When it comes to balance in interior design, achieving the right blend between warm and cool tones tops the list. In fact, it’s absolutely essential in any project in order to avoid dipping too far into any trend. By keeping your home balanced with touches of both warm and cool elements, the result is always timeless, gearing you up for years of happiness with your thoughtful and well-rounded design.
But while we know warm and cool need to be balanced, how do you do it? It turns out that it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. It is unique to every design, every home, and every client. However, there are a few foolproof ways to get it right, everytime. Read on for our list of must-have cool and warm collaborations for everyone from novice interior enthusiasts to bonafide designers. You’ll be filling up that Pinterest board in no time.
Splashes of Wood
While cooler shades of grey and white have been popular for years now, in order to make them feel inviting rather than cold and sterile, it’s important to infuse a touch of warmth. And in our opinion, there’s no better way to do that than via a splash of wood. Regardless of the tone - be it light or dark - wood is an excellent choice for adding warmth because it inherently has orange, red, or yellow undertones, and by its very nature, it’s organic and textured, which always adds charm to any space.
Similar to the way that wood so nicely contrasts with cooler shades of grey and white, contrasting cabinetry can be an incredible solution for nailing a warm and cool balance. Have naturally-warm hardwood floors? Go for bright white and grey cabinets with matte black hardware pulls. Favor a bold and cool black and white graphic floor tile for your basement bar? Pair it with beautiful dark-stained custom wood cabinets. The result in any of these scenarios is pure perfection.
Decor & Artwork Infusions
Artwork has the power to change a room, and it’s one of the easiest fixes to upgrade a space. The process of balancing cool and warm tones, then, benefits from this same infusion. If your space is more cool in general, with bright white walls and white and grey marbled floors, then a soft landscape piece with elements of greens and browns can be just the right addition to warm things up. Or perhaps your room is the opposite - rich with warmth and wood tones. Then, you’d benefit from adding a piece of artwork that pulls in those cooler tones (think greys, blues, and blacks) to balance it all out.
Flooring & Rugs
Of course, while artwork, paint colors, and built-in pops of warm or cool tones can be powerful, one of the most impactful ways to balance out the tones in a space is with your flooring. Be it rugs, a graphic and warm floor tile, or deep-stained hardwood floors, because the floor itself takes up a large portion of the square footage, it is both a visually appealing and eye-catching solution. Just be sure to choose the opposite tone of the rest of the space. A white or grey room should get an infusion of warm colors like oranges, yellows, or pinks, while a warmer room already filled to the brim with earthy tones deserves a pop of grey or white to cool things off.
Not quite ready to commit to a built-in solution (like cabinets) or even a piece of artwork on the walls? Why not use your furniture strategically to balance your cool and warm tones? Something as simple as a pair of wood chairs in an otherwise-cooler home office can add an infusion of warmth instantly, while a bold black coffee table can add a dramatic cool pop to an all-around brown-infused living room. The options for this are both endless and easily interchangeable. For the restless types, this is a solution you will definitely want to take advantage of.
Finally, we can’t forget about the power of metal finishes. Because whether you’re a mix-and-match type of person who is all about a pairing of brushed nickel faucets with brushed brass light fixtures, or you prefer a subtle infusion of a contrasting metal (such as a metallic side table or complementary hardware pulls), using a variety of finishes throughout your space is an easy way to pair cool and warm while still maintaining an overall neutral aesthetic.
Inspired to up your cool and warm balance game? Take our advice! Use any one of these no-fuss solutions and you’ll have a dreamy space before you know it.
By Megan Johansson, Contributor to Designs by D