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Kill Two Birds with One Tone

If you’re about to do some interior painting, you may be able to kill two birds with one tone – namely, improving the appearance of your home interior while also giving it a cozier feel. All that’s necessary is to stay on the “warmer” side of the color spectrum.

Red, orange and yellow, as well as brown and tan, are all considered warm colors. They tend to “advance” in our mind’s eye, drawing in the walls, and making the space feel smaller and more intimate. Cool colors, including blue, green, violet, and certain grays, do just the opposite: They “recede” in our perception, opening up a space so that it feels more expansive – and less intimate.

If you’re among those who hate the cold, or live in an area that experiences long stretches of harsh winter weather, the implications are clear: Choose paint color from the warm side of the spectrum, let it “pull in” the walls like the covers on a bed, and you’ll greatly enhance the comfort level of your home.

Not ready to totally commit to warmer color? Then introduce a member of the red, orange or yellow family by way of one or more accent walls. In addition to contributing to your coziness, you can use the warm walls to otherwise enhance the appearance of the room.

The trick is to use warm color on the specific walls you want to “advance” or focus on. An obvious candidate is any wall with a fireplace — paint the surrounding space in a rich red hue, and the hearth becomes the hero of the room. Likewise, if your best art is displayed on a single surface, use that as your warm-color accent wall and “move” it more into view.

Warm color theory works on ceilings, too. Painting the surface overhead in a light tint of one of the warmer hues will help cozy things up (but keep in mind that it will also advance the surface, making the ceiling seem a bit lower).

These same principles apply to your furnishings, which can also be used to help warm things up in a room – although to a far lesser extent than the paint on your walls. There is simply no substitute for the amount of warm color you can introduce into your home by doing some interior painting.

So, if you’re shivering under a blanket as you read these words, don’t feel like your only option is to turn up the heat. Adding some warm wall color in an attractive shade of red, orange or yellow will help you feel warmer, and with luck, may even allow you to turn down your thermostat a digit or two!

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