Cool Colour Palettes

Browse our collection of paintings with cool colour palettes.

Intro to Cool Colours & Colour Theory

Skip ahead to the art please!

Blues, greens, and purples tend to be categorized as cool colours, but unfortunately it’s not QUITE that simple.

Since each colour hue, aside from the pure primary colours, is developed by mixing of the primary colours (red, blue, and yellow), each colour has an element of warmth and an element of coolness. Certain yellows can be considered warmer than other yellows, as shown by the image below.

warm vs. cool yellows schematic

What determines whether the yellow above is warm or cool is the “undertone” or “bias” of the yellow. This bias is defined by the primary or secondary colour which the colour in question leans towards.

For example, when thinking about yellows, the primary and secondary colours which surround it on the colour wheel are green/blue (on the cooler side) and orange/red (on the warmer side). In the image above, the yellow which has a stronger bias towards red is a warm yellow, while the yellow which has a bias towards green is a cool yellow.

This can be tricky to identify in isolation, but it is also somewhat intuitive. Without all that theory, you might have organically arrived at the conclusion that the yellow on the left was warmer than the yellow on the right.

Colour temperatures are relative, and it therefore helps to put colours beside each other, or to use a colour wheel, to determine their relative warmth or coolness.

Link to a great article defining warm and cool colours if you really want to nerd out.

colour wheel with warm and cool tones

Design Considerations

    • Cool colours have a receding quality and are generally less demanding / more passive on the eye relative to warm colours.
    • Cool coloured walls can be used in smaller rooms to make them feel more spacious.
    • Cool coloured decor, objects, and artworks might cause a less cluttered feel than those with warmer tones.
    • Typical sentiments related to cool colour palettes:
      Refreshing, Clean, Delicate, Earthly, Playful, Peaceful, Innocent, Loyal, and Comforting.
    • Neutrals such as browns and beiges tend to look excellent when paired with cool palettes. They provide contrast and coziness without taking away from the clean feeling.
    • The 80-20 rule, while just a rule of thumb (which can and should be broken if you want), is a good fall-back when using cool tones in your palette. 100% cool tones might result in a sterile or (dare we say) COLD feeling.
painting mockup
painting mockup

Paintings with Cool Colour Palettes

All of the artworks shown below are original works with a (predominantly) cool colour palette. They might may have warm tones present, but the cool colours are dominant or the painting imparts a cold feeling.

Select any artwork to learn more, or to reserve / purchase the piece.

If you are a collector local to the artist, shipping is complementary and the artist is usually able to deliver the painting in person and tell you about their inspiration. Our mission is to build local connections!

Showing 1–45 of 222 results

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