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Sunflower Yellow; Where are yoooooooooou?

By 01/28/2011January 23rd, 201749 Comments

The reason you have not seen the corner bookshelves in my living room yet is because I had lights installed on two sets of shelves going across all 5 of them and in between is a glass shelf. This means I can’t stick books on these shelves (except on the bottom shelf) or the light won’t come through the glass.  And I have been looking and looking for yellow decorative objects in vain, clearly  I am way ahead of the curve decorating with this colour. 

At least I can find Begonias in the exact colour of my sofa, and they last for a month in my house which is a long time for an indoor potted plant I think.

When I was in High Point last fall, I found these two plates in a little shop and then this yellow candle somewhere else, so I put it on my pewter candleholder with the happy, instrument playing mice.

This pineapple I picked up on sale and then when I got it home I realized that the reason why it was on sale was because one of the leaves was broken, but I turned it so it’s in the back.

photos by Maria Killam

I even found some National Geographics at a thrift store for $1 each but it was when I bought this silly yellow bike home that I realized I’ve lost it.  Seriously?  A vintage bike ornament?  It’s desperately reaching and I’m taking it back because it’s just not right. I don’t want every single thing on my bookshelf to be yellow, but this is all I have and it’s a big bookshelf!

So the quest for my ‘finished-enough-to-be-photographed’ bookshelf continues. . . ideas anyone?

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Related posts:

Does your Hair Colour Influence the Colours you Love?
Here’s a Way to make your Bookshelf Beautiful
Why is it so hard to Choose Yellow?

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  • Elisa @ What the Vita says:

    Yellow spraypaint? Let it rip on something cute but not yellow and then you'll have something cute AND yellow.

    I know what you mean about finding yellow items. Yellow's an accent color for our kitchen and it was hard for a while until recently we lucked out on a white and yellow striped rug, whew… but yellow isn't easy to come by. Why? It's so cheerful!

  • pve design says:

    What about a glass bowl full of sunflower yellow jelly beans?


    Lemons? Vases sprayed yellow? Tomorrow, I am blogging about my bookshelf dilema and how I solved it. I am finally starting to feel settled.


  • A Color Specialist in Charlotte says:

    Funny, I have a Van Gogh on my glass coffee table too. The cover is not yellow but a shot of his “Wheat Field With Cypresses” which has more blue, green and gold. I don't have any yellow in my home but I do have a lot of gold which is still very warming!

  • Val Short says:

    Vintage McCoy pottery has a lovely yellow — you can sometimes pick them up on ebay. I have a small pitcher that I love. See you next week in Atlanta!

  • Luciane at says:

    Hello Maria!

    Oh, you should've seen my post yesterday! Yellow was there.. for sure!

    Ideas? What about some frames? Different shapes, textures, colors?

    I hope you have a great day, Maria.


    Luciane at

  • Virginia Blue - Director Blue Fruit says:

    Don't take the little bike back Maria! It is gorgeous, and I think why the hell not go crazy with a yellow theme – you are always one to say rules are made to be broken in this {example given} circumstance ~ so just enjoy your fun! I love it. Greetings from sunny, summery Melbourne where yellow seems like the happiest of colours to celebrate the glorious sun!

  • Erin @ The Impatient Gardener says:

    Spray paint! You can buy it matched to any color on from

  • Hmm..that's a tough one. I'd be doing the spray paint thing, too. Or, what about lining the back of the shelves with a fab yellow and white print wall paper — I think Jaima Brown makes one? Maybe some yellow scrap-booking paper in a cool frame on its own, or it could serve as the mat for a picture. Yellow fiestaware cups as planters?

  • Anonymous says:

    Having worked in retail – it's all seasonal, so just be patient . . .it's coming. Now that we're past Christmas, all the colours that feel like spring and summer will start appearing.

    In the meantime, (to echo almost everyone before me) Rustoleum makes a very sunshiny yellow spray paint (Rustoleum Universal-the one with the awesome spray trigger- you can paint anything with it!)

  • Wendy says:

    I think Val is on to something with the vintage idea. I'd spend an hour (or two, if hubby's not counting) in an antique mall. You never know what you'll find there.

  • Luciane at says:

    Oh, Maria!

    I had to come back here to thank you for your comment. It meant a lot to me!

    Thank you so much! 🙂


    Luciane at

  • Karena says:

    Maria how hight are those shelves? Small works of art might be nice.

    I am going to Rit dye a lampsade, will let you know how it turns out!

    Art by Karena

  • Leone says:

    Okay, I'm nuts but I think the bike should STAY. It's very fun…and if you decide to ditch it just send it my way! 🙂

  • raggygirlvintage says:

    Looks like spring! And that bike is adorable, you have to keep it!!

