Winter is a beautiful and cozy time of year. The colors of winter evoke feelings of warmth, comfort, and nostalgia. Choosing a winter color palette can set the tone for interior design, graphic design, fashion, and more during the colder months. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most popular winter theme colors and how to use them effectively.
Cooler, icy shades are quintessential winter colors. They evoke the chill in the air and the sparkle of ice and snow. Blue and green hues with purple, gray, or silver undertones have a crisp, refreshing feeling perfect for the season.
Different shades of blue and blue-green capture the colors of icy lakes, glaciers, and winter skies. Lighter blues like powder blue and icy blue suggest paler winter skies and frozen lakes. Meanwhile, richer shades like navy, cobalt, and sapphire evoke the deep blue of late evening during winter. Try pairing cool blues with silvers, grays, and frosty pastels.
Blue-tinged greens like pine, sage, and mint green call to mind evergreen forests frosted with snow. Pair these cool greens with creamy whites, gray, silver, and sky blue for a crisp winter look. Deeper hunter greens also evoke the lushness of winter woodlands and look smart alongside grays, blacks, and metallics.
Grayish mauve and lilac purples complement icy blue and green shades beautifully. Pale frosted lilac can create an ethereal winter look, while deeper amethyst purple suggests the richness of velvet and wine, perfect for elegant winter soirées.
Grays are incredibly versatile neutrals that lend themselves perfectly to winter color palettes. Cool steel gray, icy silvers, and dusky blue-gray shades capture the essence of a foggy winter’s day. Pair these misty grays with contrasting tones of white, black, purple and rich metallics.
Warm metallic shades add richness and sparkle to winter looks. Metallic golds, coppers, bronze and pewters capture the glimmer of candlelight and reflect warming firelight in a snowy winter setting.
Shimmering golds evoke the radiance of candles and fairy lights. Brighter yellow golds and deep antique golds look elegant alongside ruby reds, frosty whites and forest greens. Gold adds light and life to darker winter palettes.
Burnished coppers and russet bronzes suggest flickering firelight and compliment evergreen hues. Pair rich coppers with cream, gray and chocolate brown for a cozy winter combination. Copper also contrasts beautifully with frosty blue and purple tones.
Satin pewter metals add subtle shine to winter looks. As a neutral metallic, this muted silver tone works as an accent color with bolder crimsons, navy blues, pine greens and purples. Play with metallic textures like hammered pewter, brushed steel or liquid mercury.
Natural earth tones like creamy whites, warm browns, fireside reds and charcoal blacks are versatile basics. Ground your winter color scheme with these organic neutrals.
Crisp snowy whites naturally suit any winter scheme. Ivory, cream and vanilla add softness and warmth. Try pairing creamy whites with mint, sage and sky blue for a frosty icy look. Or combine warm antique whites with copper, terracotta and forest green.
Rich chocolate browns are evocative of frosted bark, furs and warming drinks. Dark espresso brown suits sophisticated winter palettes alongside burgundy, gold and charcoal. For a rustic look, try pale beige, tan and warmer chestnut browns with spruce green and red accents.
Reds in cool and warm shades suit a winter color scheme. Scarlet and crimson reds suggest glowing fireplaces, poinsettia blooms, and foil-wrapped chocolates. Deep burgundy and wine reds have a more sophisticated, velvety look. Play with different red tones alongside dark metallics, evergreen, black and brown.
Stark blacks evoke the dark nights of winter and look sophisticated alongside jewel tones and rich metals. Charcoal gray and black brown have a softer, earthier feel than jet black. Ground your palette with black accents to make other colors pop.
Vibrant colors bring energy and brilliance when used sparingly to accent a softer winter palette. These vivid shades conjure images of the holiday season.
Lush emerald greens are reminiscent of holiday wreaths and fir trees covered in snow. This vivid green really pops against neutral winter backdrops. Use emerald green in small accents like throw pillows, candles, or ornaments.
Vibrant sapphire blue is festive and elegant for winter. This rich shade stands out beautifully against ivory, champagne, and warm metallic accents. Sapphire blue gives a luxurious feel to table settings, invitations, and packaging.
Scarlet reds immediately evoke the holiday season. This bright, vivid red is perfect for adding cheerful pops of color to winter greenery, gifts, clothing, and tablescapes. Use scarlet red sparingly to make it feel special.
Putting Together Your Winter Color Palette
Now that we’ve covered some of the most popular winter colors, it’s time to put together a color palette for your own winter designs. Follow these tips when selecting your colors:
- Choose 3-5 main colors. Avoid more than that for an overcrowded palette.
- Make one color dominant. This will be your background or base.
- Support your main color with 2-3 accent colors.
- Ensure accents complement but don’t clash with the main color.
- Repeat your main color to create flow and consistency.
- Use accents strategically to draw attention or make focal points.
- Keep vibrancy balanced. Avoid neon brights unless they suit your theme.
- Know when to use warm or cool tones. Cool for icy, warm for cozy.
- Use neutrals like black, white or gray to give your eyes a rest.
Here are some examples of balanced winter color palettes:
|Pine Green, Cream, Gray
|Pale Purple, Pewter, Ivory
|Icy Blue, Pine Green, Metallic Silver
|Terracotta, Evergreen, Cream
Use these examples as inspiration when designing with winter colors. Try various combinations until you find a palette that conveys the right seasonal mood for your project.
Using Winter Colors in Design
Now that you have selected your winter color palette, it’s time to use it creatively in your designs. Here are some tips for effectively working with wintery colors:
- Choose one or two main winter colors for big furniture like sofas, beds and cabinets.
- Use accent colors strategically on walls, pillows, throws and accessories.
- Paint walls white or neutral to make colors pop.
- Add warmth with natural textures like wood, wool, leather and fur.
- Layer in metallics through decor and accessories.
- Create a focal point with a vibrant colored piece of art or floral arrangement.
- Select a dominant background color like navy, gray or creamy white.
- Use accent colors minimally for headings, charts and logos.
- Add pops of color to images with tinting or filters.
- Incorporate seasonal graphics like snowflakes, pine trees or ornaments.
- Use white space and simple fonts to prevent an overcrowded look.
- Experiment with cool duotones using your main and accent colors.
Fashion & Beauty
- Build outfits around one statement winter color like emerald or sapphire.
- Layer on neutrals like black, white, gray and brown as foundations.
- Add metallic shoes, bags and jewelry for accent sparkle.
- Play with rich textures like velvet, corduroy, wool and faux fur.
- Do a frosted eye look with shimmery metallics and icy pastels.
- Use a bold scarlet lip as a focal point to brighten the face.
Creating color palettes with beautiful winter tones can evoke the very feeling of the season in your designs. By thoughtfully selecting a dominant color and complementary accents, you can develop stunning and cohesive wintery looks. Use a balanced blend of cool and warm tones, rich neutrals, and pops of vibrancy when appropriate. With the color combinations above to guide and inspire you, you’ll be ready to add that special touch of winter charm and coziness to your projects.