By Hebe Hatton
Classic, contemporary and complementary, grey and yellow living room ideas have been a design duo for decades. As much as we all love grey, there's no denying it's cool undertones, which can sometimes leave rooms feeling cold and stark hence why mixing in the warmer tones of yellows has become such a popular combination. Whether it's a feature wall of soft ochre or just a pop of pale lemon in a throw cushion, these sunny shades give a grey backdrop a lift, balancing out those cooler shades.
'Being a neutral grey can work with pretty much any color. The combination of brighter colors such a yellow instantly creates something cheerful yet soothing. Using a printed wallpaper is one of the easiest ways to use these colors together, as the complementary shades are already selected. Something like the delicate Feathergrass in Ammonite and Dayroom Yellow brings a room right back to nature - a perfect hideaway for reading and relaxing. If you prefer to use these colors in smaller doses, use grey on the walls as the prominent color and yellow on woodwork and trims.' explains Charlotte Cosby, Farrow & Ball Head of Creative.
And it's a really versatile combination too that you can make as bold or as subtle as you like. Pair the deepest of greys with bold yellows to up the contrast, or for a softer, more rustic vibe that almost looks completely neutral, bring together soft light greys with muted yellows. And there are plenty of combinations in between, so whatever your style of living room a grey and yellow colors scheme is sure to work beautifully...
1. Add ochre accents to a cool-toned room
This fabulously opulent grey living room this the perfect example of how injecting a touch of yellow can really balance out a cool-toned color palette, adding warmth and depth. In an elegant room like this one, with lofty ceilings and plenty of space you want to pick a scheme that's going to make the room feel cozier and inviting despite its large proportions and the splash of warm yellow in the velvet chairs does just that without taking attention away from the overall smokey grey vibe.
2. Switch up accessories for a pop of yellow
All grey living rooms are a classic, and they are such because they have longevity. Opt for grey walls and grey living room furniture and you won't need to decorate for years to come. What you can however do is make small switches to update the room, making it feel different without having to do anything major.
So if you want to test out a yellow and grey scheme just bring in some small yellow accents in the form of cushions, throws, rugs or lighting. And it doesn't take a lot to create the palette, see here how just a vibrant yellow throw lifts this neutral space.
3. Team dark charcoal with bold yellows
For a really dramatic look go for high contrast – the darkest of grey walls with a strong bold yellow. It's a brave combination but in the right space, it can really work, particularly in small living rooms as darker walls can actually blur the boundaries of the room and trick the eye into thinking the space is bigger.
Tone down the contrast by bringing in a clean white on the ceilings or woodwork and soften the room with plenty of textures. As you can see in this yellow and grey living room, despite the dramatic shades it feels fresh and light, and livable.
4. Lift a dark room
In a north-facing grey living room, or one that lacks natural light, a pop of yellow can work wonders. It turns cool drab shades into warm, inviting ones and rather than feeling stark, a soft warm yellow can make a dark grey living room cocooning.
In dark living rooms like this one, lean into the lack of light and embrace the coziness by adding plenty of soft furnishing like cushions, throws and a large area rug.
Or go bold and opt for seating in sunshine yellow to provide a boost of serotonin in a dark room. You'll find plenty of seating options in all shades of upholstery from lemon yellow to mustard ochre in our guide to the best sofas of the year.
5. Keep it fresh and light
Greys and yellows don't always have to create bold color schemes, in their palest forms, these shades can almost create a neutral living room that feels just as tranquil and calm as a white or cream space.
Here warm pale grey walls are paired with the soft lemon of the ottoman. The deep grey of the couch from those pops of pink and yellow stop the scheme become too gentle, giving this very diluted color palette depth and grounding. Definitely a beautiful living room color scheme to test out.
6. Make a statement with modern yellow furniture
Who can resist a Ligne Roset chair? And in mustard yellow? Yes please. And despite the statement color, there's something about the slouchy, laid-back design that makes them less... statement. The pale grey walls and minimal decor help with the relaxed vibe too, so if you do opt for statement pieces in punchy yellow shades just be sure to keep the rest of the room quite paired back and let the furniture be the focal point.
7. Add a pop of neon
Neon yellow is not ever a color we thought we would be recommending you bring into your living rooms, but as this space proves it can totally work in small measures. All the soft pastels and pale blue-toned greys going on in this living room need something to make them pop, and the neon yellow door frame does just think.
Try out this grey and yellow living room idea by painting your woodwork in a vibrant yellow. Even just the skirting boards would be enough to make a statement.
8. Blend in richer tones
A lovely way to tone down the contrast between grey and yellow is to bring in some richer, warmer shades like browns, oranges and terracotta tones. In the living room of this colorful London townhouse the blues, yellows and greys are softened with the deep oranges of the furniture and cushions and the rug, which contains all of these shades, ties the palette together perfectly.
9. Throw down a yellow rug
Simple. Add a yellow rug to a grey living room and instantly you have started a new color palette. Having the majority of the yellow tones on the floor means you get all that warmth and vibrancy we've talked about but it doesn't overwhelm the neutral feel going on in the rest of the space. You could then bring just a few accents of yellow into the rest of the room as can be seen here with the single cushion and artwork. Subtle but effective.
10. Pair a grey sofa with yellow walls
Don't be afraid to make yellow the dominant shade, be bold and go over all walls with a deep mustard yellow. As this yellow living room proves, it's actually a really liveable color, especially when paired with white and of course grey. It feels fresh and modern as well as lovely and warming.
Do grey and yellow go together in a living room?
Yes, grey and yellow work well together in a living room as grey can tone down the vibrancy of yellows, and yellows can give cool-toned greys a lift. The key is to pick the right shades to pair together to achieve the look you are after. For example, if you have a blue tone cool grey that you want to add warmth too, try a deep mustard tone that will add the warmth but also some contrast too. For a softer look, bring together light, warm greys with pale lemon yellows and for something really brave go for a dark charcoal with a vivid sunny shade.
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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