“It’s true that yellow needs to be used with care so that it doesn’t overwhelm, or look as though you’ve covered a room in custard!” acknowledges Subeathar.
“But all its shades are mood-enhancing, from sunflower brights to softer buttery pastels.
“There’s a yellow shade to suit most discerning tastes and interiors.”
Yellows can be the perfect solution for dark hallways or small, light-deprived rooms, says Rebecca Thompson, colour and design manager for Dulux.
“Yellow, known for its optimism, has always been a popular shade and is associated with being clear, bright and uplifting,” she says.
“It reflects warmth, is said to encourage inspiration and expression, and is the perfect shade to energise while still being sophisticated.”
So follow the experts’ advice on using the power of yellow to create sunny rooms in your home.
Making a statement in a room with a splash of yellow is one of the easiest ways to create a chic, modern setting.
“Paint a feature wall in a bold, bright citrus and then balance its intensity by using grey-based neutrals or subtle whites on the other walls,” suggests Subeathar.
“If that’s too daring for your taste, simply use a deep yellow shade for alcoves to conjure depth and richness.”
Alternatively, welcome spring and make an impact with a Daffodil wall mural, £79-£199, Digetex Home.
It features giant yellow blooms on a white background, and a blind in the same design starts from £119.
Once you’ve taken the colour plunge and established a zingy yellow backdrop, you could go one step further and pull the look together with furniture and accessories in complementary shades.
Sunshine buys: Eico’s paint collection features vivid yellow shades including Miro, Haldi and Lemon, starting from £13.75 per litre.
If you’re a fan of wallpaper, Next’s Ochre and Natural check wallpaper, £15 a roll, in pale yellow and grey is both subtle and stylish.
For a seating show-stopper look no further than Ikea’s Stockholm swivel chair, £250, in a canary yellow Sandbacka shade (available in stores and online from April 1).
Marks & Spencer’s Emmett loveseat in Kingsley lime, £399, is just as striking.
Banish winter blues with Next accessories: an Ochre Felt sunflower cushion, £15, a ‘Good Day Sunshine’ cushion, £14, and ‘Smile’ decoration - a yellow-painted wooden word on a plinth, £10. Add a finishing touch on a wall with a ‘Fill Me With Sunshine’ art print, £49.95, Iapetus.
Traditional settings benefit from more subtle yellow tones - from sand through to gold - which add warmth and elegance.
“Soft buttery yellows are more in sympathy with the decor style of a period or country home and will conjure a restful and peaceful atmosphere set against ivory, beige or dark wood furnishings,” says Subeathar.
“If you have existing soft furnishings, blinds or curtains in yellow, use these as the basis on which to choose your paint shade, so that they complement each other and really pull the room together.”
Consider your shade choice carefully, he advises, as yellow can change in varying lights.
“Use a tester pot and paint a piece of board and display it in different areas in a room, and study it at different times of the day.
“Yellows when applied can often seem brighter than they seem in the paint tin.”
Sunshine buys: A pale primrose could suit a traditional room, and Dulux has a Wild Primrose which teams well with Malt Chocolate or Absolute White, in its Dulux Paint Mixing range, £14.89 a litre.
There’s a definite Downton-style period charm about the Arthouse Vintage Fleurette Wallpaper, £17.98, B&Q, available in yellow.
Laura Ashley, a byword for country house style, has a yellow floral Hydrangea range featuring Hydrangea camomile wallpaper, £25.20 a roll, and a matching silk fabric, from £31.50 per metre.
Well-dressed windows always impress and Clarke & Clarke’s Venetian Silks, from £58 a metre, come in burnished yellows and golds.
Turning up the heat indoors needn’t mean altering the thermostat - simply add touches of punchy yellow to inject some sizzling energy throughout the house.
“Yellow can cover a wide range of shades from soft yellow and creams through to bright and bold daffodil or sunflower tones and the sharp acid yellows, and all will have impact,” says Lee Clarke, head designer at Clarke & Clarke.
“The shades work particularly well in kitchens and breakfast rooms, especially those sunflower shades.
“Yellow can be paired with black monochromes or bold purples for a more dramatic statement in a bedroom.”
Sunshine buys: Shutters transform a room, especially if they’re painted in a bold shade. The California Company has Privacy Slat Shutters available in a range of colours, from £186.06 per square metre.
Jazz up a kitchen with a set of Pantone mugs in custard yellow, £10 each, and an Eames House of Cards birchwood Numbers Tray, £30, Whitbread Wilkinson.
Bright lightshades can instantly change the atmosphere of a room, and Bizz Egg Lanterns in Yellow & White, £49, Gong, have a sunny glow.
Yellow is the ideal background for colourful floral patterns, and a Butterfly Blurr Cushion, £85, Rume, is stunning.
If you can afford to splurge, a Delphine Harlequin Loren Chair, £695, Alexander & Pearl, is a beauty.