  • Ruth says:

    Hi, Maria

    I agree with the gals you should keep the bike it's adorable.

  • Jane says:

    Here in FL, we see lots of yellow stuff…and orange and green. Must have something to do with our citrus…
    One of my favorite "tricks" is to take old vases (thrift stores) and sponge or brush them with glass paint in the color I need. I have also painted glass plates to fill in my shelves. (I have a lot of built in shelves.) I also love using painted canvases on the shelves, often balanced within frames or flat baskets that are oversized. It's interesting…and inexpensive.
    Jane (Artfully Graced)

  • Naturally Carol says:

    I think if you get white or clear stuff that you adore as well that the yellow will be highlighted and look great as a feature colour on your shelves.

  • Heartfire At Home says:

    I'd be rummaging around some vintage shops or flea markets. I have two gorgeous sunflower yellow opaque glass candle holders and a fluted opaque yellow glass vase (more limencello) I bought for about $6 each at an antique stall at a trash and treasure market – bliss!!!!

    I also bought my fabulous antique looking world globe for $14 from that market, so I LOVE it for accessory shopping!

    And, I have to say, that candle holder with the instrument playing mice has to be one of THE most gorgeous things I've seen in ages….. truly. If I saw that in a shop it'd be in my happy hands within seconds – it's so cute!

    Linda. xxx

  • shopgirl says:

    I love the yellow vespa! And I think yellow is such a happy colour! I don't have much words of advice because I think it looks pretty awesome!

    But….since I'm here, how about some other bright colours to complement the yellow? I can see a bright indigo blue vase or print near these objects!

    Have a wonderful weekend Maria!

  • Jennifer, Decorum says:

    Hey Maria, I'm ahead of the curve too! About three years ago I asked for a yellow necklace for my birthday. Just costume jewellery but something yellow that would go with a shirt I had and I could see that yellow was going to be THE colour. My husband went to one of my favourite jewellery boutiques to be told they didn't have yellow as they only bought what colours were fashionable. My husband told him that I was a colour consultant but the fellow wasn't buying that yellow was going to be BIG. I crack up laughing everytime I see yellow accessories everywhere and wonder if that guy remembers his rather stupid statement. I'll see what I can find for your bookshelf. Sorry I don't have a necklace I could send you.

    Jennifer xx

  • Laura@Developing Designs says:

    Agree, definitely look for vintage. I see white mixed in (I know boring) but perhaps some old depression milk glass and a few coral pieces. Also, small art framed on easels are a nice touch (or hung right on the back of the case). If you have find a hard time looking for small art like a 5X7 (but don't forget about Etsy) for now frame some pretty cards (Hallmark is brimming with options) and a gorgeous chunky frame and matt and instant color and style.

    Not sure if you had this thought or not (if you did, sorry if I missed it) but why not paint the back of the cases in a bold color so yellow and white will pop and sing?

    You'll rock it, it just that the details take so long to pull all together. xo
    PS: I totally am in love with the yellow bike, send it to me! 🙂 lol

  • Sarah says:

    How about some yellow bookjackets or make your own with yellow wallpaper or gift wrap?? I LOVE yellow and particularly love your little bike!! :))

  • Kristen says:

    I often struggle with this exact same thing, finding accents in the color I want. I am a big fan of using unusual colors and I can never find them in the stores. I always try to think about how I can incorporate "custom" colors in accents, maybe you can think on it and write an article on it someday. My ideas were to paint a vase or something like a PP suggested, possibly paint your own ceramics (doesn't have to be complicated). There's also a website called Spoonflower where you can make your own fabrics. I'd love to read more ideas! The jelly bean idea is good, as they come in every color, but if I left candy out, I would either eat it (which I don't need) or it would get dusty and then no one would eat, LOL. Though I am planning to use yellow wrapped candies in my guest bedroom, they can get a bit dusty and still be ok since they have a wrapper.

  • Mary says:

    You can send the bike to me. My husband & I are riders & vintage looking bikes sit up on our kitchen soffit. See…we would appreciate it!
    I think you have enough yellow on your shelves. (Maybe even too much) Anymore & it will start to look like a SWIFTER comercial in your house.

  • cathy z says:

    Didn't read through all the comments so not sure if somebody already said this but I just love typography word "statues" – I have a LAUGH and a HAPPY 12" wide by about 4" high carved sign/statue. I then sprayed painted them the same rustoleum yellow mentioned in some posts above. Will send a pic over email 🙂

    Antique stores could also have adorable small bowls.

