What are Warm & Cool Colours?

How do we know which colours are the best for each task? Now that’s a good question! Designers always talk about the terms like warm and cool colours. What do they really mean? Gaining an understanding of these terms will help you to determine what to look for when you are choosing colours for your home interiors.

Warm and Cool Colours - Image

Warm and Cool Colours

Interior designers use colours as one of their main tools for creating the beautiful home interiors! It can visually expand or shrink a space, raise and lower your ceilings, and even influence the way you feel. Let me tell you, after planning (of house) the colour is one of the most important aspects of design for any space or room. In order to design a space that promotes health, well-being, and beauty you also need to understand the psychology of colour. It can create or rejuvenate your mood, make you smile, relieve your stress and help you wander-off into a good night’s sleep!

Knowing which colours give a warm feel and which give a cool feel that can make the styling your home little bit easier. Isn’t it? Colour is a very wide concept to explore but, in this article, we would like to talk about what are Warm and Cool colours, its basic difference and how these warm and cool colours will help you while creating a colour scheme for your home interiors.

Understanding the Colour Wheel

Let’s start from the established colour wheel, and with primary colours, red, yellow and blue, as all the variety of other hues are achieved by mixing these three colours.

Colour Wheel

Colour Wheel

Colour wheel chart can help us to understand the general categories of warm and cool colours. They are readily available online or at any paint store to a select the pleasing warm and cool colours for your rooms to decorate!

You can quickly understand and feel the meaning associated the warm colours with the sun, as a source of life and warmth for all like Red, Yellow and Orange.  On the other hand, if we think of cool snowy mountains, we get the cool hues like Green, Blue and Violet. Knowing how to use the colour wheel to your advantage is an essential part of choosing the colour scheme for your home.

Which are Warm Colours? 

The side of the colour wheel that comprised of reds, yellows, oranges along with various other combinations of these colours, is typically referred to as warm colours.

Warm Colours

Warm colours often remind us the sunlight, sand, fire, and heat. Therefore, they usually attract attention and are generally perceived as energetic or exciting!

Warm Colour Shades

Warm colours give you the feeling of closeness and provide a very cosy environment. These colours can make the large rooms appear closer and more inviting. For example – If you have an overly large room, paint it in a darker colour with the warm colour tones; this will make your room appear cosier! Usually these colours tend to possess all the qualities of warmth, in that they are hot, spicy, stimulating and soothing to our emotions, which crave warmth. This is the reason why Red is the most successful colour in our consumer society and found with products such as Red lipstick, Coca-Cola, Ferrari, etc.

Warm Colour - Room Interior

In the interior, the warm colours work well with the traditional decorating style and also in social rooms of our house, such as the living, dining and kitchen. They are also ideal for restaurants and bars, where the socialising, eating and drinking are dominant!

Even for health purpose, these colours are also known to increase the effect of adrenaline (a hormone that increases rate of blood circulation, carbohydrate metabolism, etc.) and breathing rate, raise blood pressure and body temperature, thus makes you feel warmer. Obviously, the stronger the colour the more intense the effect.

Which are Cool Colours?

Cool colours are used to describe any colour those are calm or soothing in nature. Basically, it is the side of colour wheel where we see Blue, green, and violet colours. As for example when we think of a cool lake or water body, we generally see cool colours.

Cool Colours

Calming and serene, cool colours help to quiet the emotions and sharpen our thoughts, by allowing our mind to do the best work. This is why the cool blues are the most popular colour for business suits and shirts, as well as uniforms. Cool colours are therefore best for the rooms where the concentration, calmness and rest are most important, such as the bedroom, office, and nursery.

Cool colours can effectively reduce the heat in rooms that are too hot in the summer. If you have a room that gets plenty of sunshine, try balancing the glare with cool colours, like evergreen and sea blue.

Cool Colour Shades

Cool colours are also great for the small rooms,  where you want your room to appear large, as these colours have tendency to make your small room bigger.

Cool colours work well for the bedrooms where we like to relax such as ocean-blue bedroom, they absorb light instead of reflecting it. They have a tendency to “recede” (backing away from you) or “expand” a room by making space larger with comfort.

Cool Colour - Room Interior

Therefore, even in interior the cool tints are often used to paint the walls of a small room to look larger. For e.g. if we have a small bedroom and want to have a larger look, then paint  a wall with light blue colour to make it more spacious.

A successful room design will always have a combination of warm and cool colours in the design palette, but house one or the other should dominate. Colours often adds the “personality” to a space, as they are perfect for adding interest to ordinary rooms and balance well with the neutral colours.

Tell us your favorite room colours and share your experiences, we are eager to hear from you!

Also Read:

Hues – Tints – Shades – Tones: What is Difference?
How Does Human Eye Perceive Colour
Colour Terms for Your Home Interiors


Richa Parmar





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