If you’ve ever bought a brown-colored piece of furniture, such as a couch or love seat, and then placed it on top of a soft blue rug – but couldn’t figure out why the pairing just isn’t working as well as you thought it might – chances are you could use some pointers about decorating with warm and cool colors. Especially if you’d like to add some pizzaz in your home life rather than settling for non-threatening beige everywhere.
Here’s some of what you need to know, courtesy of ApartmentTherapy.com:
Warm colors include reds, oranges, yellows, creamy colors and beige. Greens, blues and grays are cool colors. For a refresher, take a look at the Color Wheel and you’ll see that the warms are on one side while the cools are on another. Greens and purples are hybrids, so a lime green with a lot of yellow in it can run warm, while a Kelly green uses more blue, causing it to be cooler.
Warm colors are stimulating, while cool colors tend to have a calming effect. Warms can be soothing to our emotions, which is one theory behind the use of red in consumer products such as Coca-Cola and lipstick. Not to mention that fire-engine red Ferrari. Warms should be used in the more social areas of your home, such as the kitchen and living room. Cools, on the other hand, are soothing to our intellect. So, they should be used in more private areas of the home such as nurseries, bedrooms and offices – where a sense of calm and rest is needed.
Decide ahead of time what kind of effect you want in a room and choose colors accordingly, taking care to avoid those disruptive color pairings such as the brown sofa (warm) and powder-blue rug (cool).
And when you do mix and match colors and tones, use the 80/20 principle: Go with 80% neutral colors and 20% strong colors – just as a woman might use bright lipstick on her lips while going with neutral tones everywhere else.