Colour-changing Chameleon nano paint
Colour-changing Chameleon nano paint can change to the weather or whatever shade you desire using a smartphoneiStock

Your decorating decisions may be about to get a lot easier thanks to a colour-changing wall paint that can transform according to the weather or at the touch of a smartphone. The Chameleon paint has been developed by scientists at the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology in China and could be the best thing in interior design since Willy Wonka's lickable wallpaper.

The bright idea uses controllable nano cells, or crystalline micro beads, that can be inflated or deflated to deflect natural light at different wavelengths to produce an array of different colours picked up by the human eye. Each cell contains a metal core, which will shrink the size of the cell, pulling its shell inward, when an electric current is passed through it or in reaction to temperature.

On cold, dreary days you could be cheered up as the lower room temperature will cause the cells to react with rapid, psychedelic shifts in hue. Alternatively, on warmer days they could produce cooler tones in response to the heat. The photonic diffraction that occured as the team experimented on the cells produced shifts from magenta to green and dramatic blues.

Colour-changing Chameleon nano paint
Here comes the science: how the nano cells transform shape to produce different coloursShenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology

Besides reacting to the weather you could control the colour of your walls to your heart's content using a smartphone. If you're bored of looking at magnolia or worried that lime is a little bit too luminous, you could simply change it in seconds by manipulating the electric current passing through the paint.

"Imagine a house that will cheer you up with a bright colour when it rains," Dr Du Xuemin, the lead scientist of the project, told the South China Morning Post.

"Imagine the fun of instantly changing the colour of everything, from the wall to the floor to the furniture, just by swiping a smartphone."

While fun it would also save the agonising arguments down the paint aisle of B&Q and make DIY TV show disasters a thing of the past.

The team explained the hardest challenge they faced when trying to make the paint was manufacturing the tiny nano cells, which are several hundredths the diameter of a human hair. However, after working with chemical companies they are now able to produce several litres of paint per day.

When can we expect our wall to get this futuristic make-over?

The team is working to bring the technology into mass-production but we won't imagine we'll see it for a few years yet. "When the product will be available to consumers for home decoration depends on many factors. In my conservative estimate, it will hit stores shelf within three years," said Dr Xuemin.