How to Decorate With Mustard Yellow

two yellow sofas facing each other

Design: Alexandra Kaehler / Photo: Aimeee Mazzenga

Looking to add a dose of happiness to your home? Go ahead and decorate with mustard yellow! "I love using mustard yellow because it adds brightness and interest to a space without feeling like you’re staring at the sun," Maria Wu, of Studio Wu, says. Below, interior designers weigh in with tips on how to introduce mustard yellow into your space and share suggestions for colors to pair it with for maximum style.

mustard yellow ottoman

Jackson Warren Interiors

Using Mustard Yellow With Neutrals

Because mustard yellow can truly make such an impact in a space, you may wish to keep other colors to a minimum in order to truly let this hue be the star of the show and achieve its desired effect. “Introducing a pop of mustard is a playful, yet sophisticated twist in an otherwise neutral color scheme," Aileen Warren, of Jackson Warren Interiors, says.

Alexandra Kaehler, who designed the room shown here, shares similar sentiments. "The nice thing about this color is that is warm and cozy, but also chic and unexpected," she says. "We want the sofas to be the main 'wow moment' in this space, as it’s the first thing you see when you walk in."

yellow sofa in living room

Design: Alexandra Kaehler / Photo: Aimée Mazzenga

Megan Dufresne of MC Design introduced a mustard yellow rug into a mod living room. "For something this large in mustard yellow, I recommend pairing with neutrals as a base, and then accenting it with complementary colors like dark blues, rust tones, taupes, or jewel tones like emerald green," she says.

mustard yellow rug

MC Design

Pairing Mustard Yellow With Brighter Colors

That said, there are many other hues that mustard yellow pairs well with—it all depends on the look you desire to achieve. "Mustard yellows tend to have brown tones of varying degrees so it does double duty of acting like a neutral as well as a pop of color, allowing it to blend and/or stand out amongst other colors," Wu notes.

Mustard yellow can be styled so that it leans moody or more vibrant. "For an earthy furniture palette, mix mustard yellow with moss green and deep walnut wood tone," Robbie Maynard, of Robbie Interiors, suggests. Crave brighter colors? "Mustard yellow can be used with teal blue and crimson red to create a fun and whimsical color palette in a family room," the designer adds. Sharon Sherman of Thyme & Place Design also likes the idea of decorating with a mix of mustard yellow, blue, and red. "Mustard conjures many shades from nature but for me resembles the petals of sunflowers," she says. "I would pair this with a deep rich blue like Benjamin Moore Hale Navy or a spicy red like Caliente Red. For a calmer color scheme, you can add a lovely green."

mustard yellow pillows on white sofa with blue walls

Erin Williamson Design

Opt for Mustard Colored Soft Goods

Designers are more inclined to use mustard yellow furnishings in a room as opposed to painting a wall that color. "Mustard is best incorporated into a room in upholstery or soft goods and can be used successfully as an accent color or the main color in the room," Naomi Rigas, of Envy Interior Design Studio, says. "Pair it with complimentary colors like navy, teal, or green, and medium to dark wood tones or white painted furniture," she adds.

Keyanna Bowen, of East + Lane, also prefers to include smaller doses of the color throughout the spaces she designs. "If cladding your walls in this invigorating color feels too overpowering, using pops of mustard yellow in smaller doses like painting a piece of furniture, artwork, or even something as simple as a throw blanket, can still add so much charm and cheer to a space," she says.

If you do wish to paint one of the rooms in your home mustard yellow, the powder room can be a great place to start. "Painting a powder room mustard yellow and including the ceiling and trim would make a statement," Lexi Brandfon, of Lex & Hudson Interiors, says. "Including art with similarly warm tones or even art that just has the background in mustard or gold would be so inviting and cool."

Additionally, keep in mind that mustard yellow can make for a wonderful exterior paint color. As Bowen states, "Nothing says 'welcome home,' quite like a marigold-hued front door.