decorating your home with warm and cool colors

Warm vs. Cool Color Schemes

In order to design a space that promotes health, well-being, and beauty you need to understand the psychology of color.  There are psychological effects that not only individual colors but color combinations can have on us.  As professional designers we know what colors give you a warm cozy feeling and which ones create a peaceful serene atmosphere.  Here we will discuss the differences between warm and cool colors, color combinations, and an overview of colors for your interior.  Within your home interior the location of color can make a difference in influencing the room’s character and atmosphere.  Interior Affairs takes your personal preferences, lifestyle, and the spaces physical structure such as lighting and architectural details to create a design and color palette that will best match your objectives, needs, and dreams.

Warm Colors

warm mirrors

  • Warm colors tend to be orange, red, yellow, and combinations of these colors.  Emotionally and mentally we think of the sun and that gives us the feeling of warmth, so these colors are energizing and soothing to our emotions
  • Warm colors are stimulating so typically are suitable for active rooms of your home; such as the rooms in your home where you entertain and socialize
  • Warm colors look as though they come closer, which is why they have the ability to make large rooms look cozier

Cool Colors

Grey bathroom

  • Cool colors such as blue, green and light purple remind us subconsciously of water and sky so instantly have the ability to calm and soothe
  • With cool colors they quiet emotions and hone in our thoughts so are perfect for office and spaces in your home where you need to concentrate
  • Cool colors look as though they recede, so they are a great tool to make a smaller room seem larger

Hybrid Colors

Hybrid Colors

  • When looking at a color wheel warm colors are on one side and cool colors on the other side, where they meet they mix forming hybrids.
  • These hybrids can be warm or cool depending on how they are mix, such as lime green has a lot of yellow in it and is warm, where Kelly green has more blue in it and runs cool

create balance in your bathroom

Create Balance

  • When designing a space we want to use a combination of warm and cool colors; for example if we are designing a family room that the client wants a cozy space where they can relax and be together we would use warm colors are the dominate colors and add touches here and there of cool colors
  • The benefits of hiring an interior designer is that we can look at your space as a whole and it is important that all elements within the design to be sure to have balance as well as contrast
  • In order for us as professional designers to help you have balance in your home you must think about the mood you want to create; what type of atmosphere do you want to create for you, you family, and your guests

warm couches

Note on Black and White

  • Thought both black and white do not count as proper colors (black is all colors and white is the absence of color), they do have warm and cool properties which is important to know when using them:
    • White is cool, and tends to be cold so in order to make the space psychically comfortable you need to add warmth with other colors and elements.
    • Black is warm, but needs to be used sparingly because it can easily overwhelm. A little black will go a long way.

Color Combinations

  • A color scheme for your home is crucial, choosing a complementary color scheme you will have a very intense energetic color scheme and this could cause you discomfort
  • With each step up from monochromatic to analogous to complementary to triadic; you add a little more energy and a little more interest.
  • Choosing a color scheme goes back to balance and setting a successful design and color palette into space to create the appropriate atmosphere and mood
    • Triadic color schemes combine two warm and one cool color or two cool and one warm color by using three paint colors such as red, yellow and blue, or purple, green and orange.
    • Complementary colors sit opposite each other on the wheel, as do purple and yellow, blue and orange or red and green.
    • Analogous colors sit side-by-side on the color wheel such as yellow, yellow-orange and orange
    • Monochromatic color schemes involve using one color in various tints and shades, as in variation of the shades of reds to light pinks


  • You must look at the rooms in your home to see how natural light comes in throughout the day; natural light may help determine the colors chosen for that room
  • A darker shade at the end of a long narrow hallway; the darker colors recede and create an illusion of width. Whereas with light colors it would advance
  • Using neutral muted colors help reduce visual weight and can make a space seem larger, while bright intense colors add visual weight to a space
  • Using a dark colored paint for your ceiling it will direct your eye to head level allowing focus to be on walls and furnishings
  • Consider your lighting, this can affect things dramatically. Incandescent light brings warmth and yellow tones out in color where fluorescent is more cool and brings out more green and blue

Warm bathroom colors


Red can be a very energetic color and is mainly used as an accent color; more saturated reds create a dynamic space whereas saturated brown-reds invite you into a room and bring warmth.

warm living room with red colors


Orange has versatility to be energizing with bright colors or burnt orange for a rich warm space.  In your home orange has the ability to be lively like this bedroom below where we paired a bright orange with pink; there is warmth and comfort to this room to relax but also a spark of energy to get one moving for the day.

decorating your bed room with warm orange colors


Mid-tone brown color schemes provoke richness and relaxation, in this bathroom we used brown throughout the space to create a backdrop to the unique tile work, leaded glass window, and warm granite.

Decorating your bathroom with warm brown colors


Yellow reminds us of the sun so instinctively reminds us of warmth and comfort but can be distracting in your home interior.  In the picture below you can see yellow through the lighting and fabric which creates a relaxed serene atmosphere.

Decorating you kitchen with warm and cool yellows


Day to day we look around and see green in nature and this is why it gives one a sense of security and relaxation.  It has the ability to create a calm and safe space.

decorating your living room with cool natural green colors


Blue can be a soothing color and can also provide a dramatic backdrop depending on the shade of blue.  When we see blue it brings us comfort and relaxation since it is seen in nature.

decorating your home and outside with cool blue colors


Gray has the ability to make things seems more exclusive, it is a great neutral color to blend into the space.  It also inspires creative people to become more creative.

decorating the inside of your shower with gray colors


White is neutral and clean and creates lightness but can also create a very sterile space.  It can be harsh in some interior environments; yet can also indicate refinement and sophistication.


Black should be used as an accent color it can be heavy or threatening if used improperly.  Black also has the ability to be dramatic which you can see in the picture below when paired with white in a large scale patterned wall paper.

decorating your home with small accents of black color