Emily Henderson

For Those Who Dare ..

Color Trends – Lemon/Buttercup Yellow

lemon yellow chairs

***Post Authored by Carla

It’s me, Carla and it’s time to introduce our next color (gulp). Let’s put our hands together and give a warm welcome to… (drumroll)… BUTTERCUP YELLOW! It’s loud, proud and has been haunting the shit outta me since I saw it on the Top 10 Colors for 2016 list. Are you skeptical. So were we … until we started pinning for this post.

Wait. Backup.

The last time I wore yellow was Halloween of 2006 when I dressed up as the Morton’s Salt girl (costume complete with yellow rubber shoes and a yellow dress that my mom made for me and by the way I was 27, not 12). And while we have some bananas on our kitchen counter and a rubber ducky in our bathtub, there is no other trace of yellow in our home.

emily henderson color trend buttercup yellow

HOWEVER, once I started perusing the internets for yellow interiors, fashion and products to share with you, I found myself CONSIDERING this new hue. Here’s why.

modern yellow interior design emily henderson

If you live in a colder climate like myself (Minnesota), you probably agree that winter poses as a hard time of year to dress in a feminine way without freezing your bum off (stay with me here). Come winter and spring, all of my ruffly blouses and silk dresses get shoved to the back of my closet in favor of bulky fair isle sweaters and (fun fact for those who know me) wool long-johns that I wear under my jeans. Super sexy. Our 18 month old son  recently started calling me “DADA” (formerly I was known a “MAM”) and it’s probably because I’m starting to dress like one. Where am I going with this??? IT’S TIME FOR ME TO INFUSE SOME BRIGHT, FEMININE, ON-TREND COLORS INTO MY LIFE.

Buttercup Yellow Fashion Trend 2016

Look at how effortlessly these babes pull off buttercup yellow. As you can see, the key is to either introduce a small pop of color with an accessory or contrast one prominent yellow piece with enough neutrals to create visual balance. As you may have guessed, I will probably try something similar to the look Leandra is rocking (the tiny clutch).

Manrepeller Yellow Fashion Clutch


Yellow Fashion Trend

Infusing buttercup yellow into your home is obviously a bolder move than trying out a teeny yellow clutch or yellow nail polish. When it comes to bringing color into your home, there are two different methods to take depending on your taste, budget and ballsiness.

Lemon Yellow Fashion Accent

Method #1

If you are unsure of a color – be it buttercup yellow or fiesta red (coming in a future post), try introducing small, inexpensive items like a vase or throw pillows (scroll down to the roundup for ideas). The key is to edit down the rest of your space to be neutral enough for the pops of yellow to feel intentional.

Another way to try out a bold color is with paint. Paint probably seems like a big commitment, but in actuality is a fairly small investment and if you hate it, you can just paint right over it. Pro tip: I typically hit up Restoration Hardware for paint swatches as their colors are tried and true and they have lots of nice reference pictures. I then head to Home Depot and have them do a color match with a less fancy (and cheaper) paint brand.

Method #2

If you’ve tested the waters and decided you want to up the ante OR you want to skip the first method entirely and just go balls to the wall (good on you but don’t come crying to us afterwards, but please send pics), consider introducing furniture or drapery. If you’re going for a more sophisticated look, keep the rest of the room neutral (grey is a nice compliment). If you’re opting for a more fun, playful look (like in a nursery), feel free to introduce other small pops of color. Ultimately if your yellow is in the form of a major investment, be sure you love this color and have loved it for a while.

emily henderson buttercup yellow color trend

The Rachel Comey flagship store in New York risked three VERY on trend colors and killed it. This yellow is absolutely perfect next to that blushing blush.

The Loft Amsterdam Yellow Sofa

People with yellow sofas that look good deserve a parade. Brava.

buttercup yellow sofa and chair

Roundup time! Okay, so when I see all of these items combined on one giant mood board, I start to have a mild panic attack. TOO. MUCH. YELLOW. All of these items are meant to stand on their own and not be combined! I especially like the little yellow prep bowls and Ray-Ban sunnies. I wanted to give a shout out to this fancy little number which did not make the round up but made me laugh (NO JUDGEMENT if you are into furry yellow toilet seat covers).

So what do you think? Are you excited about buttercup yellow or does it make you a nervous pervous like me?

