Paint your home any tint of yellow, and you've invited the sun to surround you. Like all colors, yellows change with the light. Historically, golden hues portray a regality that homeowners have always liked to project. Yellows in particular are highly adaptable, harmonizing well with brick and natural stone. Peek into the bedroom of Amherst poet Emily Dickinson, and you'll have to look past the golden bricks and green shuttered windows. What other colors go well with the variety of yellows available to the consumer?
White and gray are popular trim colors for houses painted pale yellow. Deeper yellow and gold colors work well with greens, browns, and dark reds. Inventive homeowners have even had success with blue highlights. The pictures in this gallery suggest ways you can use yellow and gold colors in your house painting project. Explore the possibilities for a touch of butterscotch on your own home's exterior.
01 of 11
Bright Yellow Victorian
Historic homes — especially, it seems, from the Victorian era — are often sided with bright yellow colors. A cheerful red door might add a welcoming touch to a traditionally unornamented Cape Cod home, but large Victorian homes with industrial-strength decorations must be more careful.
Peaks of Victorian-era gables were often decorated, with angular spaces hidden by latticework called gable pediments or gable brackets. Porches with posts broke up large areas of siding, so a strong yellow color could be used. A house designed to be more fanciful than a traditional Colonial home should not point out its ornamentation with bright colors — brilliant white is often the first of two complementing colors.
Be sure to check out some of the free online tools to help you choose your house paint colors. Remember that computer monitors aren't precise in the way they display colors, so always try a sample of the paint in a small area before purchasing a large quantity.
02 of 11
Yellow Mustard Colonial Farmhouse
Do you recognize this house? The Piazza side of Arrowhead, the Herman Melville House in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, shows off its deep yellow mustard color.
This 18th century farmhouse nestled in the Berkshire mountains inspired American writer Herman Melville during one of his most productive periods, from 1850 to 1862 and the writing of Moby Dick. One can only guess at the house color during his ownership. Likely, because of Melville's limited income, the rambling house would have been painted white, or perhaps in "writerly disrepair."
Now a museum, Arrowhead has been commercially restored with a vibrant, deep yellow color — a hue that might stop any bypassing tourist on this country road in western Massachusetts.
03 of 11
Yellow With Green
Olive green is a natural complement for the yellow-green-colored siding on this bungalow home. Shades of green are very popular complements to yellow-sided homes. Perhaps it's because warm colors and cool colors are being brought together. The owners of this bungalow borrowed subdued natural colors from the environment. Other bungalow owners have created great color combinations directly from their environment of garden colors.
Yellow, with all of its different hues, is a wonderful siding color for experimentation. Unexpected color combinations often work just fine with various shades of yellow. Yellow and green often work well, but the shades of both the yellow and green can provide wildly different results.
Names for yellow and gold tones can also be surprising. Encourage your neighbor when he experiments with what he calls "banana" and "peanut butter" colors on his home. Some people are hungry for color.
04 of 11
Yellows and Reds
This house in Australia turns dramatic when painted a creamy yellow tinted with tones of brown and green. Accents are as mysterious, with hints of red and brown. The bay windows become natural architectural ornamentation. Painting the window sashes and the eaves a dark (but not too dark) color introduces drama and a sense of regality. The painted iron fencing also adds impact and continuity in this curious color scheme.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
05 of 11
Stucco Cream with Tile Roof
Spanish Colonial styles are usually conservative, using earthen shades of coffee cream colors to offset the traditional red tile roof.
The paint colors you choose may be drawn from history, but also picked to complement a pronounced roof. Color experts will tell you that the palette is the specific colors you choose, but the color schemes come from the color wheel. Most paint manufacturers have created their own paint color charts and palettes.
Color experts can be very useful when thinking about how colors work inside or outside your home. A neutral color scheme doesn't always mean beige, writes one design consultant. A monochromatic color scheme of only one color can be made interesting by complementing it with tones, shades, and tints of that one color.
For the exterior of a home, a monochromatic color scheme works best with a colorful roof.
06 of 11
Pastel Art Deco Miami Beach
The Art Deco movement that began in the 1920s continues to define certain neighborhoods in the United States, especially in Miami Beach, Florida. The oceanside city perpetuates the Jazz Age with its pastel-colored stucco buildings. Much of the rounded, streamlined architecture is painted in shades of yellow, only to be ornamented with the blues and salmon pinks that define the era.
07 of 11
Yellow and Blue in Delray Beach
The contrast of warm yellows and cool blues creates an interest in this otherwise quiet home.
This small house in Delray Beach, Florida is painted with an approach similar to the architecture further down the coast in Miami Beach — yellow siding, a light, pale blue for the shutters, and reddish tones picked up in the walking path.
When colors are used to contrast with a dominant shade of yellow, a green or blue is often chosen. Hopefully the tone of the mix is chosen wisely.
08 of 11
Yellow and Blue in Racine
This yellow home in Racine, Wisconsin catches all of the sunlight it can. Contrasting blue is not only for yellow beach homes in southern Florida. Does this Carolina Blue work on Wisconsin windows and brackets? It's a playful experiment of contrasts in a cold, snowy climate. Maybe the owners are alumni from Chapel Hill.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
09 of 11
Pale Yellow, Pale Blue
All homes have windows and roofs. What colors do you choose, or have they been chosen for you? Then, decide what color yellow may complement what is already there.
Choosing exterior house colors is a complex process. But remember — paint colors are not in stone. Live with your choices, and then, if you're feeling something is not right, you can always change it. Choosing yellow siding will allow many options.
Harmonize the elements of your home, big or small, and you may feel better about all things.
10 of 11
Salem Yellow, Dark Mansard
A New England "mustard" yellow was once the height of popularity, but even the locals in Salem, Massachusetts have turned a bit pale. The paint colors you choose should be drawn from history and also selected to complement a pronounced roof, like the Mansard roof on this lovely Second Empire home.
When you move into a very historic town like Salem, brush up on your history. Learn more about Historic Second Empire Architecture.
11 of 11