The answer to those questions is in the colour wheel.
The basic colour wheel is split into two halves, a warm half and a cool half. The warm half runs from red through yellow-green. The cool half runs from green through red-violet. Our eyes and brains perceive different wavelengths of light as colours. The importance in interior design is that warm colours tend to advance and cool colours tend to recede.
If you’re deciding on a paint scheme and there are elements in a room that you want to draw closer, point them in a warmer colour.
This bathroom feels more expansive with a green wall than it would with an equally saturated red.
The effect is subtle but impossible to miss.
Colour theory provides a general framework to describe the behaviours of colours, and exceptions to these generalisations abound. Still, the tendencies of warm colours to advance and cool colours to recede are almost always true.
If you have a room with a low ceiling and you want the room to feel taller, paint the ceiling a white that’s been tinted with blue. Similarly, if you have a very wide room that you want to feel closer and more intimate, then paint the room in a warm colour and it will do just that.
How would you use warm and cool colours in your home? Share in the Comments below.