Buttercup Yellow Round Up

1. Planter + Stand | 2. Paint in Lemon Sorbet | 3. Tad Carpenter Print | 4. Mohair Pillows | 5. Wallpaper in Rosa | 6. Armchair | 7. Fabric in Pantheon | 8. Bar Stools | 9. Sunglasses | 10. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer | 11. Nail Polish | 12. Plaid Throw | 13. Rob Delamater Print | 14. Bedding Set | 15. Bud Vase | 16. Fabric in Citrine | 17. Blazer | 18. Luster Velvet Pillow | 19. Paint in Lemon Ice | 20. Cotton Throw | 21. Pouf | 22. Rug | 23. Mongolian Fur Pillow | 24. Instax Camera

As we were collating all this product there seemed to be two different yellows that didn’t necessarily look good together – Buttercup and Lemon. So as you are yellow-ing your house choose one tone – a warmer butter or a more acidic lemon, but nary the two shall mix.


1. Swatch | 2. Rug | 3. Vase | 4. Candle | 5. Skirt | 6. Chair | 7. Vase | 8. Key Chain | 9. Lamp | 10. Shoes | 11. Wallpaper in Otomi | 12. Pillow | 13. Swimsuit | 14. Headphones | 15. Spacetime by Julia Rymer | 16. Sunglasses | 17. Dress | 18. Stripped Rug | 19. Mixing Bowl Set | 20. Ceramic Crate Candle | 21. In The Boatyard by Jenny Prinn | 22. Rain Boots | 23. Sheet Set | 24. Clutch | 25. Varriables by Jenny Prinn | 26. Paint in Acacia | 27. Armchair | 28. Table | 29. Banana Flask | 30. Sofa

*Image Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 56 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 

***Carla Fahden is a Creative Director at a creative agency in Minneapolis with a focus on fashion art direction. Off the clock she devotes her time to writing her blog, designing wedding stationery and has an exclusive collaboration with Stone Fox Bride launching this spring. You can also find her decorating her recently renovated 100 year old home, watching her Felicity box set or writing rambling run-on sentences in the blogosphere. 


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  1. I need to forward this to my hubby so he realizes my buttercup yellow hollywood regency dresser is now on trend. (Not that this will sway him, but at least I can say “SEE?!?! It’s in STYLE!”

  2. Wow! I am completely with you here Carla! I have NEVER liked yellow but this year have found myself wanting little pops of it. I went with a buttercup yellow throw pillow in my livingroom, myself.

  3. Buttercup yellow seems to have the same stigma as sage green (thanks 90’s). I like it in small doses the most. Navy is the neutral base in my house and yellow (again, in very small doses) is a perfect accent color. That #25 abstract on the lemon board is gorgeous too, always exciting to see artists from Maine on Serena & Lily.

  4. I currently have a mustard-gold-bright yellow on the wall of my front hall (seen from the living room) and I love it. I have a pair of teak lounge chairs I’ve been wanting to get reupholstered in yellow since I got them. It’ll happen one day when I have the money saved. Yellow can be a great colour in a room. Love

  5. I didn’t realize “balls to the wall” had reached such acceptance in common conversation. Talk about turning a little yellow…

  6. This is such a fun round up! Two years ago we painted our interior front door a vivid yellow (the walls are a neutral light grey). It’s just the right amount of eye candy to help us get through the long, snowy + colorless winters. A little bit def goes a long way!

  7. I have mustard yellow walls in my dining room and I love the color. It changes through the day depending how the light comes into the windows. I have used the same color before in other spaces and have always found it to be very striking. That said, mustard yellow and buttercup yellow are not the same beast.

      1. I know you didn’t ask for the colour I used :) but I have Benjamin Moore’s Stuart Gold on one of my walls and I love it. It’s mustardy without being too brown. I find it just the right amount of warmth and it looks fantastic with the wood paneling (Eichler style grooved paneling) that’s on the wall in front of it.

      2. I have to give a shout out to an awesome deep marigold yellow paint by Farrow and Ball called “India Yellow.” I don’t know if that’s what Fancy is talking about above, but I have used it before and LOVED it.

      3. Emily, I looked in several places and can’t find the color filed anywhere. so sorry!! Someone in the comments below used the word marigold instead of mustard. Marigold sounds much lovelier than mustard doesn’t it??

    1. Yes, mustard yellow is a win for me, citron yellow like the sofa in the roundup is also good (although wouldn’t really work with the mustardy, earthy, olivey tones I like), but true buttercup… is tough. Yellows are hard.

  8. I painted an apartment in college really light aqua blue and then hung bright yellow chevron curtains and had my milk glass vase collection prominently displayed on bright white shelving and I LOVED IT!
    Would I pick out that combo now? No, but I do love a good pop of yellow.

  9. I really love your piece! You have great taste. I’m just curious, are there no photo credits for the photos you used? I could be missing them, but if they are not there, I think it would be nice to include them. I know Emily always uses them and I always appreciate that people are getting credit for their work. It’s so important to give credit where it’s due!

  10. I’m curious as to the choice of yellow for this post, it has been present and a strong dominant color in interiors since the latish 2000’s. I especially remember the yellow couch in Jenna Lyons former Brooklyn brownstone setting off such a yellow furnishing conversation. Yellow, especially this bright or buttery, feels like it’s super mass, everywhere and peak saturation as opposed to feeling new.

