Connect to Your Space With Warm & Cool Neutrals

Just like a sunshine-filled day begs you to be out and about, or a rainy day calls you for curling up, the colors that fill our home have the same effect on our emotions. If you’re looking to get more intentional with how you connect to a room, channel the energy you’re envisioning by using the right tone – will it be warm, cool, or a balance of both?

open floor plan featuring a living room and dining room decorated with neutral colors and natural materials
Featured Colors: Shiitake SW 9173 (Walls & Trim), Stone Lion SW 7507 (Staircase Wall)

Looking to Neutrals

Neutrals are having a moment that isn’t exclusive to a gray-and-white spectrum. We’ve watched them take on tinges of color, both subtle and bold, to create a collection of new neutrals that can lean warm or cool. These no-fuss hues can easily be played up or fade into the background, which brings a liberating look of versatility to your layout.

While the difference between warm neutrals and cool neutrals can often be subtle, it’s the little effects they carry that can make or break the way you’re connecting in a space.

Warming Up

Some places in the home are suitable for rest and relaxation, but warm colors are ready to be the life of the party. Whether it’s a golden brown like Shiitake or Stone Lion, these casual tones are stimulating, which makes them the perfect choice for social spaces. Painting areas like dining and family rooms in a warm hue can encourage your space to wake up and get the conversation flowing as you connect with the people.

Featured Colors: Snowfall SW 6000 (Left Wall) Proper Gray SW 6003 (Wall with Windows)

Cooling Down

Looking for time to unwind is an ideal way to end a busy day. When you’re creating that restorative place, cool colors are the perfect way to find refuge. Because cool hues like Proper Gray are best suited for personal areas, you can explore using them in quieter spaces like bedrooms and reading rooms. The ultimate goal is to create a sanctuary where your troubles and worries can fade away.

a traditional living room with lofted ceilings and a stone fireplace
Featured Colors: Silverpointe SW 7653 (Walls), Urbane Bronze SW 7048 (Fireplace Wall)

Balancing Between the Two

How can you tie a warm and cool look together? While these two tones each have benefits of their own, they can also pair up to create a space that feels fresh and relaxing all in the same breath. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind by using one color as your dominant tone and reserving the other as more of an accent color to your room.

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24 Comments

  1. The rooms above give the feeling of elegance and richness. At the same time they are calming and relaxing.

    Joann Bichler
  2. Is the fireplace wall painted with the Proper Gray?

    Betty L Ostrom
  3. The walls in my home are all Linen White, the woodwork and trim are a walnut color. Do you have any suggestions for color for the woodwork and trim to make it blend better.

    Barbara Boling
    • Hello Barbara, are you looking to paint your woodwork and trim? Are you looking to paint just the woodwork and trim or are you interested in painting the walls too? Let us know when you get a minute. Thank you.

      Sherwin-Williams
  4. What color is the ceiling in the room with the urbane bronze fireplace?

  5. I have painted my walls (paneling) silver strand SW 7057, the room has a vaulted ceiling with a wood beam down the center. I want to have the ceiling a dark or darker color (not white) what color would you suggest?

    • Hi Clarissa, We love the idea of painting your ceiling – your 5th wall. Check out Unusual Gray SW 7059, Illusive Green SW 9164 or Taiga SW 9654.

      Sherwin-Williams
  6. I would like to use urban bronze on an accent wall. My other walls are site white and a very tiny nook is olympics white. My home is all white , light gray and tiny pops of black

  7. My dry wall is 65 years old, looks it. Am on strict budget, time to paint, looking for, off white, with silver mist foyer, and connecting dining room, below chair rail accent walls.

    mary hubler
  8. I’m building a new home and my great room has Kitchen cabinets painted Dovetail SW7018. The flooring is a medium dark wood(greys, blacks, browns). What color should I paint the walls?

    Dennis Murray
    • Hi Dennis, consider using a lighter greige (grey+beige) to complement your flooring. Look at either Skyline Steel SW 1015 or Modern SW 7632.

      Sherwin-Williams
  9. I am updating my victorian living room. I added light blue and gray/silver victorian damask wallpaper as an accent wall, and I am looking for a paint color for the remaining walls. I have a whitewashed stone fireplace with light gray grout and warm orange/red hardwood floors. I know that adding a cool color on the wall like blue (in the wallpaper) works well with the warmth of the orange and red in the hardwoods. I have thick victorian trim all over the place in this space. It is a south-facing room that also gets some western exposure. so lots of natural warm light during the day, but the room can get dark at night. Also, I have no overhead lighting in this room. I am not a huge fan of a totally blue space so I am leaning more towards blue-gray for the walls that won’t turn green with the warm yellow rays of the sun. Can you Help? Diane

    Diane Letourneau
  10. By the way. The thick white victorian trim is all white. I have selected so many colors and samples, that I am now dazed and confused. I would like to select a color that I could use or its relatives in other rooms of the house. I appreciate any insight that you have and welcome any and all recommendations. Thank you, Diane

    Diane Letourneau
  11. Can you recommend a soft grey that isn’t too green or blue?

    • Hello Judy, sounds like you are looking for a soft Griege (grey+beige). Take a look at Egret White SW 7570, Toque White SW 7003 or Drift of Mist SW 9166. These will never turn blue or green in any space.

      Sherwin-Williams
  12. Hello. I painted the exterior of my house Roman Column because I wanted a creamy white. I am looking for color suggestions for my front door. I was thinking something green but it would have to be light because my door is under my patio roof and would look dark from the street if it was a dark color. In some daylight, the Roman Column color looks slightly yellow. I am open to any color combination.

    Christina Mehta
    • Hello Christina, check out these two pretty greens, they are both warm, welcoming colors. Look at Softened Green SW 6177 and Clary Sage SW 6168 for a beautiful complement to the Roman Column on the rest of your exterior.

      Sherwin-Williams
  13. Hello,
    I live in a condo and I am using alabaster in the main area (living/dining/kitchen). I am trying to decide if I need to use alabaster for trim or a brighter white. What white trim complements alabaster and urbane bronze? I am using urbane bronze (4 walls) in the master bedroom. Since I don’t want to use urbane bronze for the master bath, how light should I go? Hardwoods are medium brown/bathroom flooring is light tan. Thanks for your help!

    Alexis Jones
    • Hello Alexis, look at a crisp, clean white like Pure White SW 7005 or Extra White SW 7006 for your trim. A cleaner, brighter white will really let your Alabaster & Urbane Bronze “pop”.

      Sherwin-Williams

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