Warm and Cool Room Color

Room color has a visual temperature. It can be warm or cool... or even both at the same time! Confused? Keep reading and everything will become clear...

When coordinating paint colors, pay attention to their visual temperatures.

What Makes Room Color Warm or Cool?

paint color wheel helps understand room color

If you look at the paint color wheel, you will notice that one half of it looks and feels warm, while the other appears cool. That is why most people call green, blue, indigo and violet cool or cold colors, and refer to red, orange and yellow as warm or hot hues.

But it doesn't stop there. Virtually every color can be perceived as warm or cool - it all depends on what you are comparing it to.

For example, traditionally, green is seen as a cool color. But if you compare pure green to moss green, you will realize that moss green looks warm in comparison. If you place the same pure green next to sea green, pure green will appear warmer now, and so on.

Undertones are another explanation of this phenomenon. Moss green has some yellow added to it (yellow undertone), that's why it reads as warm. Sea green is mixed with a bit of blue (blue undertone), which reinforces its coolness.

Warm and Cool Room Color Tricks

cool blue room color

In a way, wall paint colors are all chameleons - they change appearance based on the context and lighting of your room.

Different interior paint finishes can also alter a color's temperature - shiny finishes will make colors appear cooler, while flat finishes will add some warmth.

Warm colors are advancing, they tend to move closer to you (visually of course!). That is why they are a great choice for painting large rooms - they help create a cozy and intimate atmosphere. Also, warm colors make your space feel warmer.

Cool colors visually recede and are recommended for small rooms. Plus, they are popular in hot climates, where they balance out the heat and promote the feeling of freshness.

Coordinating Warm and Cool Paint Colors

coordinating warm and cool room colors

You can build your home color scheme only around cool colors. Or you can decide to use warm hues exclusively in your decor.

But the best room color schemes include both warm and cool colors.

You can warm up a cool color palette by adding a red, orange or yellow accent. To cool down a warm color theme, add a touch of blue, indigo or violet, or just use a live green plant. The result will be more balanced and interesting.

Paint Color Cheat Sheets
Paint Color Cheat Sheets

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