This season's yellow fever is inspired by Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers
Of all the colours, yellow has the most uplifting impact in any room, with just as powerful an effect as red. It's a colour that our eyes are immediately drawn to, and in many cultures it is linked to happiness and friendship, particularly when giving flowers.
Yellow works best as an accent: counterpointed against mid-blues and greys, it brings them subtly and elegantly to life. But it is also terrific smacked up against other sizzling colours, where it really sings out, and sometimes yells. Admit it, yellow is the colour that makes your heart race.
Vincent van Gogh must have loved it too, to paint five versions of a jug of glorious sunflowers. Two of these paintings go on show together for the first time from Saturday at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square.
This spring, why not enjoy some joyous yellow design splashes? Advance technology means firms such as kitchen gadget maker Kenwood can encase products in bright enamels — so much more uplifting than white, or steel. Kenwood has a whole range in yellow, from a stand mixer to a kettle and toaster, while De'Longhi and Ascaso have bright yellow coffee makers to suit different budgets. Italian designer Fornasetti famously used a fun sun/ flower image, Il Sole, now produced by posh wallpaper company Cole & Son. Wonderful yellow lines by other designers range from Bulgari's grand crystal glassware to a duck-shaped kitchen timer from Alessi. You can get a bright yellow Bertazzoni range cooker, or there are stylish sofas, like the sleek Jonah two-seater from Made. The big textiles houses, such as Sanderson, offer lovely yellows and mustards, which, as curtains or ottomans or even simple scatter cushions, will lift a room sky-high.
A mere splash, whether in an Eames chair, a Provençal terracotta dish from Habitat or a Loveramics cappuccino cup, has a dramatic effect, drawing the eyes irresistibly. Even your bin can be yellow if you want. And paint manufacturers offer terrific yellows, from mustard through to feather-singeing sun. Try Farrow & Ball's new Yellowcake.
Cool country: Sanderson Cow Parsley wallpaper, Chinese Yellow £43 p/roll; HND Cafe chair (painted yellow) £99; cushions in fabrics, from top: Royal Collection Gallica Rose £147 p/m; Sanderson Vanessa £48 p/m; Jane Churchill Silverley £35 p/m; Designers Guild Hesperia Moss £50 p/m; Moon & Sons Heather Check £45.95 p/m; Designers Guild Rosenholm Chartreuse £50, p/m; Osborne & Little Morlich fabric £92.50; Moon & Sons Richmond Check £55.95 p/m (all at John Lewis)
Vincent van Gogh painted five versions of Sunflowers to decorate a bedroom for his friend, Paul Gauguin, at the Yellow House in Arles in the south of France in 1888. Two of them will be on show at the National Gallery until April 27, one the gallery's own and another from Holland, seen together for the first time from Saturday. For more info, visit nationalgallery.org.uk.