×

What Paint Colors Match a Yellow Sofa?

The yellow sofa won't look like the yellow submarine in your living room if you select a paint color to "frame" it as a focal point.

Intrepid interior designers aren't fazed by a banana-yellow sofa or a divan that looks divine in lush lemon. But it takes some decor chops as well as chutzpah to pull off a yellow sofa -- you have to match the wall paint to it somehow to show the showpiece to advantage. Look to color theory for some help to make an impulse purchase or a flight of fancy look intentional.

Blue Compliments

Blue and Yellow Combos

  • Try powder-blue walls with a sunflower-yellow sofa to create the ambiance of an afternoon in the garden. 
  • Mix a dusky teal-blue on the walls with a mustard-yellow sofa for muted sophistication.

Give your yellow sofa a case of the blues for dynamic contrast that doesn't clash. Blue is the complement to yellow -- its exact opposite on the color wheel. The two colors are starkly different, but they harmonize in a cool-warm balance that is both inviting and invigorating.

Dependable With Yellow

Gray and Yellow Combos

  • Light to medium gray walls highlight the yellow couch like a ray of sun breaking through storm clouds. 
  • Go as dark as soft pewter or as light as a drift of smoke; the bold primary can stand up to the gray, even when the yellow linen sofa is pale as cornsilk.  

Tip

Always choose flat paint finish with gray, so your walls don't look like shiny metal or glossy cheap plastic.

Black and white go with everything and they are sharp against yellow. But a wall of black is constant drama, and white can be clinical. Ease that buttery velvet sofa into the room against a mix of black and white, including grays.

Butter and Cream

Cream and Yellow Combos

  • Mix Chinese elm wood antiques with cinnabar embroidered silk accents in an Asian living room. * Get some weathered barn wood, rusty weathervanes and barn red accents going in a rustic room. * Whip up something smooth and contemporary with a green and cream patterned rug and large, potted green plants, such as a stand of slender bamboo, an overgrown Boston fern or a stand of pots filled with succulents.

Tip

Green is analogous to yellow -- next to it on the color wheel -- and the two colors are visually harmonious and soothing.

Combine two of the smoothest colors in nature for a delectable living room with a standout yellow couch. Cream walls and trim put the icing on your buttery sofa, leaving an impression of lush and rich, and opening the door to a variety of decor styles.

About the Author

Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .