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Meaning of the Color Mustard And Its Symbolism

Mustard yellow is the color of optimism, creativity, and acceptance

As part of the Color Meaning Series, we’ll discuss the symbolism and meaning of the color mustard.

For many more colors, check out our guide on color meanings.

Summary of the meanings of the color mustard yellow
Mustard yellow meanings

Where can we find the meaning of the color mustard?

Mustard is a cheerful color yellow that can be used in different settings and situations.

From feature walls to call-to-actions in web design, this energetic color can be easily used for a tasteful pop of color in your design.

Whether you want to create an eye-catching design project or trendy interior decor, mustard yellow is your go-to color if you want to make a statement in your design.

Today, we’ll talk about the symbolism and meaning of mustard yellow, its physical effects, and beautiful color combinations–all about the uplifting mustard yellow.

Mustard Color Codes


RGB 47, 65, 100

CMYK 0, 14, 65, 0

HSL 47, 100, 67

HSB 47, 65, 100

Pantone 14-0952 TCX

Brief History of the Color Mustard

According to Wikipedia, mustard, as an English name for this specific shade of yellow, was first used in 1886 and derived its name from culinary mustard. 

Incidentally, the color of culinary mustard came from adding ground turmeric root to the mix. Mustard seeds are actually brown, black, or red.

Still, the color received its name and is incredibly popular in web and interior design.

Meaning of Mustard in Different Cultures 

Globally, yellow and its hues are generally associated with happiness, creativity, and diversity. Mustard does have other meanings, though:

  • In many Eastern and African cultures, mustard and yellow are associated with deities because it is close to gold in color.
  • Across the world, warning signs and traffic lights are yellow. See me!
  • In Chinese media, yellow is a term for adult-rated content.
  • In Japan, yellow means nobility and courage.
  • In France and Germany, it symbolizes jealousy.
  • In Buddhism, yellow stands for wisdom.
  • In Thai culture, yellow is considered a lucky color worn on Mondays.
  • Yellow stands for mourning in Burmese and Egyptian culture.

Psychological Meaning of Mustard

macro closeup of mustard wool yarn

Mustard Color Meaning

Here’s some insight into the meaning of mustard yellow, according to color psychology.


The color mustard symbolizes warmth, creativity, optimism, and diversity. 

The ever-changing shades of a sunrise or sunset give a sense of creativity in the sky, and the vast array of yellow, happy flowers are excellent examples of such diversity that cheer us up.  


When looking at the color mustard, you might feel encouraged or inspired to be creative, kinder, or try something new. 

Maybe it’s because it’s almost like a matt gold, and you feel blessed and generous and in a safe space to share yourself or your possessions.

Happy woman wearing mustard yellow hoodie

Diversity and open-mindedness

The positive connotations of mustard as a color include self-respect, support, repute, and acceptance.

These beautiful attributes are associated with those of a good, strong, kind leader or a place of refuge where you can hide and regroup without judgment.


The negative connotations associated with mustard as a color include arrogance, materialism, shyness, and reserved nature. These can be seen as opposites or mismanagement of the otherwise-good qualities. 

Think of a person who has a lot of gold coins. They really have a lot of those coins and give one out occasionally as a gift or donation.

Depending on the observer, the gold coin given could be seen as a generous gift from a kind person who has been blessed, or it could be seen as a miserly pittance of an offering from a materialistic hoarder.

Mustard as a color isn’t all glittery like gold, though. As a background color, it can cause eyestrain, depending on the color of the text, or it could annoy someone depending on their association with the color.

Colors That Go With Mustard

Whether you want to make a statement or just like the color mustard, it’s good to know the colors that complement it.

The good news is that you’ll find clothing, décor, tiles, and appliances sporting this retro color, as yellow mustard has made a comeback from the 70s.

The hex color code for mustard yellow is #FFDB58. Knowing this will save you a lot of time when ordering paints or telling your graphic designer exactly which shade of yellow you want in your logo. However, there are different shades of yellow mustard you might want to check out.

mustard-colored knitted sweaters on a white wooden bench

The colors that complement mustard are the following:

Blues: navy blue, cornflower blue, and turquoise

Greens: emerald green, sage green, and dark green

Pinks: mauve and light pink

Neutral colors: White and black

Earthy colors: cream, rust, tan, and beige

For more colors that go with mustard yellow, you can follow this link.

If you want to wear mustard yellow, you can go big or accessorize with this color – it depends on how much of a statement you would like to make.

When decorating, you will want to follow these tips on how to use mustard yellow in your home…a sprinkle here and an accent wall there. 

After all, even though mustard might be considered a dark, dull shade of yellow, think of the diverse hues of yellow and the cheeriness, diversity, creativity, and warmth they inspire.

Mustard Yellow And Navy Blue, Turquoise, Or Cornflower Blue – You can use either color on a floor or a wall in a room and create a contrast with the other. Contrasting items include bedding, a throw, curtains, towels, appliances, or a painted cabinet.

Mustard Yellow And White – If you like a minimalistic, modern look, you can add a splash of color to a neutral palette. Mustard yellow velvet cushions in a predominantly-white room will draw attention and brighten up the room in a cheerful way.

Mustard Yellow And Mauve Or Light Pink – You read right. The unlikely yellow-pink combo makes a super contrast that looks stylish and luxurious and makes a statement. Go for mauve if you feel bold or light pink if you want a softer contrast. 

Mustard Yellow And Black – Mustard yellow gives a good contrast against black. A mustard couch in a black and white room allows the couch to stand out while looking contemporary.

Mustard Yellow And Emerald Green, Sage Green, Or Dark Green – These color palettes beg for textures like velvets or brocades. Consider an item of furniture in one of these greens, and add mustard yellow curtains or a throw to the mix. 

Mustard Yellow And Tan, Beige, Or Rust – These colors, combined with mustard yellow, can give both earthy and modern vibes. Whether you have tanned leather couches, a russet-colored carpet, or beige wood finishes, a splash or more of mustard yellow goes well with them all.

Most Common Uses of Mustard Yellow

  • Fabric/clothing
  • Interior design
  • Toys

Mustard means: optimism, warmth, and acceptance
Effects of mustard: inspire creativity, irritates the eye, and uplifts the mood
Positive traits: uplifting, inspiring, and diverse
Negative traits: materialism, shyness, and arrogance