How to Use Warm and Cool Colors in Home Decor for a Balanced Feel

Updated: Feb 23, 2020


Can you feel the difference in the two paintings?



For warmth, Summer Sun, on top, is filled with warm hues of yellow, orange and brown. The vibrancy of the intense colors adds a liveliness to the painting and mimics one of those hot hazy days of summer!


The vitality of such ardent colors adds energy to a room. Place a painting with predominantly warm colors in an active room such as a kitchen, game room, family room.


For coolness: Evening Shadows, the painting below, Summer Sun, has predominantly cool tones of blues and green. For me, the cooler colors give a bit more mystic feel to the painting. The energy is less, and the piece seems more restful.


The relaxing nature of cool colors makes it the perfect combination to ease into a bedroom or living room where the mood is quieter.


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Color Psychology

The impact of color is known as color psychology. Color can affect your mental and physical health. With color having such a strong impact on our lives, you may find a blend of warm and cool suits your personality best.



How to Balance Warm and Cool Colors

Omitting golden yellows from a palette can be tricky.


Notice the subtle mix of yellow-greens and itty-bitty touches of red-orange in the primarily blue in the painting above, Evening Shadows.


Often a strictly blue color palette will leave you feeling chilled, like the bite of a winter day with its crisp air that creeps through your skin and seeps deep into your bones. Just a hint of warm colors can thaw that arctic feeling.

In the art below, notice the Balance of Warm and Cool Colors:



In your home: Compare the balance of warm and cool

Notice in the photo above how the intense warm hue of the cherry wood night stand softens the cool, crisp tints of blue. 


Whereas, in the photo below, the quieter warm hue of beige in the chair, carpet, and wall color, creates less balance compared to the cherry wood above. In the photo below, the cool blues and black dominate the warm neutrals give this setting more energy.



Add a warm intense color like orange and your neutrals and blues will become more lively, like below:


Next, instead of an intense warm value of orange, soft peach tones are featured. These quieter tones balance nicely against the pale blue hues which are less cool in value than intense royal blues or aquas above.



Balance warm and cool colors in art


For those artists in the group, or placing art in your home, much thought should be given to the colors chosen. Those choices will anchor the painting's personality. Compare the two different moods of the paintings below. Warm verses cool.


Notice how the top painting filled with warm colors is filled with more energy and vitality than the calmer and more restful cool colors in the painting below.


A Balance of Warm and Cool Colors should match your personality


Which color combinations fit your personality?

Cool? Are you quieter, soft-spoken?

Warm? Is your personality more robust? Full of energy?


By mixing warm and cool tones you can create different moods. It's part of color psychology.

Have fun playing with color!

Click here: Take a 10-second color quiz to learn why you're drawn to certain colors.