It might seem strange to use temperature measurements when talking about colors, but certain hues are warmer than others. Warm colors may evoke sunshine and activity, but cool colors create a calm and welcoming atmosphere, because the colors are not as intense. Below, we've shared how warm and cool colors have distinct strengths and weaknesses, which can be harnessed to create confident color schemes.
When defining warm vs. cool colors, it's important to understand how color can affect a person's psychological state. Generally, warm colors are more dominant in a painting or home interior, and this is because the pigments have a lighter value and higher saturation. These colors can be psychologically stimulating, and when used in interior design, they have the effect of making a room feel cozier. When you want to grab the viewer's attention, warm colors are the way to go.
On the other hand, cool colors tend to play a background role in viewers' minds, so they're more relaxing than warm colors. Interior designers love using cool colors to make a room feel more spacious than it actually is, and these colors have a psychologically calming effect.
Are all colors considered warm or cool?
In defining warm vs. cool colors, it may be tempting to classify them in absolute terms, but the most accurate way to categorize colors is in comparison with one another. This relative method defines a color as "warm compared to color", or "cool compared to color", but it never says that a color is fundamentally warm or cool.