How to use Warm and Cool colours in interior design

Moretti Blog   •   January 24, 2018

How to use Warm and Cool colours

Colours are a fundamental element when designing a new room or a full house, they change the way we experience a space, how we connect with it and they have a big role when creating the mood and the atmosphere of the space.

Colour is a very wide concept to explore but in this article, we would like to talk about how to use Warm and Cool colours and the difference between warm and cool colours that will help you when creating a colour scheme.

Let’s start from the established colour wheel and from its so-called primary colours, such as red, yellow and blue, called primary as all the variety of other hues is achieved by mixing these three colours.

Colour wheel chart can help us to understand the general categories of warm and cool colours that how we will see later in the article are not so fixed.

The colour wheel chart is divided into two main categories: warm and cool. You can grasp the meaning associating the warm colours with the sun, as a source of life and warmth for all.  So traditionally warm colours are red, orange and yellow. On the other hands, if we think of cool snowy mountains, for example, we get the cool hues: green, blue and violet.  The basic colours wheel is split into two halves, a warm half and a cool half.

What is important to have in mind when it comes to the interior design is that warm colours tend to advance, meaning tend to convey the space cosier and to reduce the space while the cool colours tend to recede meaning expanding a room or space.

Cool and warm colour general difference

kitchen red glass splashback interior design

Warm colours: they go from yellow to red range reminding us heat and sunshine, intense emotions and passion, joy and playfulness.

They can be stimulating, so they are a great choice for social rooms and room that see a lot of activity such as living room, dining room and kitchen.

They also attract attention and are generally perceived as energetic or exciting. As a feeling, they create a room cosy and full of positive energy.

modern bathroom interior walk in shower mosaic

Cool colours: they sit on the blue, green range of the colour wheel, they are generally perceived as soothing and calm, they are the ability to create a sense of calmness, reminding us calming natural elements like water and sky.

Perfect for private rooms where important is concentration, tranquillity and rest like a bedroom, office and nursery.

They are also great for small rooms you want to appear large, as they can make a small room bigger, full of positive energy.

This is the general understand and the simple classification of warm and cool colours but examining deeper this concept you’ll see how every colour can be warm or cool and all depends on the colour undertone.

While all cool colours have a slight blue tint to them the warm colour have a slight yellow tint instead.

You will define a yellow warm for example when its tone tends towards red, a yellow is cool instead when it has a bit of green in it. With the same way of thinking you can understand the difference and identify a warm colour from its cool tones.

Grey and White and neutral also can be cool or warm, depending on their undertone as well as all colours.

Finishes can also give off a warm or cool tone. For example, gold finishes used in frames, hardware, lighting etc. have a warm feeling while chrome and brushed nickel can be read as cool.

When designing a room or a full house do not restrict yourself to a warm or cool colour scheme, but try to balance them. For cosy and homey places where warm colours are dominant, there should be at least one cool shade to enhance visual balance. The same counts in the opposite situation, both for balances and contrast.

Moretti Interior Design can help you to create beautiful spaces. For more information or to book a consultation, contact us today.

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