How to Use Warm Colors in Interior Design

Warm color bedroom decor

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Are you thinking about redesigning your bedroom or changing the color of the walls in your bedroom? Not sure what color to use? Then you may be wondering what some warm colors are.

What Is a Warm Color?

The colors of red, orange, and yellow are considered warm colors because they evoke images of fire. They contrast with cool tones, which evoke thoughts of water, and include shades of blue, green, and purple.

The Color Wheel

The color wheel, part of color theory, is divided into warm and cool colors. On the cool side of the wheel are shades of green, blue and violet, moving from bright green to blue-green, through ocean blue and cobalt, and on to purple and violet.

Warm colors are most often used for upholstery and accents, and they can make a room feel cozy.

The All-Warm Room

If you are decorating a large and well-lighted room, going with all-warm colors adds a comfortable, welcoming mood. Start with a warm neutral on the walls, like taupe, a warm gray or a warm shade of white, such as ivory with a yellow undertone. Choose a natural-colored leather sofa to add richness and harmonize with a used brick fireplace wall. Pick up the brick red color of the fireplace in striped upholstery that includes the same as the walls for the chairs, and add custom throw pillows in the same fabric for the sofa to add cohesion. Choose an area rug that is either the color of the walls or one that combines the wall color and brick red. Be sure the shade of red harmonizes with the color of hardwood in your flooring. Warm walls plus brick red, natural leather and wood equal cozy to the max.

If you have enough moxie, paint the walls a deep shade of red and cover chairs in the same color—the fabric adds texture and dimension. Cover the sofa in a warm ivory with pink undertones and use that color as an accent throughout, including as painted trim. If they did it in the White House (the Red Room), you can, too. This is statement-making warmth. 

Warm Colors as Accents

If your room is not large and/or not blessed with an abundance of natural light, your better option might be to limit your use of warm colors as accents that make a statement or add a soft touch. Use a lighter neutral, like a shade of white or cool gray, on the walls, to keep the room light and feeling open. Cover the sofa in navy blue, with chairs covered in a medium gray. Add wall hangings that include bright orange, red or yellow, or even all three. Toss throw pillows of any mix of these warm colors, in any shade you prefer, on the chairs and sofa for a jolt of heat in an otherwise cool and collected room.