Learn What Moods Warm Colors and Cool Colors Evoke

Kathryn Marsh
Written by Kathryn Marsh
Updated June 3, 2015
breakfast nook in kitchen
Balance a room with the use of warm and cool colors. (Photo courtesy of Kathryn Interiors)

Interior designers use color as one of their main tools when creating beautiful interiors.

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Color takes on a different meaning for everyone, and we all have different preferences based on our personal experiences and individual outlooks. But colors can be used to create a mood and evoke an emotional response when you enter a space. For example, a space can have a dynamic, tranquil, romantic or even contemplative mood. Color can also be used to control temperature, or how a color feels in a space.

Color yourself knowledgeable with this information on basic colors, their temperature and the mood words associated with them. Note that each color has varying shades, tints and tones, which slightly modify the message and feeling.

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Warm colors

light on yellow wall
Yellow is a great color for brightening a space. (Photo by Katelin Kinney)


Yellow brings a cheery outlook to any room, and is the most visible of all colors. Yellow is especially great for brightening up small spaces and rooms. Exuding a friendly nature, yellow is perfect for gathering areas such as family rooms, kitchens and dining rooms.

Words that are frequently used in association with yellow: friendly, happy, sunny, warming, cheerful, bright


A color that says, “Notice me,” red is anything but shy. It’s important to consider the intensity of the shade, the amount and where in the room it’s being used. Red can add excitement and drama to small spaces, like a powder room. Muted shades convey a feeling of elegance or a sense of tradition.

Words that are frequently used in association with red: energetic, powerful, passionate, dynamic, exciting, sexy, attention getting


Many people commonly misconstrue red as the hottest color, but orange takes the title.

Orange radiates energy and warmth into any space. Some shades, such as coral, are great in dining rooms and kitchens. Bedrooms and bathrooms benefit from the soothing tones of peach. Shades closer to red have a more sensuous and sultry feeling.

Words that are frequently used in association with orange: sociable, flamboyant, self-assured, energizing

INFOGRAPHIC: The Psychology of Color

Cool colors

blue wall in formal dining room
The word tranquil is often associated with the color blue. (Photo by Frank Espich)


Due to its popularity, blue is sometimes referred to as “the world’s favorite color.” Blue gives a feeling of constancy because of its association with the ever-present blue sky. It’s a favorite for bedrooms because of its relaxing feel, and its association with water makes it perfect in bathrooms.

Words that are frequently used in association with blue: cool, tranquil, dependable, aquatic, restful, authoritative


Green is considered the most versatile color due to the plethora of shades in existence. There is a green that will work with any color scheme. It’s also considered a bridge between the warm and cool colors because of its location in the visible spectrum. Green is associated with nature, and can be used to create spaces from trendy to traditional.

Words that are frequently used in association with green: healthy, fresh, soothing, growth, traditional, wealth


Purple is an equal mix of red and blue, including the boldness of red and the calmness of blue. The lighter shades of purple convey the feeling of gentle softness, romance and a restful atmosphere perfect for bedrooms. Deeper shades of purple can be used in kitchens and dining rooms because of their association with food; think grapes, eggplant, wine and berries.

Words that are frequently used in association with purple: spiritual, romantic, royal, creative, enchanting

RELATED: 9 Factors to Consider When Choosing Color for Your Home

Color balance

One of the important factors to keep in mind when creating color schemes for your rooms is the concept of balance. Too many warm colors can make a space feel hot and stifling, while too much of cool colors can evoke a cold or aloof feeling. Designers know how to create that subtle balance between the colors in a room or throughout your house.

When designing your rooms, think about the mood or how you want to feel in the space, and choose colors that help communicate that feeling.

MORE: Colorful Tips to Set the Mood for Any Room in Your Home

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