A Basic Primer -- Warm and Cool Colors

Artists, interior designers and painters are very familiar with the tonalities of different colors. You want a room to have all warm or cool colors, regardless of how eclectic or serene your personal taste may be. As a color consultant friend explains, if you have that pillow (or rug or bedspread) that you bought because you loved it, and you just can't figure out why this beautiful item just looks out of place in the room....guaranteed it's because it's the wrong color tone for the rest of the room.

Simply, "warm" colors correspond to the natural colors of sunset and daylight. "Cool" colors correspond to a gray or overcast day. Historically, the peak contrast is between reds, oranges, browns and yellows...and greens, blues and most grays.

Cool colors are said to be calming and relaxing. And warm colors are energizing and active. Some famous examples include fast food restaurants, which are notorious for using warm colors in the dining areas--to encourage customers to eat quickly and leave, accelerating the table turnover. Many municipal buildings or hospitals, in which people are more likely to have high anxiety, are painted in muted cool colors.

In your home, you can apply this practically to the different functions of your spaces. A bedroom is mostly for sleeping, so cool, calm blues and greys, maybe with grey-violets are a great choice. My friend adds subtle orange accents (pillows, accessories) for a little zing in the love-life.

A dining room and kitchen can be more active. Here you may want more energizing colors. Also consider so-called "Food Colors" that take their tones from nature and look great with food! After all, we eat with our eyes, right?

Bathrooms can go either direction. I've seen vibrant jewel-box bathrooms with saturated reds and corals. And if a Spa-like feel is what you crave, those water and nature colors are what you'll want.

Just a word about white. You may be aware that there are hundreds of shades of white. After all, white isn't a color--it's a combination of different colors to create what the eye sees as "white." Just like other shades, white can come in warm and cool colors. So be sure to place the colors swatches together when selecting your white paint and accessories--and if you just can't tell the difference, find someone who has a great feel for color. Some of us just see the color combinations clearly, and many Interior Designers and Painters do color consultations as well.

Just reach out to me to discuss any color choices for your upcoming projects. 516-946-3771 or anthonygolio@yahoo.com.