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Trending towards texture

From BlackWhite magazine - issue 03, texture feature

Finishes that draw the eye – and the hand – have never been more popular.

Textured paint effects

Background in Resene Resitex Coarse in Resene Clay Creek (left) and Resene Sugar Loaf (right), tabletop in Resene Alpaca, boxes in Resene Sandtex Mediterranean finish (brush application) in Resene Sante Fe (top), Resene Sugar Loaf (bottom) and Resene Clay Creek (right), ball ornament in Resene FX Faux Rust Effect, vase in Resene Alpaca and twig in Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Styling by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

As one of the fundamental elements of design, texture plays an important role in everything we create – no matter what your medium. A chef, for example, needs to pay attention to the textures that will be coming in contact with the palate. Were a diner to take a forkful that included a little bit of everything on their plate, a good chef would want them to have a mix of different textures on it – soft, hard, crunchy, chewy, crisp, silky – because that’s what makes the dish interesting to experience. But they also wouldn’t want to have so many different textures at play that it becomes convoluted, confusing or distracting.

Designers of physical spaces, whether architectural, interior, landscape or experiential, have a range of options available to create textural interest, too – though the ways in which we choose to do so are very much tied to trends. Textured finishes, both inside and out, are currently experiencing a significant uptick in popularity, and it’s a trend that’s not going away anytime soon. This includes both surfaces that feel just as they appear, which is called real or actual texture, as well as those made to look like they feel different than they really do, which is known as visual or implied texture.

We look at the most popular options available for turning up the texture on your project, broken down by purpose and application, to help spur some ideas for getting the effects your clients are asking for.

True grit

Some of the most sought after textured finishes today are those that resemble a Mediterranean villa, adobe mudbrick or sandstone. While clients might be keen on the natural look of these earthy hot weather homes, chances are they’re not after their damp and draughty realities. Luckily, there are a range of superb options available, including ones that are highly weather resistant with excellent adhesion and stretch characteristics – and they look great while doing it.

Corporate law office interior

When it came to selecting the interior finish for the walls and ceiling for Harmos Horton Lusk’s corporate law offices, Warren and Mahoney selected Rockcote MarbleStone polished lime finish – the highest polish achievable within Resene Construction Systems’ range of natural plasters – in a custom Resene colour. Design by Warren and Mahoney, build by Impact Interiors, with plaster application by Colin McKenzie Plastering, image by Mark Scowen Photography.

If you’re keen to recreate the look of natural sandstone, inside or out, Resene Sandtex works a treat. Inherently durable, it has a fine texture (150 microns) and, like the coarser range of Resene Resitex textured finishes, can also be used to disguise minor surface imperfections. Resene Sandtex can be applied by roller, spray or brush, but for a tactile brushed Mediterranean look, go for a ‘crows foot’ application – which requires a wide brush, where the product gets applied in a criss-cross pattern.

For outdoor applications, Resene X-400 semi-gloss waterborne weathertight membrane is specially designed for thick application over concrete surfaces, and it comes with the added benefit of filling small voids and cracks without sagging. Resene X-400 may be applied with a texturing roller to achieve a high textured finish or with a standard roller for a less textured finish.

Corporate law office interior 2

When it came to selecting the interior finish for the walls and ceiling for Harmos Horton Lusk’s corporate law offices, Warren and Mahoney selected Rockcote MarbleStone polished lime finish – the highest polish achievable within Resene Construction Systems’ range of natural plasters – in a custom Resene colour. Design by Warren and Mahoney, build by Impact Interiors, with plaster application by Colin McKenzie Plastering, image by Mark Scowen Photography.

Resene X-200 weathertight membrane is another option. Though it has a much lower texture finish when used alone, it can be used with Resene Resitex or Resene Sandtex and over exterior textured finishes.

If it’s a specialist system you’re after, Resene Construction Systems offers a range of natural interior finishes and exterior cavity, masonry and insulated masonry façade systems that have been developed, designed and rigorously tested over the past 30 years to resist whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

The systems and finishes available can complement a range of tastes and architectural styles and offer a range of desirable benefits. Exterior options include cavity cladding systems as well as reinforced and insulated masonry systems that can be applied over new or existing concrete surfaces. These options offer your project BRANZ tested weathertight surety through professional LBP registered contractor installation and thermal, acoustic and impact resistance benefits – all the while protecting the structure and the occupants’ wellbeing.