  • diane@onlinefabricstore says:

    I think you are on your way and I love that quirky yellow bike..I would keep it there just for fun. all you need are some yellow frames (I am sure Ikea carries that color)with personal photos and keep the fresh flowers coming.

  • Anonymous says:

    Go to town at one of those paint-your-own-pottery places?

  • AB HOME Interiors says:

    I love the little scooter!! Ive never been keen on yellow, but I am so sick of the drab colors that yellow is growing on me.

    Thank-you for helping me through my crisis! Holy crap it's the job that keeps on giving…and the sage STILL continues. But you are the best!

  • Chelsea says:

    I know! I am in the same dilemma – I've been searching and searching for yellow items, but don't seem to have found hardly any at all! Although some other commenter did have a good idea with that yellow spray paint.. I might just have to stick to that when it warms up a bit!


  • Seasonal Leaf Interior Design says:

    The scootie is the cutest of all things I have seen and please do not return it. That could be the theme of your bookshelf. The metal of the lights and the brakes surely makes a relationship with your pewter candle holder.
    Putting in a background color is a great idea, like Carol said, maybe a wallpaper that has yellow accents and maybe even a light touch of red and silver, picking up colors from the scooter. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Between you, me and the Fencepost says:

    I'm getting a good giggle from your post. You're looking for the perfect yellow stuff to decorate your shelves. Even buying out of date National Geographic magazines. I love it. (nice scooter) Hey, I can bring over a craft Noah made in kindergarten. I'll pack up yellow paint when he goes to school so whatever he makes it will be the perfect colour. xxo

  • Dovecote Decor says:

    I vote that you keep that sexy little vespa. I play with my shelves the way I used to play doll house. It is a great late night activity for me.

  • Nancy says:

    I second Val Short`s idea about the vintage McCoy pottery. They have great planters in various sizes too. They are decorative enough to look nice with or without plants in them.

  • Carla@DesignintheWoods says:

    Love the Van Gogh book and the National Geographics! Great idea. A collection of yellow vases maybe?

  • Design Elements says:

    I would take some frames. btw: love the van Gogh book. lovely greetings

  • Elizabeth says:

    I love the Vespa…ha ha!

  • Anonymous says:

    I would get this cute little print from etsey and throw it in a white ikea ribba frame – you must also have some great photos of those blond baby nephews of yours that you could throw in some ribbas.

  • Michelle Donald says:

    Maria, The vintage motorbike is actually my favourite thing here because it represents old and new -it funs it up and will be a talking point. Too many 'new things' will not give the shelves soul. Now… make sure you only choose items you love -that's a really important rule I go by. That's what will inject your authentic personality here. Unique to you. Do you love the oversized letters that are on-trend write now – How about a large 'M'?!

  • jenna marie says:

    I'll try not to gush, but your blog is..I can't think of a word wonderful enough to describe it. Smart and pretty, can't wait to come back and spend more time.

  • Stacey @ Entropified says:

    Need yellow. Come to my mom-in-law's house. She has yellow accents from the 70s LOL

  • Anonymous says:

    Don't, please don't, take the yellow bike back to the store. So you don't ride a bike? Who's to know? It's a very funky, humorous element in your yellow theme. Leave it. Pretty pleae?

  • Nan Parker says:

    It's the unexpected Yellow bike that makes this display unique and all "you". I've found that these offbeat unique 'finds' make the difference between a home and a showroom. Good for you! Trust your instincts ~ they are spot on and what we love about you and your design sensibility. XO

  • Maria Killam says:

    Suddenly my Vespa (had no idea that's what it was until I started reading the comments) seems a lot more fun and special with all these comments, ya'll are the best!!

  • Nichole@40daysof says:

    What about adding color to the back of the shelves, either with paint or inserted panels. That way you can use a lot of white on the shelves, too.

  • Kathysue says:

    It looks to me like you have quite a bit of yellow going on, which I love!!! I think you need a little color on the back wall of the shelves to make it all pop!!! Love the vespa. I think maybe some empty frames to outline some of the pieces like the vespa and the pineapple. That would give some height and depth to the bookcase. Not seeing the bookshelf in context of the whole room it is hard to tell. I always tell my clients to make sure the items are like a wave going high to lows and ins and outs!! I love doing shelves and matels my favorite thing to design, Have fun you really have some interesting pieces to work with!!! Kathysue

  • Grace @ Sense and Simplicity says:

    I haven't read everyone else's responses, but I would say use lemons, yellow books, and Fiestaware yellow dishes.

  • Anonymous says:

    Don't return the yellow bike! I love it. I thought it went well with the National Geographic magazines 🙂

    As a designer working on a collection of my own designs I started using more yellow and of course I'm positive that it's been triggered by you!!

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