Warm Colors: Red, Orange, and Yellow

warm colors are at the outside upper edge of a rainbow

Warm colors at the outside edge of a rainbow

Warm colors and cool colors affect everything we do, because they’re part of light’s energy. We cannot see the colors of light rays, but we see colors because of light’s spectrum. When the atmosphere intervenes, becoming a prism, we can see light in the form of a rainbow. Rainbows are meaningful because they contain seven colors that evoke emotional responses: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. This article, Part 1 of 2, will discuss only the warm colors.

During a heavy spring shower, traffic slowed to a crawl. “Smart drivers” was my second thought, after the usual thought (you get the drift!). But people weren’t slowing down for just the raindrops. They were slowing down to look at a very bright double rainbow! The colors were glorious! How do you feel when you see a rainbow?We use colors to describe our moods, “In the pink,” or “Green with envy,” or “feeling blue.” We say, “I’m seeing red” when we’re angry, or “He/she is yellow-bellied” when we think someone is cowardly.

warm colors - redRED is the most powerful color, used to convey warmth and grab our attention. It invigorates and energizes us, and can raise our blood pressure. Red has positive and negative connotations, associated with love and hate, danger and power. A red dress or a red sports car says “I’m ready for action,” but a street light or sign this color will stop us in our tracks.

Pure red should be used sparingly in interiors. A deep shade of red is appropriate for dining rooms, because it increases appetite, stimulates conversation, and complements food. Several manufacturers offer red appliances and cabinets, but these should be selected only if you love the color and won’t get tired of it. Red should never be used as the main color in bedrooms or bathrooms (except powder rooms); pink (a tint of red) is okay.

warm colors - orangeORANGE isn’t as intense as red. As a pure color, it is used for safety gear, because it is clearly visible even to “color-blind” people (mostly men, who have red-green deficiency).

Pure orange, like red, should be used sparingly in interiors (commonly used for fall accessories and decorations, especially at Halloween and Thanksgiving). Most wood colors are classified as a shade of orange, why people think of wood as a warm, friendly material. Blue is often selected for interiors, because it complements wood cabinets, floors, and furniture. Blue and orange are opposite on the color wheel, referred to as complementary colors. “Peach” and “apricot” — tints of orange — are popular colors for interiors.

warm colors - yellowYELLOW is often called a happy color, although it has negative connotations associated with jealousy and cowardice. On a cloudy day in March, blooming bright yellow daffodils and forsythia scream, “Spring is on the way!”

Pure yellow can be used for interior accessories. Tints of yellow (often called “cream”) are the most popular colors for walls and ceilings, because they are warm and friendly, and shades of yellow (gold) are also used for wall colors and furniture.

Be careful when you’re selecting warm colors for your interior environment. Warm colors are stimulating, and should not be used (except as tints) in sleeping rooms, or rooms where there’s likely to be stress (home offices). Also, the compass orientation of a room can affect how you feel in the area. Avoid warm wall colors for south- and west-facing rooms, especially if you live in a warm climate. Warm colors are wonderful in east- and north-facing rooms, great for cooler climates. Studies have proven that using the right colors can help you cut your energy consumption to heat and cool your home.

The internet has a plethora of great ideas for using warm colors. Here are a few:

  • Country Living Magazine has 15 examples for cozy warmth
  • HGTV shows you how to use warm colors
  • Houzz features living rooms with warm colors by experts

Color and Healing

warm colors -- healing chakrasIt’s interesting that the colors of the rainbow are also used to heal the body, often called chromatherapy, dating back to ancient China and Egypt. Chromatherapy is defined by Wikipedia:
“Ayurvedic medicine describes the body as having seven main chakras, which are spiritual centers located along the spine that are associated with a color, function and organ or bodily system. According to this explanation, these colors can become imbalanced and result in physical diseases but these imbalances can be corrected through using the appropriate color as a treatment.”

Red: The base of the spine, associated with motor skill activities. Orange: Corresponds to circulation and nervous systems; it has a tonic effect.Yellow: Corresponds to the chest, heart, and lungs, related to respiration and cardiopulmonary activity. People with asthma react favorably to yellow. Doctors and psychologists are skeptical about the long-term effects of color therapy, but no one denies the immediate and short-term physiological and psychological effects of color. All of us who shared a mystical, magical moment that lasted until we arrived at our destinations, to tell everyone about the gorgeous double rainbow we’d seen. It was — at least for yours truly — a wonderful dose of chromatherapy!

“See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”

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