Most people know that there is a difference between warm colors and cool colors. But that’s usually the extent of their knowledge. The fact of the matter is that when decorating, balancing warm and cool colors is essential if you want optimal flow.
It’s not hard to remember which colors are warm and which ones are cool. Your instincts are probably better than you think. Colors like red, yellow, and orange are usually warm colors. They remind one of the sunshine and fire.
Colors like blue, green, and purple are usually cool colors. They remind one of the ocean and winter. After you learn what warm colors and cool colors feel like, you can start using them to decorate.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
Warm Colors On Black And White
Although black and white aren’t considered “colors” like red, blue, and yellow, they are considered colors when decorating. When you use them, they usually have a cool feel to them when used together.
However, white is considered cool, and black is considered warm, the two together are cool like grey. Because of this, using a warm color like red to back it up is a good idea. That way, your room doesn’t feel too stark or stale.
Warm Yellow Used With Brown
Yellow and brown are both considered warm colors. However, if you add blue or green tints to the yellow, it can be cool. Whenever you use yellow as the main color, you will probably be using a warm yellow.
When you do this, adding neutral browns as opposed to black, white, or grey is your best bet. Black can drag warm yellow down while white and grey collide. For these reasons, brown is by far the best neutral companion to warm yellow.
Plants Cool A Room
Warm colors will make you think of summer, but that doesn’t mean that all summer colors are warm. Green is one of the cool colors of summer. If you want to bring life into your house without adding cool colored decor, try adding a plant.
Since plants go well with any color, the cool color of the green can hardly be considered when balancing colors. This makes it the perfect piece to add to an already warm room. It cools the room passively.
Black Warms A Room
If you want to warm a room without adding red or orange, then consider adding black. Black walls can be too much most of the time, so black flooring is the perfect solution. However, if the flooring is too much for you, accents work well too.
Black feels like a cool color because it reminds one of darkness. But it’s actually warm with white being cool. A black flooring will act as a backdrop and warm your room up. That way, you can still use whatever other colors you want.
Black And White Neutralize
Using black as your neutral color can warm a room up and using white as your neutral color can cool it down. But using them both together can neutralize a room and give you a blank slate to work with.
If you use black and white together, you’ll probably want to add small touches of color. But if you don’t, it still works well as its own color, especially when the black and white are in a tightly-knit pattern.
The 80/20 Rule
While warm colors and cool colors aren’t meant to be mixed up randomly, there is a rule of thumb. When using warm and cool colors together, try going for 80% cool colors and 20% warm colors, or vice versa.
This works especially well when the offset color, the 20% color, is a bright color. For example, if you have white floors and cool furniture, then you may not want to paint your walls a warm color as that would still be too much warmth.
Warm Walls And Cool Floors
If you want to mix and match your floor and walls, then you still can. Just make sure that the offset color, usually the floor, is a neutral tone. Grey is a great color to use as your neutral tone as it works well both ways.
If you want to use black, white, or brown, that works too. Just make sure that you don’t use any bright colors unless strategically picked and placed. If you follow a few simple rules, you can use warm walls and cool floors.
Cool Colors Calm A Room
Cool colors are usually reserved for more private settings like bathrooms and bedrooms these days. That’s because cool colors are calming and peaceful. If you love the word “zen” and live life avoiding stress, then you need a cool colored bedroom.
Whatever room you feel you spend the most time in needs to be done in cool colors. If you have an at-home office then cool colors can help you stress less at work and get more done because of it.
Paint One Wall With Cool Colors
If you’re still trying to balance warm and cool colors then consider using an accent wall to make up the difference. Use warm colors throughout the room with the cool color being reserved for that accent wall.
Feature walls are in right now and they can make a huge statement in an otherwise standard room. Use a mural to amp things up or simply paint the wall your favorite cool tone. Or, if you want something that isn’t permanent, get stick-on paneling.
Bright Yellow To Light Up A Cool Room
Although cool colors are calming and feel like a breath of fresh air, they also have their downfalls. For example, cool colors tend to be just that. Cool. They can appear dark and even dank. But what can you do to brighten it up?
While red and orange can add to that mustiness, yellow does nothing but brighten things up. A bright yellow can be just what your cool room needs to balance it out and breathe life into it. Keep it to a minimum and you’re good to go.
White Brings Attention Inward
If you’re adding white to your room, try putting the white decor close to the center of the room or wall. Black colors work well as a frame while white colors draw the eye in, making the room appear bigger.
This even works if you have warm colors in your room. White and black are cheat colors, allowing you to use them no matter which color scheme you go with. So even if you have browns and reds, white is still allowed.
Keep Bright Colors To A Minimum
Meaning, even if you’re following the 80/20 rule, you still want to make sure that you keep bright colors toned down. If you do use bright colors then keep them together rather than spread out around the room.
If you spread colors out, they will make a room look cluttered. Keep them low or high, not both. And don’t choose too many bright colors, try focusing on one color that is warm if your color scheme is warm and vice versa.
Warm Colors Are Inviting
We’ve already talked about how cool colors are relaxing, but what perks to warm colors have? The main draw in warm colors is that they are inviting. Like a hot cup of cocoa on Christmas, warm colors are welcoming.
A room with a fireplace in the winter looks better with warm colors. That’s because warm colors get their name from the fact that they feel like they truly warm a room. That and dark colors retain heat.
Gold Accents For Warm Colors
It’s common knowledge that gold and silver work differently when used to decorate. Gold is to be used with warm colors while silver is to be used with cool colors. Interchanging them can make a room look eccentric.
If the eccentricity is what you are looking for, then, by all means, merge gold and silver. However, if you want to keep things traditional and classy, then use gold only with warm colors. Silver is only slightly more forgiving.
Single Pieces Of Bright Furniture
We’ve talked about how limiting bright colors is tasteful. But this advice shouldn’t be a deterrent in using bright colors at all. Bright colors can add personality and character to a room. Not to mention, they are retro.
If you do decide to use bright colors, try picking out a key piece of furniture and use warm or cool colors according to it. Because we all know that neutral colors are easier to work with than bright colors.
So, find what works for you and go for it!