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Using
WARM & COOL
Paint Colours

Learn the basics about warm and cool paint colours, see favourite hues from our colour experts and homeowners alike, and learn how warm and cool colour choices influence your home’s style.

Every colour can be categorized as either a warm colour or a cool colour. Discover the notes and nuances of both, and use their distinct characteristics to get the look you want.

Warm & Cool 101

Warm colours—yellow, orange, red and combinations thereof—breathe energy, positivity and a sense of sunshine into any room. Cool colours—green, blue and purple—evoke relaxation and calm.

Neutrals like white and gray can also lean warmer or cooler depending on their undertones.

Favourite Warm Interior Paint Colours for Homeowners

Check out these gorgeous examples of warm paint colours we get asked about the most.

Favourite Cool Interior Paint Colours for Homeowners

We recommend these paint colours for homeowners looking for cool interior hues.

Using Warm & Cool Colours In Your Home: A Guide

Warm Colours

Cool Colours

Combining Warm and Cool Paint Colours?
Many homeowners use both warm and cool colours in the same room. The dominant colour—whether it is warm or cool—is the one that influences the room's personality the most.
Comparison of a room corner in direct sunlight, indirect light and artificial light.

Lighting is Always a Factor

Both natural and artificial lighting can affect how the undertones of a paint colour cast, causing them to lean more warm or cool. For rooms that receive a lot of natural light, the direction towards which the room faces should be taken into consideration.

In rooms that do not receive a lot of natural light, artificial lighting will play a role in how the paint colour casts. Be sure to check your lightbulb temperature: Lightbulbs with a temperature over 3500K tend to cast cooler. The lower the temperature, the warmer and cozier the light it emits.

Brushing on a paint sample and observing it under all lighting conditions is the best way to ensure a “no surprises” paint colour choice."
Sunny corner alcove with painting easel.

Compare Warm and Cool Neutrals: Find the Undertones

Identifying warm and cool white, gray and neutral paint colours is notoriously challenging. One easy trick when evaluating these hues is to compare them, as opposed to looking at any one colour in isolation.

For example, when you place a white paint colour with a yellow undertone next to a white one with a blue undertone, the difference between warm and cool becomes instantly, and strikingly, evident!

Here, the soft back wall is painted in warm Ballet White OC-9, while the front wall is painted in cool Paper White OC-55.
Elegant lounge area opens to a welcoming backyard.

Best White Trim for Warm and Cool Colours

White-painted trim is always classic and dependable. If you choose to paint your walls in a cool colour, Decorator’s White OC-149 offers a clean, bright look that pairs beautifully with blues, greens and purples.

For warm-painted walls, White Dove OC-17 offers less contrast and a slightly more muted approach to white. It also pairs elegantly with reds, yellows and oranges.

If you have a mix of both warm and cool colours in a room, bright and clean Chantilly Lace OC-65 is a great white paint choice for trim.
Bright living room with walls painted in Sharkskin 2139-30.

Create a Complementary Colour Scheme

Two colours opposite one another on the colour wheel are considered complementary colours. In the simplest terms, they are red and green, purple and yellow, and blue and orange.

The bold contrast found in complementary colour schemes makes any room stand out. Here, the muted green of Sharkskin 2139-30 on the wall creates design interest when paired with red chairs and a red-striped pillow.

Other complementary colour schemes include a deep purple wall in Shadow 2117-30, set off by soft, pale yellow curtains. Or a playful bright wall in Autumn Cover 2170-30, grounded by comfy chairs upholstered in a navy blue fabric.

Ready to play with complementary colour schemes? First, discern whether your wall’s paint colour is warm or cool. Then use the colour wheel on this page to see what its complementary colour is…and have fun!
Woman inspecting various paint swatches

How to Choose Interior Paint Colours

Learn from the experts on how to select colours you’ll love.

Get Started
Red and blue living room with gray couch

Psychology of Colour

See how colour and colour combinations influence the mood of a home.

READ MORE