Warm & Cool Colors: What They Are & How To Decorate With Them


Color is one of the most important aspects of any room’s design. It can set a mood or bring back memories of a faraway place. Colors can even make you smile, relieve stress, and assist you in drifting off to sleep. 

So, how do you figure out which colors are best for which jobs? That is an excellent question. Warm colors and cool colors are terms that designers frequently use. But what exactly do they imply? Understanding these terms will assist you in determining what to look for when selecting colors for your home.

Everyone should understand colors because they are divided into two categories: warm and cool. And designing with these colors is an entirely different experience.

Are you ready to learn the fundamentals of using warm and cool colors in your home? Let’s get started!

Warm Colors

Orange, red, yellow, and combinations of these and similar colors make warm colors. They make you think of warm things, such as sunlight and heat, as the name implies.

Warm colors, like dark colors, appear to approach or advance, which is why they’re frequently used to make large rooms feel cozier. If you want to feel more intimate in a larger space, consider painting it a warm color like terra-cotta or brown.

Cool Colors

Blue, green, and light purple are examples of cool colors. They can relax and soothe. Warm colors enchant up images of heat and sunshine, while cool colors conjure up images of water, sky, ice, and snow.

Cool colors, unlike warm colors, appear to recede, making them ideal for small rooms that need to enlarge. Cool-toned wall art for every room is also the best option for decoration. 

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The Role Of Black And White

Although black and white are not natural colors, they have their own cool and warm properties. Many people are surprised to learn this, especially when they realize how important it is to decorate their homes: 

White is the coolest color. The warmest color is black. Isn’t it surprising?

It indicates that a safe white choice for painting an entire room is cool. And you’ll need to come up with fun and colorful accessories to make it comfortable and inviting.

On the other hand, black is a warm color that is used with caution not to overwhelm. The contrast between the two is a timeless classic.

Room Location

Throughout the day, natural light has a different effect on each room. The colors you choose for the room are also influenced by natural lighting. For a pleasing balance of analogous colors, use warm colors such as red, shades of orange, and yellow in rooms.

The use of both colors in a room with southern exposure can be beneficial. Cool pale colors like light blue or mint green can make a room appear larger. Use dark tones of red, brown, or gold to create a more intimate atmosphere. Dark colors define and draw in the space, while light moulding and ceiling colors make a room appear larger.

The Color Plan

Begin by choosing one warm color for the main living area. With at least three or more supporting cool colors for the kitchen, foyer, bedrooms, and baths, all found on the same paint color chip. 

For example, in the family room and adjoining halls, use various khaki or butter yellow shades for warmth. And filter in the cooling influences of blue, lilac, and green in adjacent rooms. Reverse the order and use warm tones as supporting colors in adjoining rooms if you prefer cool colors. Finally, to harmonize cool and warm tones in each space, mix draperies, furniture, and accessories.

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Using Brown

Brown has a natural feel to it, and in the world of design, that can be enough to make a space feel warm and inviting. It’s a mix of black, yellow, red, orange, green, and even purple, rather than a single color. 

Brown is a neutral color that reminds people of pleasant things (chocolate, coffee, etc.) and nature. According to psychology, Brown is a relaxing color that makes us feel safe and secure, commonly used at home.

Warmer brown solutions are used because of their welcoming nature, resulting in a polished that reflects a warm personality and excellent taste. Rustic rooms are best with unpolished wood or similar textures.


You should not limit yourself to just one warm or cool color in either case. There should be one cool shade in a cozy and homey space where warm colors are dominant to maintain visual balance.

In the opposite situation, the same holds for both balances and contrasts. Consider the overall flow of your space when using both warm and cool colors. Estimate the impact of adjacent rooms, their specific shortcomings and characteristics, light access, and size constraints.

Use appealing contrasts, such as a warm vanilla wooden shelf against a navy-painted wall to make the experience more enjoyable. Colors are the essence of dynamics, and their ‘temperature’ is a precise indicator of how much people enjoy looking at them.

Colors should be chosen based on the mood you want to create. For example, warm tones should be used rather than cool tones to make a secluded and intimate atmosphere. If you’re looking for peace, blue is the way to go!

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80/20 Rule

Remember that intense colors should be used sparingly to punctuate a room rather than to define it completely. The universal design recommendation is to use 80% neutral colors and 20% stronger colors.

The concept is similar to that of makeup: red lipstick is applied to only a tiny portion of a woman’s face. The rest is light and neutral. That’s also how you balance rooms.

The 80/20 rule states that colors are crucial in every room. And whether or not a room attracts attention is entirely dependent on them.

As a result, they look great on accent surfaces like walls, soft rugs, large curtains, and even chairs. Colors are just strong enough to give a room everything it requires to be appealing. And it’s made up entirely of solid colors (20%) and neutrals (80%).

The Bottom Line 

Do not limit yourself to a warm or cool color scheme when designing the whole house; instead, try to balance them. There should be at least one cool shade in a cozy and homey space where warm colors are dominant to maintain visual balance. In terms of balances and contrast, the same is true in the opposite situation.