    Why was a newer color such as blush, mint, or french blue not highlighted? Or even a different take on yellow such as the acid/chartreuse tones we’ve been seeing alongside the pastels lately?

    1. I think every color is always around every year, and when used well every color can be beautiful and have its moment. Jenna’s sofa was a risk that year that succeeded. BUT, I think that using more of this color even two years ago wouldn’t have been as easy. I don’ know if it will ever become super mainstream to use all over the place (like gray, blue, green), but yes i do think its having more of a moment than it has in years and years – both in fashion and in home.

  11. I own yellow sunglasses similar to the ones shown here. But I bought them at a gas station on my way to florida last December. At the time I thought they were just the right amount of funky. (My previous ones were pink plaid also purchased at a gas station that I loved but they broke). Glad to see I’m super fashionable in at least one area of my life!

  12. I like to call my yellows “citron” because some how it makes me feel better. I have a navy purse with a border of citron that I get a lot of complements on. Also, my patio furniture consists of bright yellow chairs from CB2 with a white glass top table. Yellow seems to work better outside.

    I actually just bought my first piece of clothing with yellow. A little risky since it’s for work! It’s mostly black, but with a swath of yellow. They call it “maize.” https://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/store/product/colorblock-sheath-dress/570166244?color=1388&catId=&onSale=true&fromSearch=true&scPos=1-229-3115

  13. Oh yeah, I’m all over that. I’ve got yellow throw pillows, art with yellow, yellow accessories…I’m all about that sunny color! It’s one of my faves and makes me happy. Love the chairs in the first picture and that yellow maxi skirt! I’m drooling!

  14. I didn’t realize yellow was such a controversial color! haha I love it, but it is pretty bold, I guess. I have a few pops of it my house, and one of my favorite outfits to wear are black pants, white top, and yellow flats. It’s so cheery!!

    Love the banana flask!

  15. A head’s up: I have the skirt #5 in the lemon yellow roundup, and it is sheer, so make sure your undies are also not lemon yellow.

    A little dose of lemon yellow just make the day/space better. Good post!

  16. Emily used yellow/gold curtain in a bedroom makeover once to great effect. The room had blue carpet and white bedding. I’ve been searching for raw silk gold curtains every since! I think the ones she used were from Pottery Barn but were since discontinued in that color. On an unrelated note, I’m trying out Benjamin Moore’s citron in my 1950s kitchen with white counters and hawaiian blue backsplash from Fireclay tile. I love yellows that lean a little green for a midcentury space. Great post!

  17. Am I the only one who doesn’t like Carla’s style of writing? The sentences are very long, and a bit TOO conversational. I find it difficult to read. And SO. MUCH. CAPS.

    I know, I know, if I don’t like it, I don’t have to read it, it’s free yada yada yada…

    For these guest authors, would it make sense to have the bio first? Then it wouldn’t feel so weird reading “we” and “us”, knowing a bit more about the author?

    1. I do actually like her writing style and think it’s kind of similar to Emily’s but agree it would be helpful to have bios in the beginning to help readers get to know the contributor’s tone/style before reading the post! And for those who don’t care for a particular contributor, they can skip the post. :)

    2. Hi Lilli – THANKS FOR THE FEEDBACK (kidding with the caps). I’ll try to go easy on the long sentences. While that’s how I talk to myself in my head, it may not translate well in written form. Hope you at least liked the content!

      1. Yes, the content is great!

        And I can’t explain exactly what it is that irks me. It’s like I lose the train of thought halfway through the sentence, and “run out of breath”:

        “If you live in a colder climate like myself (Minnesota), you probably agree that winter poses as a hard time of year to dress in a feminine way without freezing your bum off (stay with me here). Come winter and spring, all of my ruffly blouses and silk dresses get shoved to the back of my closet in favor of bulky fair isle sweaters and (fun fact for those who know me) wool long-johns that I wear under my jeans. ”

        And I used to wear wool long johns under my pants, too, so this sentence SHOULD speak to me….

        Anyways… Have you tried bamboo merino wool blend long johns? They’re rad. Wicking and warm. And less itchy feeling than 100% wool.

        1. I actually took the bio out of the front because I wanted to get straight into the post (although It says quickly that its by her) so people didn’t not click in because it wasn’t me. BUT I get it and thats good feedback. But Brady and I were just saying how much we love Carla’s voice over here so be careful how much you, Carla, edit it ….negative comments lead to generic writing (TRUST ME).

          1. Good response, Emily. And great post, Carla. As a professional writer myself, I enjoyed your breezy, chatty tone. (And your commas were in all the right places, too! Ha ha.) Lots of great info, also. Anyway(s), TGIF! ?

