What Paint Color Goes Well With Yellow?

Updated February 21, 2017

Yellow is abundant in nature and is appealing as a food colour. For a subtle effect, yellow works well with white and nearby colours in the colour spectrum, such as green and orange. For a stark contrast, pair yellow with black or primary colours, red and blue.


Visible true-yellow light's wavelength is approximately 570 nanometres. Yellow is considered a warm colour, compared to other colours in the visible electromagnetic spectrum. To acheive the desired effect, both hue and shade must be considered when combining colours. Butter-yellow may combine well with pastel chartreuse, while egg yolk-yellow may be more appealing if combined with a warmer colour, such as persimmon-orange.

High-Contrast Hues

Pairing yellow with opposite colours on the colour spectrum results in a high-contrast effect, visually intensifying both colours. Violet, with a wavelength of approximately 400 nanometres, is a cool colour, directly opposite yellow. Yellow can pair with violet, blue or teal for stark contrast.

Low-Contrast Hues

Combining yellow with colours close to the wavelength of yellow produces a less-contrasting, calming effect. Colours nearest to yellow on the colour spectrum are orange and green. Look to the colours of nature, such as autumn leaves and ripening bananas, for examples of colours that combine well with yellow.

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About the Author

Denise Nyland "Denisen" is a long term resident of Panama City, Fla. She studied radiologic sciences and education and has published articles in multiple professional journals and contributed to various educational texts.