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What are considered warm paint colors?

What are considered warm paint colors?

When looking to paint the interior of your home, choosing the right paint color is crucial to creating the aesthetic and mood you desire. Warm paint colors in particular are ideal choices for many rooms in a home as they promote feelings of comfort, coziness and warmth. As a starting point, it’s helpful to understand what defines warm paint colors and the psychology behind why they make spaces feel more inviting. From there, you can explore popular warm paint options to find the perfect shades to enrich your home.

What Makes a Paint Color “Warm”?

The warmth or coolness of a paint color refers to its undertone. Warm paint colors have yellow, red or orange undertones, while cool paint colors have blue, green or purple undertones. The warmth of a color is related to how close that hue is to red or yellow on the color wheel. For example, red, orange and yellow hues are the warmest since they sit next to each other on the color wheel. As you get farther from these warm base hues, colors become cooler in temperature.

Warm colors are associated with energy, brightness and cheerfulness. They tend to visually draw you in and evoke feelings of comfort. This makes them excellent choices for most living spaces in your home where you want to create a cozy, inviting atmosphere.

Psychology of Warm Paint Colors

The psychology behind warm paint colors has to do with our perceptual associations. Warm hues remind us of things like sunlight, fire and heat. We relate these to positive feelings of relaxation, security and warmth. Cooler hues, on the other hand, elicit connections with water, ice and the sky. While pleasant, these perceptions don’t provide the same warm, welcoming vibe.

Studies have found that being exposed to warmer colors actually raises people’s heart rates slightly and boosts brain activity. This energizing effect can make warm-hued spaces feel more lively and spirited. The cheeriness of warm tones is uplifting and can even improve mood.

So by infusing rooms with warm paint shades, you tap into these positive subconscious associations. Spaces feel more welcoming, comfortable and cozy. This is why warm paint colors are ideal choices for most living areas of your home.

Best Warm Paint Colors for Rooms

Here are some of the most popular warm paint colors to consider for various rooms in your home:

Living Room

– Behr Marigold Orange – Vibrant orange with yellow undertone
– Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige – Light beige with hint of yellow
– Benjamin Moore Golden Straw – Pale peach beige
– Behr Cumin – Light mustard yellow
– Sherwin-Williams Renwick Rose Beige – Soft warm greige (grey/beige)


– Behr Candlelight – Warm yellow beige
– Benjamin Moore Sunkissed – Bright warm yellow
– Sherwin-Williams Tradewind – Greenish warm grey
– Behr Ginger Theale – Peachy beige
– Benjamin Moore Melted Caramel – Rich caramel


– Behr Cocoon – Pale warm greige
– Sherwin-Williams Shoji White – Soft warm white
– Benjamin Moore Sunny Disposition – Buttery yellow
– Behr Garter Snake – Earthy green-yellow
– Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige – Light beige with yellow undertone


– Benjamin Moore Vanilla Custard – Creamy warm white
– Sherwin-Williams Tradewind – Greenish warm grey
– Behr Ginger Theale – Peachy beige
– Benjamin Moore Melted Caramel – Rich caramel
– Behr Dragonfly – Soft green with yellow undertone


– Behr Floating Cloud – Warm white
– Benjamin Moore Melted Caramel – Rich caramel
– Sherwin-Williams Shoji White – Soft warm white
– Behr Garter Snake – Earthy green-yellow
– Benjamin Moore Sunny Disposition – Buttery yellow

Warm Paint Colors by Type

Beyond thinking about specific rooms, it can be helpful to break down warm paint colors into a few broader categories based on the main hue:

Yellow-Based Warm Paint Colors

Buttery yellows, mustard yellows, goldenrods and similar sunny shades are quintessential warm paint colors thanks to their yellow base. They range from pale pastels to deep, vibrant jewel tones. Yellow feels cheerful and uplifting. It symbolizes optimism and creativity. Use it to create a bright, playful ambiance.

Some popular yellow-based warm paint colors:

– Behr Marigold Orange
– Benjamin Moore Sunny Disposition
– Sherwin-Williams Shoji White
– Behr Floating Cloud
– Benjamin Moore Golden Straw

Red/Orange-Based Warm Paint Colors

From burnt orange to brick red, colors with a red or orange base add bold, dramatic warmth. They are rich and inviting, perfect for dining rooms, studios or accent walls. Red communicates excitement, passion and comfort. Orange combines the cheer of yellow with the boldness of red for an energizing effect.

Great red/orange-based warm paint options include:

– Behr Dragonfly
– Benjamin Moore Melted Caramel
– Sherwin-Williams Renwick Rose Beige
– Behr Cumin
– Sherwin-Williams Tradewind

Beige/Brown-Based Warm Paint Colors

Earthy beiges and browns make relaxed, subtle warm paint colors. Think creamy off-whites, light sand colors, camel, tan, latte, khaki and so on. The natural, neutral warmth of these tones make them versatile picks for any room. They are soothing and grounding.

Some beige/brown-based warm paint colors:

– Behr Ginger Theale
– Benjamin Moore Vanilla Custard
– Sherwin-Williams Accessible Beige
– Behr Cocoon
– Benjamin Moore Sunkissed

Tips for Choosing Warm Paint Colors

To narrow down the perfect warm paint shades for your home, keep these tips in mind:

– Test paint swatches on walls at different times of day. Colors look different in natural vs. artificial light.

– Pick a lighter hue for larger walls, as dark colors can make rooms feel smaller and heavy.

– Balance warm walls with cool accents (like white trim) so the space doesn’t feel overwhelming.

– Coordinate colors across open floor plans for a cohesive flow.

– For resale value, mid-tone neutral warm colors like beige and greige work well.

– In north-facing rooms, opt for warm reds, oranges or yellows to make up for lack of natural light.

Warm Paint Color Combinations

Some favorite combinations of warm paint colors for a coordinated look:

– Yellow walls with white trim
– Light orange walls with navy blue accents
– Red brick walls with tan and terracotta accents
– Beige walls with earthy green and brown decor
– Burnt orange dining room with cream kitchen

Mixing complementary warm paint colors creates a visually interesting, inviting color scheme with lots of depth.


Warm paint colors get their cozy, uplifting effect from undertones of yellow, orange and red. They tap into our positive associations with things like sunlight and fire to create welcoming spaces. From pale pastels to rich jewel tones, warm shades bring comfort and cheer to bedrooms, living rooms, kitchens and more. Set the desired mood in your home by picking warm paint colors that align with the purpose of each room. Consider complementary color combinations and test swatches at multiple times of day to make the best selection. With the right warm hues, you can transform your home into a cozy, inspiring haven.