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Awash with blue

From Habitat magazine - issue 26, autumn/winter 2017

Blue and bathrooms go together like soap and suds.

The link between watery colours and bathrooms is a long-standing one. Blue has been a go-to colour for bathrooms for many years for its fresh, cleansing and tranquil feel. And, of course, the current trend for soft duck egg, intense inky and denim blues means that the colour is getting even more of a look in recently.

Here are some tips for using blue in your bathroom:

  • Blue has an undeserved reputation as a cold colour, but if you use the many sea blues or slately blues available, like Resene Dusted Blue, the effect will be soft, interesting and welcoming.

  • Avoid true mid-toned or cobalt blues as they may make the space feel more like the packaging on a cleaning product.

  • Soft grey blues, like Resene Duck Egg Blue, look superb with crisp white so go well with porcelain basins and baths, as well as white trims and tiles.

  • Blues that carry a bit of green, like Resene Ziggurat, look superb in bathrooms. They’re not quite aqua or turquoise but heading in that direction.

  • Use pale blue and white for a classic Cape Cod look, or for cottagey appeal – try Resene Escape. Add timber floors (finished with Resene Qristal ClearFloor urethane) and accents for character.

  • Add aged metallic accents for an edgier or more sophisticated look.

  • Pretty vintage blues, like Resene Breathless, look good with antique white and pretty pastel shades.

  • Or inky blue will give a bathroom true drama. Try Resene Zinzan.

  • Consider natural materials like timber and stone as an accessory to warm up a blue scheme

  • Other ways to add warmth and character is to follow the trend to dress bathrooms in non-bathroom items so they look less functional – add a small chair, a side table, a house plant, rugstyle bath mat, coat hooks or a pendant light.

  • Also use ambient lighting as well as task lighting, like wall uplights or pendants, to add warmth.

Top tip: There are many blues on the latest Resene The Range fashion colours 18 fandeck or check out palette cards 48 and 49 from the Resene Multi-finish collection.


When planning their new farmhouse, the owners of this bathroom took heed of advice from their talented builder Scott Cooper who said that if you’re looking for wow factor, it’s the details that will give you what you desire. That is certainly true for the ensuite for the main bedroom, where a partition wall of large board and batten squares is an eye-catching feature.

Board and batten bathroom

The look was chosen as an extension of similar dado-height panelling used elsewhere in the house. Painted in Resene Silver Chalice, it beautifully offsets the free-standing bath in front.

In another bathroom, a vanity made of rimu milled from the property, was made by Scott and “designed by Pinterest,” laughs the owner. Its warm rich colour is complemented by walls painted in Resene Powder Blue and trims in Resene Half Bianca. A top-mounted basin and over-sized mirror finish off the look. Says the owner: “I love these soft blues and silvers as they provide colour but aren’t too intrusive.”

Sink feature

Pictures: Angela Keoghan.


The brief for ‘a Hamptons Home with a Kiwi twist’ evoked both excitement and slight fear for designer Kelly Gammie of Eucalyptus Design. This bathroom was part of a full-house renovation, where Kelly replaced salmon-coloured plastic bathroom fittings with an elegant scheme in Resene Emerge, with panelled lower walls in Resene Quarter Sea Fog.

Sink feature

A by-the-sea colourway was essential to give the home a sophisticated kiwi flavour and echo the muted blues of the Waitemata Harbour in the morning as you look out to Rangitoto Island. Says Kelly: “We wanted to replicate the feeling of being enveloped in subtle colour as opposed to being overwhelmed by a brash hue… Resene Emerge was chosen because it is simply gorgeous.”

Bathtub and shower

A free-standing bath sits in an alcove surrounded by the panelled walls, with an artwork centred on the wall above, while window shutters and a custommade vanity complete the ‘eastern seaboard’ look.

The shower area is visually recessed with the use of black bevelled tiles from Tile Space.

Pictures: Becky Nunes

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