Let us be the first to admit—"warm" colors hold a very special place in our hearts. We're always excited about invigorating shades of reds, oranges, pinks, and yellows...but truth be told, "cool" colors are probably the ones we choose to decorate with the most. And it's not hard to see why. Cool colors like blues, purples, and greens aren't just incredibly diverse in their shades (and therefore moods)—they also have an uncanny ability to go from casual and easygoing, to luxe and dramatic. Call them the chameleons of the color wheel, if you will.
If you're thinking of redecorating and finding yourself pulled toward the "cool" end of the paint aisle, you're not alone. Some of our favorite designers return to cool colors again and again to achieve their most stunning spaces.
Looking for a little inspo to get you started? Read on for the color palettes that designers come back to again and again—whether they're designing crisp, coastal-inspired living spaces or ultra-glam inner sanctums.
Gray-Green + White + Wood
We're always in the mood for a grey-blue or grey-green, but this unexpected shade totally takes the cake when it comes to in-between cool colors.
"I love this color," designer Ashley Clark says. "This back wall is one of my all-time faves—it completely changed the feel of this space. I had originally planned on just painting it white, but made a last-minute change."
Even when paired with an otherwise restrained palette of natural woods, white and just the subtlest hint of pink, it packs a punch and lends so much impact to the space.
"It somehow feels like we added texture, with just color!" Clark says.
Emerald Green + Rich Navy + Dark Wood
This one's for the lovers of dark and moody spaces. This glam yet masculine design is a total jaw-dropper and deftly uses multiple dark hues together—not an easy feat to pull off, by some accounts.
"The contrast of dark and light tones of green in this bedroom evokes a rich and comfortable sense of relaxation," explains designer Eddie Maestri.
Meanwhile, bright pops of clean white keep the look feeling modern and fresh. A lot of the visual oomph and luxury comes from the rich emerald 15-foot custom headboard that anchors and unifies the space.
"Its custom wings add a visual weight and color balance in an oversized primary suite bedroom," Maestri explains.
Pink + Teal + Gray
You heard it here first—pink can, indeed, be a "cool" color (if it's more on the muted grey side of things, as seen here). Designer Lauren Lerner composed this space for a family who had upgraded to a lot more square footage and wanted to make the best use of it.
"We wanted the room to reflect their fun personalities and we accomplished this by seamlessly blending grays, teals, and blush colors throughout the space," Lerner explains.
Although, at first glance, the space is primarily neutral, the longer you look the more depth and detail you can spot—though of course, the rich teal upholstered bed is the crown jewel of the room.
Dark Blue-Green + Black + White
Texture, pattern, natural materials, moody colors—this living room really has it all. Designer Erica Bryen leaned hard into the dark blue-green shade, selecting wall paint, window treatments, and a pair of upholstered chairs in the same unifying color scheme. But from there, she could really "shop around" with the other design choices in the space.
"The mood for this living room was more of a sophisticated approach, yet with a fun twist of pattern and texture. The client wanted it to be an inviting, warm and moody room," Bryen says.
High-contrast black and white in the form of the patterned couch and dramatically veined marble completes this character-rich look.
Blue-Gray + Warm Wood + Chrome
We all know that opposites attract—and this bathroom just seals the deal. A sleek and modern vanity area in cool grey-blue draws contrast with the warm wood tones and more wabi-sabi inspired vibes brought in through the soaking tub area. Designer Linda Eyles drew inspiration from the home's surroundings to create this effect.
"The calming mountain environment inspired us to use cool blues balanced by a natural color palette to create an organic and sophisticated design," she explains. "We wanted to capture the constantly changing light that reflects off of the peaks surrounding this Colorado valley home."
Dusty Blue + Cream + Rich Wood
For being a "cool" color, this blue space certainly feels plenty warm and inviting.
"Blue is a favorite of mine for interiors projects—there are endless ways to incorporate it into your designs, no matter what room you’re creating or what mood you’re trying to set," explains Kathy Kuo. "We love using a dusty grey-blue sisal wallpaper to ground a room, especially matched with creamy crown molding. Adding rich blue velvets help to amplify the luxe, polished feel is perfect for a more formal dining or sitting room."
Kuo avoided keeping the shades of blue too matchy-matchy in this dreamy dining room, opting instead to draw from multiple shades in the same general color family.
"If you want to stick with a blue palette but bring in other hues in a subtle way, I typically do so through the accents—like the artwork, rug or tabletop decor," she suggests. "Choosing a rug designed with vibrant patterns creates a dramatic focal point, while accents of pastels and creamy whites lends hints of feminine contrast."
White + Green + Blue
Another space that proves that the best cool colors can shine even when used sparingly, this opulent living room and eating area is an instant favorite.
"This client loves green, which is exciting to me as I love working with colors that bring the outdoors in," explains designer Prudence Bailey. "The dining room off this winter living room has green and black wallpaper—and while we didn't want to match it, we wanted to create a room that would live in harmony with it."
A playful printed fabric—Martyn Lawrence Bullard’s "Shangri-La"—became the inspiration for the entire space. Bailey drew from that to select the color "Freehand" by Curator for the ceiling over the seating area.
"We knew once it was painted in Fine Paints of Europe's Brilliant glossy finish, it would create a deep-water effect that truly made this room come together in a very dramatic way despite the white furniture."
From there, just a few other touches of blue and green complete the look—like the geometric trim window treatments and some choice throw pillows.
"It's all about the juxtaposition in a space. You need to find the balance," Bailey says.