ask the experts4 min read

Color explained: everything you need to know about yellow paint

Dining room scene with Lick Yellow 02 paint

WordsFrankie Marqueé


Why wait for the sun to come out tomorrow when you can have it beaming every day of the week with a lick of  yellow paint? With two sunny-side-up shades in the Lick palette – one custard cream and the other more golden  syrup in vibe – there’s method in making sure you’re picking the right one to suit your room. So rather than  tossing the coin and hoping for the best, here’s how to get shade savvy… 

Let’s talk undertones 

If you noticed our description of our warm Yellow 02 paint with its reddish undertones and are wondering what the heck are we  talking about, let’s break it down.  

Colors are made up of a very precise recipe, and one of the main ingredients is the undertone – the  underlying color that’s mixed in and that helps to define its character. A warm base, for example, will tip a yellow into warm territory whereas a grey base will add softness, for sure, but it’ll also transform a yellow into a  cool cat.  

Pay attention to them, because they’re key to establishing the whole tone of your room and your color’s  temperature. Want things cosy? Look for those reds. Want something classic and country? Creamy, yellow  undertones become your bestie. Rather play it cool and contemporary? Blues and greys, come on down. 

Drop a tint. Throw some shade

So you’ve got your undertone sorted, now you’ll want to pay attention to how much tint and shade your color’s working – tint being how much light white is stirred through and shade being the dark side and black pigment to deepen things.

Yellow 01 is fresh as a daisy with lots of tint in the mix, whereas Yellow 02 has, without doubt, a dollop of black poured in so give it hidden depths.

Color compatibility and room direction

Temperature, tint and shade are your first few pieces of the puzzle, but the next part can be a bit of a stumbling block for many – not for much longer though. The question of which direction does your room face has a lot to do with which colors complement it most.

If you don’t want to get bogged down in the detail, why not book a color consultation with any of our specialists – Tash, Sam and Vanessa? They’ll take you by the hand and guide you to the yellow that best suits your space. Or if you were part of the orienteering club at school, whip out your old friend the compass and discover which yellow will salute to your room’s direction with great honour.

North-facing rooms: warm, sun-boosting yellows

Cool blue light is what you’ll be dealing with in a northerly room, meaning to stop them feeling as cold as ice, you’ll want a room-cheering, warm yellow like Yellow 02. Yellow 01 would still look very lovely, but it’ll highlight its tint, making it seem like a paler, whiter yellow than it really is.

East-facing rooms: easygoing creamy yellows

A warm morning glow and cool evening light, that’s the story of an east-facing room. Yellow 01 is just perfect in settings such as this because its paler tendency (because of the aforementioned level of tint) and its creaminess giving you characteristics that work with both sides of the story.

West-facing rooms: yellows that relate to the time of day

East- and west-facing spots have the most changeable light, so you’re best bet is to go for a color that relates to both sides of the coin. Or, think about at what point of the day you’ll be using it most and play to its strengths that way. For example, if you’re painting your kitchen yellow and you spend most of your time there in the evening when the light is warm and sunny, you might want to neutralise it with a cooler yellow like Yellow 01.

South-facing rooms: all yellows welcome

Strong and clear natural light is what south-facing rooms benefit from and are considered the top of the pack. Why? Because they’re said to suit colors light and dark and with any undertone going on. Just bear in mind that if you pick our warmer Yellow 02, it’s going to feel even more golden in a southerly room – but that sounds like a pretty glorious thing if you ask us.