I was under the understanding that yêu was reserved for romantic love and "to love" an object would be more like ưa thích. Am I mistaken?
In the south, we definitely don't use yêu for things. We only like (thích) or really like (rất thích). Lately with the influence of English, I do hear some young people say love (yêu) for things, but it's still not a natural thing.