Color trends, in recent years, have seen richer, darker, more saturated and jewel-toned colors on walls, in furniture as well as in accessories. For 2013 Benjamin Moore has chosen Lemon Sorbet as its Color of the Year, claiming that it “is the perfect transitional color between the mid-tones and saturated colors seen in today’s home furnishings and the softer, lighter pastels which are emerging.”

Lemon Sorbet is a perfect backdrop to any room.

It suits both traditional and modern design. Benjamin Moore’s senior interior designer Sonu Mathew explains that this season we will see a softening of the palate, and refers to this softening as “the emerging pastel.” Paired with white, rich woods or even a bright raspberry for a pop of color, Lemon Sorbet can be used in a multitude of ways in a multitude of rooms. It can be used in a toned-down manner to create a serene and relaxing space, or paired with a fun and punchy color to create energy and drama.

Like the cool, sweet dessert it is named for, this color is a perfect palate cleanser.

Lemon Sorbet can work well in any kitchen. In the above kitchen the pastel yellow is paired with white to highlight all the decorative and architectural accents as well as with the dark wood to offer balance and contrast. Lemon sorbet is bright and cheery in a room with natural sunlight, but color experts warn that this color can often be seen as too vibrant in rooms that are often flooded in natural sunlight, and should best be considered in rooms without direct sunlight.

Try it on for size

Perhaps yellow walls are not exactly what you’re after or just a bit too much of what you’re after. Try lemon Sorbet on an accent wall, try color blocking it, or simply as an accessory. Bring in a piece of furniture for your pop of bright color. Here the lemony chair pairs well in contrast to the deep and rich colors found in these natural wood backgrounds.

Coastal tranquility

Lemon Sorbet is not for every room or every setting warns Donna Frasca, Color Specialist in Charlotte, North Carolina. “You won’t see it much here in primary living spaces here in the South, with the open floor pans and direct sun exposure. But I certainly would use it as an accent color to lighten or brighten up a nursery, bathroom or children’s room.” Above the pale yellow lends itself beautifully with the pale blues in this coastal, nautical home.

“It’s a color that will bring a smile to anyone’s face,”

Adds Frasca, “but not everyone will appreciate the color. For many homes, it’s a tad too lemony.” In order for it to work properly in your home, Frasca states that it’s important to keep the undertones the same. Lemon Sorbet has a more feminine feel to it. To give it a more masculine feel Frasca suggests blocking it into a room or adding a darker stripe or two over it.


In the collage above created by Barbara Heill-Soneck we’re shown how yellow can be used to brighten up and liven up a space for those who think that yellow walls are just too much, too feminine or simply not their style. Lemon Sorbet can be considered as a perfect accessory color in any room. Yellow pillows, throws or a piece of furniture painted in Lemon Sorbet can add the perfect touch.

Yellow is often described as cheery and warm, yet it is often viewed as tiring to the eyes due to the high amount of light that is reflected. According to color psychology, yellow is a high attention getting color, making it a good color to use for traffic signs. It’s also a color that is said to induce hunger which is why it is found in so many fast food restaurants, and maybe not the right choice for your kitchen if you’re watching your weight!

Perfect pairings

When pairing a bright pastel such as Lemon Sorbet one needs to think closely about the other colors it’s paired with. Darker and more subdued colors tone the yellow down and therefore make it seem less bright and easier on the eye. Here Lemon Sorbet is paired with a dark, rich wood, a bright raspberry for a pop of color and a soft, cool grey. On the ceiling is Blue Ice, a perfect complimentary color that that brings out the room’s architectural details. Without these other colors and textures to offset the brightness of the Lemon Sorbet might be too  bright for this room.

Sophisticated, warm and inviting.

Benjamin Moore’s Sonu Mathew touts Lemon Sorbet to be sophisticated, warm and inviting, adding that it’s a great conversational color for your space.  But color specialists warn that it is important to give careful thought and consideration to the shade of yellow you choose and where you intend on painting the particular shade of yellow. Get swatches – this is an absolute must. Better yet, buy samples if you can and paint your color on several walls. Perhaps you initially thought you wanted a Lemon Sorbet bedroom, but the morning sunlight and the angle in which it shines is simply too much for your eyes. Instead, you think the color is a perfect solution to your playroom woes.

What do you think? Is Lemon Sorbet for you? Do you think of it as a cool and refreshing palate cleanser or would you prefer a different flavor?