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How to decorate with warm and cool colour palettes


Knowing which colours give a warm feel and which give a cool feel makes styling your home that little bit easier.

Warm colours

Warm colours have tones of red and yellow, they’re cosy, and as the colour group suggests, they can make you feel warm. These colours are great to feature in large rooms because they create an intimate feel.

Cool colours

As you may imagine, a cool colour is the opposite of a warm colour, it contains tones of blue and green instead of those red and yellow tones found in warm colours. These colours are often associated with calm and peaceful environments. When thinking about your space, generally speaking, cool colours can make a room feel bigger because cool colours recede.

What are the rules?

There are piles of design and colour principles out there to guide people with the use of colour. However, more than ever our spaces and the colours we use are becoming more and more personal.

Our spaces are becoming truly individual as people strive for something that is uniquely them. In many cases, this means breaking some long-standing rules of colour and in many cases pulling it off well.

The colours we use can create truly individual looks.

When we think of warm and cool spaces a common question is: “Can you mix warm and cool colours together in the same scheme, and if so, how?”

Sometimes, this can happen without you even realizing! The hue and tone of the colours you are using will determine this.

Using colours correctly

Here are some classic colour combinations that demonstrate how warm and cool colours can look spectacular together, and really create a statement in a living space.

Mustards & blues

The warmth of yellow, mustard and violets against the cool tones of blue, teal and steel can work in a variety of tones and saturation.

Corals & greens

Combinations of coral and greens have a lovely, fresh and simple vibe.


Warm and cool neutrals used wisely are anything but boring, proving great compliments to one another. Together they can add interest and layers to a space.

Warm & cool neutrals

Just like the punchy warm and cool colours shown above, we, in fact, have warm and cool neutrals as well. The differences here are obviously more subtle, but obvious when examined closely. Check out the warm grey and the cool grey below.

Warm grey

Cool grey

Experiment and use swatches to get more inspiration around what works and what doesn’t use, and resources such as Pinterest, to find looks you love.

This article was originally published as Decorating with warm & cool colour palettes by and is written by Naomi Findlay.

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