Eco paint schemes or how to make a room feel warmer without reaching for the thermostat!

oliver General, Technology/ Energy Saving

New research from E.ON reveals that three quarters of UK adults (75%) think that colour and furnishings can have an impact on the perceived temperature of a room. Reds and browns (76%), and yellows and ambers (53%) are ranked as the colours that made people feel the warmest.

But homeowners can do a lot more than reaching for a tin of earthy-coloured paint to help make a room feel warmer, so i thought id let you know about some of my top tips, all illustrated with images of some of my favourite past projects:

Use natural light to your advantage. Light bounces into your room through windows and glass/patio doors.

Paint window sills in light reflective colours – white works very well.

Keep window sills clear of clutter and decorative items.

Place reflective items such as mirrors or glass-framed pictures near windows to help light reflect back into the room.

The floor near windows and patio doors can also be a reflector – lighter coloured surfaces will bounce light deeper into the room.

Keep windows clean and clear from obstructions. On the exterior, keep windows clear of debris and dirt by cleaning them every six weeks. Inside the home, consider over-extending the curtain poles beyond the window frame, so that curtains do not obstruct the windows and restrict light coming in.

Clever curtains. Thick curtains will not only insulate your windows against heat loss in the cold winter months but can also help reduce solar heat gain in the summer by preventing the sun’s heat from infiltrating the room and soaking in to the floors, walls and furniture.

Splash some colour onto your walls.

Try to keep the colours near the window light or white, so a vibrant or bold colour can be focused on a feature wall for a playful contemporary look.

Consider tonal ranges of a colour, keeping the lighter colours near the window. This will have a calming effect on the room.

Contrasting colour schemes – use elements from the opposite side of the colour wheel (e.g. orange and blue or yellow and violet) to create and energetic and striking effect. These contrasts can be used in varying degrees and using different materials to create more or less drama, for example violet coloured walls with shots of vibrant yellow in scatter cushions and throws.

New ways to use colour. The colour of your walls is just one layer of the overall room colouring theme – floors, fabrics, cushions, furniture, wall hangings and even lighting can be adapted to bring a colour theme to life. Fabrics are amongst the easiest way to add those little design changes.

Think about seasonal fabrics to introduce colour throughout the year. Consider having a summer and winter range of cushion covers, and add a throw in the winter.

Discreetly introduce a colour into the room – use the colour on just one or two items in the room, such as a door panel, piece of furniture or back panel of a bookcase.

Artwork or wall hangings will allow you to experiment with colour, without the cost and time expense associated with painting your walls. Experiment with painting blocks of colour on a canvas to add warmth and energy to a room.

A bathroom doesn’t have to be blue.

Many homes have ‘water coloured’ bathrooms, but in reality blues, turquoises and greens will not reflect well on skin tones and can make you look pale. Choosing warmer tones, tans and stone colours for example, will not only make you feel warmer, but look more radiant too.

Bedrooms or dedicated dining rooms, on the other hand, can be painted darker, richer colours such as mauves, violets, reds and midnight blues. This will allow you to control the natural light that reflects around the walls of the room, creating a more impactful or romantic space.

Britain has long been guilty of forgetting how to use colour, for years we have been using dark colours to paint our walls and ceilings, but this leaves a heavy, cold, and intense feeling.

Just by using a few simple tricks you can change how a room feels, and also have a positive benefit on your energy bills. Something like making sure your curtains are correctly fitted can give you five minutes more natural light a day, add that up over a year and it will make a difference to how much energy you use and have a really positive impact on how your room feels.

Lighting can also go a long way to help generate the feeling of warmth; getting this right with natural light means that you don’t have to always flick the switch and rely on artificial sources. E.ON’s research shows that the average home has four living room lighting fixtures. By using a series of lights including ceiling lights and task lighting like angleable lamps for specific activities and mood enhancing lights such as fairly lights, you can create a positive ambience and help reduce energy bills.