  18. This post is so refreshing! Heart Carla’s writing style! These are the kinds of posts I miss in blogging today. Also loving EH’s replies in a different colored background! You always wonder, “Is that THE Emily replying or another Emily?”. Loving Lemon (more blue than Buttercup’s green)! Super fun!

      1. Yes! Thank you for the colored response! As you can see I’ve been using Emily (not Henderson) for responses so as not to lead anyone astray :)

  19. I had a roommate in college who LOVED yellow. We settled on buttercup and goldenrod. In my home now I have three yellow things and I really love them all. Probably won’t get more, but they’re there!

  20. Mainly here to digitally high five over Morton Salt girl costumes. Mine was 2008, I think, and involved a baby doll dress from Forever 21 that I sewed buttons onto (?) and yellow ballet flats also from F21. I also remember spray painting an umbrella. Now toddler costumes get priority and I put red duct tape on a tee shirt for myself (Waldo, of course).

  21. I have been all about the yellow for a while now. I loved the small accent table in th Emily’s Cup of Jo LR makeover. I’m hoping to do something similar. Until then, my front door is a bright sunshine yellow inside & out. Farrow & Ball has a few gorgeous yellow, especially Babouche.

  22. For YEARS I loved these lemon louis dining chairs that popped up on Pinterest, finally this year got mine covered in bright lemon yellow leather and I love it!!!! So happy and fun!

  23. Nice! I’ve had yellow in my home for yearrrrss. Glad to know I’m now on-trend ;)

    Every time I find a vintage chair it’s ALWAYS yellow. Like everyone loved yellow 50s-70s? I have 3 velvet mustard(?) yellow vintage chairs.

    But it is a harder color to wear, for sure. Skin tones and all that.

  24. I was so disappointed to read Carla’s post this morning using the s— word as a description. I wasn’t going to say anything but this afternoon I receive it again. I was hoping someone had noticed that it was not professional and had taken it out but no. There are many other adjectives you can use and never have to use curse words on such a classy and professional post. I do like the creative photos and thoughts but words such as this one simply takes away all of the professionalism. I hope in the future you will be more careful in choosing your vocabulary. But it does make me want to be on the lookout for a yellow piece!

  25. I loved this post! It’s so interesting and fun to see something completely new like this – yellow! Inspiring! Thanks so much for this!

  26. This is so exciting to me! I started loving yellow back when Blueprint Magazine (RIP) did a yellow cover for one of their issues. I loved the way it looked with the green they also used. Then there was Jenna Lyons’ house in Domino which I loved! Here and there I picked up yellow things for my house. My best find was a pair of vintage yellow lamps I got at an antique store for $15 each! I have some other yellow accents like some yellow patterned throw pillows. I even got a vintage yellow couch for free from Craigslist one time, but it had not been taken care of and when we moved we didn’t take it with us. All this to say, I never have felt like I was able to take what I have and create a successfully designed space around it. And then recently I have not seen yellow as much, and I wondered if it was gone for good. But this gives me hope! Let’s see if I can actually pull the trigger this time. I have commitment issues when it comes to design. :/

  27. OOH! What a throwback! I had one of those couches in pear green/almost yellow, in my basement, before it flooded. It was 101″ long! I miss that couch… and its bright pop. I’m so tempted by that last picture….

  28. I’ve always loved yellow and in fact own those stools! I painted my clawfoot tub egg yolk by Martha Stewart a few years ago and still love it!

  29. Anyone else see this blog going the way of YoungHouseLove? Too much pressure to post every day, and too much pressure to please all the people all the time. Which would be a bummer. If I were Emily I’d disable comments from now on – honestly, what are they adding at this point? They’re just making you lose your way …
    I think the shark jump for YHL was people demanding to see inside the drawers in their office because they disapproved of their stationery supplies! And then them doing so!!! Madness.

  30. When I was in second grade (1969) I got a pair of bright yellow patent leather shoes. I was so excited to wear them to school, only to be called “banana feet” when I got there. I didn’t care…I LOVED those shoes! They obviously had no fashion sense.

  31. My kitchen is something very close to Benjamin Moore golden honey 297. It wasn’t a color I chose, but I love it. It is a lovely yellow, slightly more bold than butter. Yellow on a wall can go wrong very easily. I add bits of bold cobalt blue and the whole thing feels very Mediterranean and happy. There are plenty of neutrals with the wood cabinetry, white counter tops, and light beige/neutral tile floors.


  32. We welcomed that bright yellow armchair (#27) into our living room last summer and it is one of my all time favorite pieces. Love this post!

  33. hah, loved seeing my living room used as the first photo! so much has changed, including the yellow chairs (which were crying to be reupholstered and are now grey buffalo hide).