How to Pull off Mustard Yellow Paint in Your Home

This spicy shade of yellow delivers warmth and energy. Here's how to incorporate mustard yellow both indoors and out.

Somewhere on the color wheel between yellow and orange lives the perfect sunset shade. Dubbed mustard or marigold by design pros and paint experts, this warm color conjures up memories of groovy 70s interiors (hello, yellow appliances!). But the sunny shade has proven its staying power in recent years, thanks to its versatility as both a cheerful backdrop and a fun accent color.

Today's mustard yellow paint colors and home accessories provide warmth with a jolt of modern energy. However, Nivara Xaykao, associate manager of color marketing and development at Benjamin Moore, cautions that the shade requires careful consideration and expertise to pull off. "The color is very decadent, a stylish alternative to gold," she says. "Using a bright, primary yellow is almost expected these days, but using a deep, earthy mustard hue in a fresh way takes a lot of finesse."

gen z yellow lockers in mud room with two sets of rain boots on multi-colored rugs
Kritsada Panichgul

How to Add Mustard Gold Color to Your Home

If you're looking to energize your home's interior with warm yellow decor, Xaykao stresses the importance of balance. As with any yellow, "proportion is key," she says. "It's easier to use the color on all four walls if the furniture and accessories in the room are understated and relatively neutral." Xaykao recommends limiting the color to an accent wall—for example, as a colorful kitchen backsplash—or to a piece of furniture if you're apprehensive or your space already feels busy.

For a small pop of color in an otherwise neutral space, Savannah-based interior designer Lily Brown placed velvet yellow chairs around a client's dining table. What made marigold yellow the right fit? "I knew I wanted it to be masculine and a bit formal, but I did not want it to be too serious," she says. "I think that yellow is unexpected but can be so sophisticated when done right."

It's hard to go wrong with mustard yellow, since the happy color works well in nearly every part of the house, whether you want to enliven a powder room or a play room. Nicole Gibbons, interior designer and founder of Clare Paint, recommends it for "any space you want to feel bright and cheery." Small or large doses of the color—that's up to you and your design personality. "It depends on your appetite for color," says Gibbons. "I love going bold with color, so I say go for it and paint your whole space! But if you're less adventurous when it comes to color, try an accent wall."

The 5 Best Mustard Yellow Paint Ideas

Pore over these vibrant inspiration photos to figure out how to bring this lively shade of yellow into your home.

mustard yellow painted bookshelf
Ty Cole, Courtesy of Sarah Jacoby

1. Make Built-Ins a Focal Point

For a gut renovation of a family's Prospect Park apartment, Brooklyn-based architect Sarah Jacoby created an open-plan living space with bright, energizing colors. She used Benjamin Moore's Sun Porch—a medium mustard yellow paint—to highlight the homeowner's book collection and add personality. "This color offered us a simple way to brighten a once-overlooked area of the apartment and effectively activated more usable space," she says.

goldenrod yellow kitchen cabinet design
Susan Salomon

2. Bring Mustard into the Kitchen

This rich color can yield a cozy yet visually interesting kitchen. If you're concerned it might be overwhelming, limit the mustard yellow paint to the base cabinetry, opting for a neutral color above and on the walls. A coordinating tile backsplash can act as a cheery transition to bring the two colors together. For an even subtler take on mustard yellow, sprinkle the shade throughout the kitchen with colorful accessories, like bar stools, dishware, or linens.

mustard color painted cabinet for storage
Courtesy of Farrow & Ball

3. Transform a Piece of Furniture

If you prefer to start small, consider refinishing a piece of furniture with mustard yellow paint. Even with this cabinet's historic molding detail, India Yellow by Farrow & Ball keeps the space fresh and modern for contemporary living. Who knows—you might end up loving it so much that you paint your walls and trim, too.

accent wall painted mustard yellow
Courtesy of Clare Paint

4. Create an Accent Wall

Who needs artwork when you have a creative idea and a can of paint? Painting an accent wall, like this modern arch shared by Clare Paint, can take an interior from basic to brilliant. All you need is an afternoon, some painters tape, and a steady hand. If a solid wall seems bland, go bold with an unexpected shape.

Modern style exterior with yellow door
Laurie Black

5. Make a Statement Outdoors

What a welcome! Painting your front door with a mustard gold color will instantly brighten your home's entry. If you have a navy or white exterior, try Behr's Yellow Groove or Valspar's Sunspark. Both bring a grounding touch of brown to the mix, making them ideal for outdoor spaces. Before you commit, buy several samples of yellow paint and compare them at various times of day. That way, you can see how the hues look in both low light and the brightness of lunchtime.

bold yellow dutch door in entryway with boho cushion
Dave Greer

The Best Mustard Paint Colors

Feeling inspired to take on a paint project? Test a few of these expert-recommended mustard paint colors, then plunge in with your favorite shade.

Warm Mustard Yellows

When it comes to warm yellows, Xaykao loves the historic classics from Benjamin Moore. "There are beautiful mustard shades in our Williamsburg collection, such as Damask Gold and Tavern Ochre," she says. "The colors in this collection were derived from original Colonial Williamsburg homes, so these date back to the 18th century."

Bold Mustard Yellows

For a jolt of energy, try Sherwin-Williams' Decisive Yellow or Sweet Mustard by Behr. These colors are attention-catching and invigorating, bringing a sense of vitality to any room. Gibbons recommends Clare Paint's Golden Hour for those looking to add mustard yellow to walls, trim, or cabinetry.

Low-Key Mustard Yellows

If you think most mustard yellows are too loud, look to slightly darker shades. Benjamin Moore's Stuart Gold and Marblehead Gold are Xaykao's top picks for subtler mustard options.

bedroom with neutrals and yellow
David Tsay

What Goes with Mustard Yellow?

Whether you plan to paint an entire room in mustard yellow or only want a single chair in the hue, you have to consider the rest of your palette. Otherwise, your pop of color may clash with its surroundings or get lost in the shuffle of shades. For an easy-to-assemble scheme, pull in the other sunset colors, including soft pinks like Sherwin-Williams Faint Coral, deep salmons, red-oranges, and even buttercream yellows.

Mustard also contrasts beautifully with vibrant, blue-green shades. Gibbons recommends Clare Paint's ocean-inspired Deep Dive as a complementary color. Combining shades of black and white with mustard can give a space an especially modern feel, too.

"If you want to play it safe, try pairing your rich golden shade with a soft, warm neutral, which will help to tone down some of the energy, making the color feel more approachable," advises Gibbons. You simply can't go wrong with a roomful of airy neutrals and mustard yellow as an accent. Whichever palette you choose, rich mustard yellow is guaranteed to make your rooms glow.

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