Friday, August 13, 2010

Cool vs. Warm Colors and Great Friends

Last night some great friends came by the apartment: Whitney and Martin! They were in town from New York, where Whitney is a product designer and soon-to-be architect. They had great suggestions.

Martin & Whitney - two of our most dedicated blog readers.
First off, Whitney spotted the blue paint tests on our living room walls and suggested that we go with a warmer color. “The paint color sets the psychological tone for a room,” she said. I agree that San Francisco can be foggy and gray—maybe an icy blue is not the right choice for this room. I do love the calming qualities of a light blue/gray, however.

The famous Donut Painting by local artist Jay Mercado.
Whitney looked at our donut painting and suggested pulling a light yellow from the middle of the donut. Her pre-war New York apartment has yellow walls and light parquet floors in the living room, and it is the warmest, happiest room in the home, “like sunshine.” She also mentioned that if we do not want to go really yellow, we could pick a light yellow that would register as white to the eye, but still have a cozy feel.

Whitney and I consulted House Beautiful Colors for Your Home: 300 Designer Favorites, which I have checked out from the library five times. We picked some new colors for me to spot test. They are:
The yellows: Humble Gold, Pale Moon, Morning Sunshine, and Windham Cream.
I will trot on over to Ace Hardware after work to pick up “mini-pots” of these.

The blues that are currently on the walls are:
The blues: Borrowed Light, Light Blue, Yarmouth Blue, Gossamer Blue, Urban Mist, and Offshore Mist.
Dean and I were debating between Urban Mist (a little gray-ish) and Borrowed Light (a true light blue), before we decided to venture down the yellow trail. We might still return to blue, after we check these yellows out.

Do you like warm or cool living spaces better?

Another question: What are your experiences with paint finishes? Flat (or matte), eggshell, or satin?



  1. We have both - warm colors (yellow actually) on one side and cool colors (blues actually) on the other. I love them both. The warm colors are on the cozy side and the blues are on the more contemporary side. Depends on the type of furniture but modern furniture with cool colors may translate into a cold space if you don't have anything to balance it. Also yellow can be cold or warm depending on the base underneath. Yellow is a hard color to get right but once you do, it's beautiful.

    We always use eggshell for the walls because it is very hard to clean flat paint and I think the flat finish looks flat.

    Today's two cents :)

  2. NO FLAT PAINT! I use eggshell...I think satin shines too much especially if you have lights on. Benjamin Moore paint is excellent even though it costs more...Another good brand is Devoe which is alittle cheaper than BM but just as good. My painter uses it and saves me some money..They can mix BM colors for the Devoe paint. I do it all the time at the paint store. The doughnut cracks me up! Going to the 3rd Sunday market this weekend..something like your rummage/junkyard sales...

  3. While I have no experience with painting myself, I agree after being in the room that a warm yellow will certainly give the room a bright feel and your furniture will pop more! Windham Cream is my pick.