What Are the Cold Colors?

The cold colors, also called cool colors, are blue, green and purple, or any combination of the three. These are colors that bring to mind the cold temperatures of water, ice and snow. They also help to evoke a still, peaceful, atmosphere.

The relationship of colors and the separating of colors into warm and cold are part of a larger organization of colors called color theory. A tool called a color wheel is used within color theory to coordinate colors in a given space. Cold colors can create the illusion of space, so are effective in smaller rooms needing a larger feel. Soothing feelings of tranquility also are created by the use of cold colors, according to color theory. This makes cold colors excellent for hospitals, professional offices and areas of high anxiety or stress. Cold colors don't always have to stand alone in a monochromatic color palette to have these effects.

Cold colors easily harmonize with warm colors when paired with analogous and complementary colors. Analogous colors are those that sit next to each other on the color wheel, such as blue and purple, and often become blended shades of color. Blue-green, blue and blue-violet are examples of blended, analogous shades on the color wheel. Complementary colors are those that are directly opposite each other on the color wheel.