decorating interior design

Design 101- Balancing Cool and Warm Colors

I was so focused on finishing up my boy’s room and too excited to share it with you that I neglected to post a Design 101  for the month of July!  So here it is a week later.  The past few Design 101s have discussed methods of creating balance in a room or space.  Today we will continue that conversation with regards to the balance of warm and cool colors in a space.

Warm colors include the colors red, orange, yellow, and perhaps brown (a warm neutral).  Cool colors are thought to include blue, green, purples and often gray (typically a cool neutral).  Whites can be warm or cool dependent on what undertones are used.

Use Color Wheel for Selecting Colors

Cool colors are often associated tranquility however if used in it’s brightest hues like turquoise or apple green the colors shout vitality and energy.  Too many cool colors in a room can make a space feel cold and unfriendly.  Although, I like the room below I feel it could benefit from a few more warm toned accents.



Likewise too many warm colors in a room can make the space feel closed in or drab.



It is best to have a mix of warm and cool colors in a space to provide a feeling of balance to the room.  If  you have a preference for warm or cool colors that’s okay just make sure to add at least a few items in the opposing set of colors.  I love the combination below–blues and grays with a punch of orange and a touch of brown to balance the cool colors.


via HGTV


Finishes can also give off a warm or cool tone.  For example gold finishes used in frames, hardware, lighting etc. read warm and chrome and brushed nickel read cool.  Rubbed oil bronze reads pretty neutral to me.

You can observe in the photo below how much warmth the gold accents above the mantle radiate in the room.

Here are some rooms that I think do a fabulous job of balancing cool and warm tones!  See if you get spot the warm and cool features and accents employed in these spaces.

 I personally gravitate towards cool colors and love to use yellows to balance out all my blues and greens (like below)



 GRADE via Houzz



Did you find the cool and warm colors in these spaces?  In a lot of ways decorating is like a balancing act.  When you add or change one element in a space in can make the room off balance and color is one aspect to examine if a space is not feeling right to you.

I am about to undertake a big change at our house.  We (myself, one hired professional, and at times my hubby) will be ripping up our gray tile and white carpet on our main level and will be installing engineered wood flooring (about 1200 sq ft. of it) starting this week.  It will be a crazy week or so!  But I already know that although I’m super excited about the new flooring it’s going to throw off the balance of cools and warms in my entry way and that I will subsequently need to do some painting.

Wood floors are almost always warm in tone and feeling so I don’t think the beige paint in the entry way is going to work for me especially since I prefer cooler tones.    I will of course share (eventually) photos of the process and I hope to check in again this week with a DIY from the Boys’ Bedroom Reveal.

What colors do you gravitate towards?

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