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Warm and Cool Colors in Kitchen Design

by Daniel Morrell

Posted on October 13, 2017 07:00:00 AM



Warm and cool color tones - designers are always mentioning these terms but what exactly do they mean by these categories and how can you use them in your home design? Gaining an understanding will help you determine the colors for your décor. 

Let’s warm up to get started.

Warm Colors


Warm colors include, reds, oranges, yellows, and browns.


Warm colors consist of oranges, reds, yellows and combinations like maroon, burgundy, amber, coral, bronze…the list goes on and on. If you’ve browsed a paint company’s catalog you understand the seemingly endless stream of slightly altered colors. As the name suggests, these shades tend to produce feelings of sunlight and heat. They tend to create a pleasant and inviting environment, so warm colors commonly appear in bedrooms and bathrooms, however these heated hues in kitchen design can look fantastic when used properly.



Reds, yellows, oranges, and other warm colors tend to pull attention and come forward, or advance, as a focal design component, which is why they are often used to make larger rooms appear quainter. Approach your warm color tones with the understanding that they’ll be drawing the eyes of your guests and your own as well. Utilizing a warm color for the walls will set the tone for the rest of the room. Pairing a light orange or red with a granite countertop such as Colonial Gold, Atlantis, or Santa Cecilia will create a cohesive décor that is sure to make your kitchen more comfortable and amiable.


If you’d like to make a bold statement with your kitchen design, cranberry red walls are a great look. Utilize wood and bronze furniture or appliances to create a quaint and cozy mood. 

Cool Colors

Cool colors are blue, purple, and green.


Cool colors such as blue, green, and purple have the ability to calm and soothe. Whereas warm colors remind us of heat and sunshine, cool colors remind us of water and sky. Unlike warm colors, cool colors look as though they recede, making them great for small rooms you want to look larger.


A blue kitchen feels clean and elegant. It’s the perfect environment to start your morning off clear and refreshed. Stainless steel appliances add warmth to keep the design from being too cool. Blue is a soothing shade that affects us mentally, rather than the physical reaction that red produces. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and will calm the mind. If your kitchen doubles as a workspace, blue is a strong option to consider.



The Grey Zone

There is an overlapping area for all warm and cool colors. A dark blue or purple can feel warmer than a bright yellow, although blue is considered cool. In a primarily cool kitchen design, a darker shade of a cool color can be the missing piece of the décor. A dark blue fruit bowl, lush purple bar stools, or it’s the subtleties that make all the difference in a warm and cool color scheme.


An important thing to remember when dealing with warm and cool colors is that no room should have just one. If you want your room to be cozy have warm colors as the dominant colors and then add a few elements that incorporate cool colors (and vice versa). Like with all elements of decorating it's important to have some balance and contrast. You don’t have to paint every wall red to create a warm color palette. Wooden floors, gray furniture, and gold accents can easily do the trick and keep your design from turning into a funhouse. Combining two colors from the opposite sides of the temperature scale will also create an interesting variety. Reds and oranges are generally an easy fit for adding warmth to a cool kitchen design.



Neutral colors like grey, white, and black are popular in modern design but color is does not have to be avoided in contemporary style. Carefully placed accent pieces of cool or warm tones can breathe life into your kitchen design. Simply adding a bowl of lemons or a bright red teakettle will create a nice dynamism.


When choosing colors to use for your home décor projects it's important to think about the mood you want to create and whether you want it to feel light and airy or cozy and intimate. Use amount of natural light your kitchen receives as guidance for your color tone selection.