Fall Into the Warm Color Palette

bedroom with dusty rose walls
Dusty rose walls embrace a warm color palette.

The crisp air has returned and leaves are turning fabulous colors of reds, oranges, and yellows. It’s a great time to talk about the psychology of these warm colors and where to use them in your home.

Color has an emotional effect on us; it can set a mood or conjure up a special feeling. Warm colors, also called aggressive colors, are no exception. They are energizing and optimistic, inviting and intimate, stimulating and opulent. 

As I share this advice, think beyond the true red, orange, and yellow colors you would find in a small box of crayons.  Instead, include all the tints (with white added), tones (with grey added), and shades (with black added) from pink to burgundy, from peach to rust, and lemon chiffon to mustard.

The strongest color in the spectrum, reds have the greatest emotional impact on us.  They symbolize courage, passion, love, and excitement. This color stimulates both appetite and conversation so it is perfect for a dining room. But the drama of red is also ideal for foyers, living rooms, even bathrooms.

In its purest form, orange is an attention getter, however, use it in small amounts to add flair. This hue evokes friendliness, pride, ambition, and enthusiasm.  You might like terracotta floor tiles, an apricot color on your kitchen walls, or copper accents in your living room décor. But, like red, orange can be overwhelming, if overused.

Nothing enlivens a room like yellow, but, as an aggressive color, do not underestimate its intensity.  Yellows stir up feelings of sunshine, vibrancy, and cheerfulness.  It is a great choice for kitchen walls to wake you up each morning.  It is also appropriate for a hallway to give you an energy boost in a windowless space. A creamy, buttery yellow works well in a living room. A good option for home offices or homework areas, yellow kindles your brainpower. Avoid it in the bedroom as you may have trouble falling asleep. In fact, brighter yellows are uncomfortable for long periods of time as our eyes have trouble processing the color, especially with men.

Use warm colors in a large room to lower a ceiling or to make the space seem cozier as well as in north-facing and dark rooms. Because of their power, pair these colors with rich woods, metallic lamps, stone and brick, tufted rugs, and damask and velvet fabrics.

So, warm up your palette and go paint the town lipstick red – or maybe begonia or wild poppy, habanero pepper or sun-dried tomato …

Barbara Graceffa owns and operates Secretary of the Interior in Quincy, MA offering creative solutions at reasonable rates. Learn more about her decorating, downsizing, decluttering and home décor sewing services, decorating workshops, and quilt programs and shows at www.sec-interior.com, and enjoy her art quilts on Instagram @secretaryinteriordecorating. You can reach her at 617.921.6033.

By Barbara Graceffa

Barbara Graceffa, CEO of Secretary of the Interior, serves decorating clients; assists with professional organizing, home staging and moving assistance; teaches on these subjects; and delivers quilt lectures and trunk shows.

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