Story: Sleek and Sophisticated Home | Image: Michael Graydon
The latest shade beloved by the trendy tribe is bolder and — dare we say —cooler than its predecessor.
When Pantone declares its Colour of the Year each year, it sets into a motion a trend that influences everything from décor and fashion to design of virtually every kind. The trends usually come and go, ready to be replaced by a new shade by the time the year is out. But some colours have more longevity than others. When Rose Quartz was declared Pantone’s Colour of the Year in 2016, it was warmly welcomed and by the summer of that same year, it was being called "Millennial Pink" for its appeal to that generation. Before you knew it, the colour was everywhere. Fast forward two years and it looks like a newer, bolder shade is hot on the heels of the pretty pink.
Called "Gen Z Yellow," this vibrant, sunny hue is on its way to being as ubiquitous as Millennial Pink once was and is being seen everywhere, from fashion runways and red carpets to interior design. But does this lively colour have staying power? We checked in with Maria Killam CEO and Founder of Understanding Undertones to get her thoughts.
Maria has been a fan of yellow for a long time so she’s thrilled to see it take centre stage. “I’m clearly biased when it comes to yellow, so I’m delighted the masses are with me right now,” she says. Take a look at her own home to see how beautifully the colour is integrated into her home.
“It’s a clear, bold optimistic colour. It’s the colour of pure energy and sunshine and it’s essentially straightforward," she says. "I can’t say if it’s fair to attach it to a particular generation, but if they are into these qualities, I’m on board. Yellow has been overshadowed by blues and pinks for a while now so it is bound to look fresh and new again.” According to Maria, this shade of yellow is warm and energizing. “It’s a clear uncomplicated colour that is all optimism and graphic confidence,” she says.
Whether this colour has longevity is yet to be seen but Maria thinks it does. “Colours come to the forefront of trends in a cyclical way,” she says. “Just like pink is here again, yellow will have at least a 10-year lifespan, which is the usual cycle of a trend versus a fad. I specified lots of yellow in the 90s so it has to come back around just like pink from the 80s. It’s always fun when my favourite colour is trending though because I can find it everywhere in fashion and decor.”
How to incorporate Gen Z Yellow into your home
1 Paint your walls beigey-yellow.
Gen Z Yellow is bright and bold but can add just the touch of happy your home might be lacking. How? “You can go for it and paint your walls (as long as you choose a slightly grayed down version of yellow and make sure it relates to your decor)," says Maria. If you decide to paint your walls yellow, Maria recommends looking for a shade that appears slightly more beige on the paint chip, like Sherwin Williams’ 6393 Convivial Yellow, which she says shows up as a clear, happy yellow painted wall to wall. “I recently added Benjamin Moore Marblehead Gold HC 11 to my curated collection of large paint samples that I sell on my shop page,” she says. “It’s a strong but sophisticated yellow for cabinetry, furniture or a front door.”
2 Opt for a big-ticket item in the sunshiney hue.
"You can use it as a bold accent,” suggests Maria. “My sofa is sunflower yellow and I LOVE it. I always recommend that you add colour in the larger pieces in the room to create some impact.”
3 Or, just add a small zesty pop of yellow to your space.
If paint feels too permanent, look for this colour in an area rug, artwork and throw pillows. “Think in terms of small, medium and large doses of the colour,” says Maria. “You get impact without much commitment. Synthetic area rugs have come a long way and no longer feel like cheap, outdoor rugs. You can get a large rug for a little price tag, get a cushy underlay and you’re not held hostage by an expensive rug for the next 10 or 20 years.”
Shop our Gen Z yellow picks below:
Pineapple Wall Art, US $278, anthropologie.com.
Yellow Glassware, $7–10, zarahome.com.