When describing how we want our homes to feel, we often use the word "warm" — as in "warm and inviting" or "warm and welcoming." Not just a setting on the thermostat, this word connotes a sense of comfort, like a hug from a good friend. And you can evoke that embrace in your rooms using a warm color palette. Get started with our warm paint color picks and room-by-room tips.

June 08, 2015

Of course there are many ways to make a home feel warm, including displays of personal collections and soft throw blankets on the sofa, but a surefire method is to decorate using hues in red, brown, and gold. These colors are inherent in actual warm things, such as glowing coals in a fireplace. They also come from memories we have of families coming together, passing the cranberry relish around the Thanksgiving table and hanging crimson ornaments on a Christmas tree. Browns and oranges recall baking pumpkin bars and raking up leaf piles. And golden tones come from setting autumn bonfires ablaze and lighting candles. When you're building a palette at the paint store, recall these kinds of warm elements and fond memories to choose your hues.

Warm Paint Colors

Decide how you want to dive in and start with our warm paint color picks to help you create your look. Note: Actual colors may be different than what appears on screen. Consult color chips when selecting a color. Palettes designed by Khristian A. Howell.

Warm Colors By Room

Warm Living Room Colors

In the living room, a classic way to employ warm hues is by placing a brown sofa (in touchable leather, suede, chenille, or velvet) on a foundation of colorful pattern that swirls together ambers, reds, and browns, such as in an Oriental- or Turkish-style rug. Cover the walls in a subtle hue, such as golden-tan paint or tone-on-tone ivory wallpaper. Then pull in metal accessories that have warm tones, such as an oil-rubbed bronze fireplace grate.

Warm Bedroom Colors

As private retreats where you can shut out the world, bedrooms are natural spaces to cozy up. Starting with the floor, choose a wood finish, rug pattern, or carpeting color that is a rich reddish or brown tone. Then dress the bed with linens in cream or champagne colors (if you prefer pale tones) or sumptuous purples or maroons (if you prefer saturated tones). Dampen the light of bedside lamps using shades in black satin or tan linen.

Warm Dining Room Colors

To create a dining room where people feel welcome for casual family suppers or elegant dinner parties, choose brown- and gold-tone woods, such as oak, mahogany, and pecan, for the furniture. Introduce red, amber, and burnt orange hues in chair upholstery fabric, table linens, and window treatments. And look for tableware with gold accents, such as wine goblets with gold rims. A traditional burnished brass chandelier or a modern one with a parchment-color drum shade will cast warm light over the scene.

Warm Kitchen Colors

It's true: Everyone gathers in the kitchen, especially when it's filled with cozy fittings, such as saddle-color leather stools, tortoise-shell pendant lights, and a pomegranate-red area rug to soften chilly floors. For stained cupboards, look for the red or golden tones in a cherry, mahogany, oak, or pecan woods and stains. Painted cabinets in cream, taupe, and sable-brown are also inviting backdrops, particularly if you antique them with an umber glaze. Don't overlook the counters and backsplash: They are slick surfaces, but selecting materials in shades of tan, ecru, and mink will give them a warm appearance.

Warm Bathroom Colors

Despite its hardworking sense of purpose, the bathroom can be a graceful space if you pull in warm tones. Oil-rubbed bronze or antique brass faucets, cabinet hardware, and towel bars are warmer shades than cool nickel and chrome. Vanity cabinetry can be painted ivory or taupe, or stained a deep espresso hue. You also can convey warmth with rich tan or gold wall paint, or with tiles with brown undertones. Finally, hang a shower curtain and towels in colors like pumpkin, aubergine, or coral.

Warm Entryway Colors

Warm hues will help you create a look that says "welcome" in your entryway. Start with a warm neutral base, whether you prefer a pale candlelight white, a medium taupe tone, or a rich mink gray. For an accent, pick up on a warm shade used in the spaces just beyond the entryway. For example, if the walls of your living room are goldenrod yellow, give a hint of what's coming next by using the shade as an accent color in your entryway. Cool stone and tile floors are practical for an entryway but can come across as warm when decked out in shades of sand and caramel.


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