How to Balance Warm and Cool Colors

Posted on February 18, 2015 by Kate Moynihan | 0 comments

Below, can you feel the difference in the two paintings?

For warmth:  A Glowing Sunset, on the left, is filled with warm hues of yellow, orange and brown. The vibrancy of the intense colors adds a liveliness to the painting and mimics one of those hot hazy days of summer!

For coolness: Evening Shadows, on right, I focused on cool tones of blues and green. For me, the cooler colors give a bit more mystic feel to the painting. The energy is less and the piece seems more restful.


How to Balance Color: Omitting golden yellows from a palette can be tricky.  Notice the subtle mix of yellow-greens and itty-bitty touches of red-orange in the primarily blue in the painting above, Evening Shadows.  Often a strictly blue color palette will leave you feeling chilled, like the bite of a winter day with its crisp air that creeps through your skin and seeps deep into your bones. Just a hint of warm colors can thaw that arctic feeling. Here's how in your home:
Notice in the photo above how the warm hue of the cherry wood night stand softens the cool, crisp tints of blue. Whereas, in the photo below the cool blues and black are balanced by the warm tone of beige in the chair, carpet and wall color.

By mixing warm and cool tones you can create different moods. I hope you have fun playing with color!

Learn more about in the series on: the psychology of color.

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