image of three artificial skulls in blue, green and pink and with wavy lines and dots decorated on them, stacked on top of each other next to a tall candle, small tea candle, leafy plant, all photographed in front of a magenta coloured purple pink wall

How to take colour inspiration from Mexico’s Day of the Dead holiday

By Iona Bower on

We don’t think we’re alone when we say this time of year could always do with a little more colour and a little more joy… and some cool creepiness, too. Happily, there’s a festival for that. Here’s how to take colour inspiration from The Day of the Dead festival, perhaps the most colourful Mexican gem. 

This two-day holiday is one of the most important in Mexico’s calendar. It marks the moment that the ‘veil’ between this world and ‘the next’ is thinnest (yes, it’s very much like Hallowe’en - well spotted!) The first day is the Dia de Innocentes (day of the innocents, when the lives of lost children and babies are marked) on 1st November and the second is the Dia de Muertos on 2nd November. Don’t worry though - it might sound a bit sad but it’s a riotously joyous occasion, in which the spirits of family members and friends are believed to journey back to be with their loved ones again. And what could be more beautiful than that? 

It’s celebrated with feasting, dancing and decorations, including ‘ofrendas’ or altars which are carefully prepared for family members from the other side. Well, if you’ve come all that way, you’d expect a bit of a ‘do’ would you not? What ties all this together, though, is a vibrantly rich colour palette, from brightly coloured sugar skull sweets and multicoloured costumes to bold paper decorations, strung from ceilings. 


How to do ‘Day of the Dead’ colour.

You won’t go far wrong if you begin with a dark background. Feeling bold? A feature wall in our Electric Black paint colour has dark Day of the Dead style. Or for something slightly softer but still with otherworldly darkness, try our Loving Grey shade

As with all things, where there is darkness, there must also be light. So to your dark background, add bright, zingy colour pops. Day of the Dead is all about celebrating the light in the midst of darkness, and it’s a joyous festival, so reflect that with suitably bright tones from our Mexico Colour Edit, such as our bright hot pink Passionate Pink paint colour and our zingy Electric Yellow


Brightly coloured mexican style hat illustration on orange background
Mexico is one of the most colourful countries in the world and it inspired the curation of our colours throughout developing our initial paint palette. No wonder we've dedicated an entire paint edit to this glorious country.


Add a cool, Mexican backdrop with cobalt blues.

Cobalt or Cerulean blue creates an interior (or exterior for that matter) that transports you straight to the streets of Puebla. Soothing, cool and reminiscent of both deep blue skies and oceans, it’s a great colour to add to your Day of the Dead palette. Our ultramarine Electric Blue paint colour is one the YesColours’ ultimate bestseller, for its depth of shade and its rich, velvety finish.


YesColours Electric Blue painted wall with plant infront

Our bestselling, Yves Klein-inspired Electric Blue paint colour is the epitome of Electric. It's magical how a paint colour can be so beautifully vibrant, and almost like velvet once it's dry.


Let white shine out with skulls. Yes, skulls.

Skulls are ALL OVER Day of the Dead celebrations. You’ll find sugar skulls in treat bowls, paper skulls hanging in garlands on walls, skull candles decorated and lit on ‘ofrendas’ to honour the departed… YesColours’ Electric Hot White paint colour is the pure white of bone and the perfect nod to Day of the Dead skulls. Try it on the trim of a dark door or to pick out woodwork against a really rich wall colour.


image of three artificial skulls in blue, green and pink and with wavy lines and dots decorated on them, stacked on top of each other next to a tall candle, small tea candle, leafy plant, all photographed in front of a magenta coloured purple pink wall

Of course, we had our own Day of the Dead spin on Mexico's skull-loving activities. See how our Bradley has transformed these cheap artificial skulls into colourful Halloween decoration, created with our Mexico sample pot set. Bonus points: place your Halloween creation next to our Loving Pink paint colour for the ultimate autumnal dose of spookiness.


Don’t stint on the marigold orange. 

Marigolds are a massive part of Dia de Muertos. They’re the equivalent of poppies in the UK to commemorate Remembrance Day. Their bright orange petals and fresh scent are believed to guide the dead to their ‘ofredas’ or altars, left by the living. Make marigolds part of your colour scheme with YesColours’ leafy Friendly Green paint colour and our very marigoldy Electric Orange. We’re seeing a very calming Friendly Green hallway to welcome your party guests, with Electric Orange stair risers and bannisters, all framed with a marigold garland.


Get your best plates out.

Mexican interiors are known for their busy patterns, using vivid colours and geometric designs. You’ll see them on bathroom tiles, flooring and cushions. But most of all you’ll see it on Talavera plates, bowls and platters, laden with food for the fiesta. Highly patterned crockery in gorgeous jewel blues, greens, yellows and terracottas, piled high on a rustic party table are always a welcome sight. YesColours’ Friendly Green paint colour and our refreshingly bright Friendly Blue shade go beautifully together in a fresh kitchen area, picking out some of the shades in that fabulous Talavera pottery. 


In case you need more help with choosing the right paint colour for your space (or your small upcycling or DIY projects), feel free to book a colour consultation with us and we’ll sort your colour puzzle in no time. Free option is available too!

Share your YesColours home transformation by tagging us on Instagram.