Resene Construction Systems’ Rockcote GRAPHEX

Resene Construction Systems’ Rockcote GRAPHEX overlay system provides a complete thermal barrier to the structure – making it easier to warm a building in winter and keep it cool in the summer months. The attractive Rockcote plaster finish, applied by Totally Plastered, is painted in Resene Dune.

Indoors, popular Rockcote choices include natural clay, lime and polished finish options for creating anything from authentic old world looks to contemporary appeal while moderating temperature swings so that wall surfaces remain cool in summer and warm in winter. And, of course, Resene Construction Systems’ offerings can be topcoated in your choice of Resene colours.

There can also be practical and safety reasons behind wanting a certain level of texture on a surface, such as reducing the risk of slippage. Resene Non-Skid Deck & Path is a textured waterborne finish designed to provide a comfortable walking surface for interior and exterior situations where a non-skid finish is desired. Available in a low sheen finish, Resene Non Skid Deck & Path may be tinted to complement existing dècor, both inside and out. The finish has a comfortable grit texture to give feet and shoes something to grip onto, reducing the risk of accident no matter what the weather. Or you can add Resene SRG Grit into Resene Walk-on paving paint or Resene Aquapoxy (interior only), or Resene Industrial SRG Grit into Resene Uracryl, to achieve a non-slip finish inside or out.

Under the illusion

Not since the 1980s and 90s have paint effects like limewashing and rag-rolling had such a heyday. It’s something every Instagrammer with a penchant for an earthy, natural vibe is after – and if you haven’t been asked to specify a limewashed wall in the past twelve months, you can be almost certain that you’ll be asked to do so in the months to come.

Textured paint effects

Background in Resene Blue Moon with shapes in Resene Sandtex Mediterranean finish (applied with a brush) in (clockwise from top left) Resene Sante Fe, Resene Half Spindle and Resene Alpaca, vases in Resene Felix and stones in Resene Concrete Clear Wet Look. Styling by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

Top tip:  Resene FX Paint Effects Medium can also be used to add further contrast and highlights to your Resene Resitex or Resene Sandtex finish.

When specifying a limewashed, rag-rolled or similar paint effect, keep in mind that there are a number of choices you’ll need to make. Firstly, Resene FX Paint Effects Medium itself is translucent and unpigmented, so you’ll need to select a base colour and one or more accent colours that will be mixed into it. While it isn’t strictly necessary to choose more than one accent colour, you can achieve a finished look that has more depth to it by specifying multiple hues.

Secondly, you’ll need to decide whether you want lighter colours applied over a darker basecoat or darker colours over a lighter basecoat. The difference is less subtle than you might imagine and depends a lot on a third consideration, which is the level of contrast between the colours you choose.

If your paint effect will primarily be viewed in direct, bright sunlight or in a low-light setting, such as a bar or restaurant, you may wish to increase the level of contrast to make your visual texture more apparent so that it doesn’t get washed out or fade into the background.

Resene FX Paint Effects Medium

Resene FX Paint Effects Medium 2

As these two examples demonstrate, Resene FX Paint Effects Medium looks different depending on whether you choose to go light over dark or dark over light. The image on the left shows Resene FX Paint Effects Medium coloured with lighter Resene Alpaca applied over darker Resene Sante Fe while the right shows Resene FX Paint Effects Medium coloured with Resene Sante Fe over Resene Alpaca.

Texture by the roll

Whether you’re after just a little texture or a lot, there are a wide range of options available in the Resene Wallpaper Collection that can bring tactility to the interior surfaces of your project. Technology has evolved a lot since wallpaper was invented, when applying it was akin to erecting a load-bearing wall – if you wanted to remove it later on down the road, there was little hope of doing so. Thankfully, today’s designs have become a great option when you want to bring physical texture to a surface in an easily removable way. From Resene Anaglypta wallpaper and grass cloth to more subtly textured Resene wallpaper designs, plenty of options are paintable, too – so you’ll never be out of luck if you’re trying to match or coordinate with your project’s colour scheme. You can find a taste of current designs online but it’s best to visit your local Resene ColorShop to view the whole range in their wallpaper library and see the intricacies of the texture, design and colourways that you can’t fully appreciate online.

Textured wallpaper

Textured wallpaper 2

Textured wallpaper 3

Photo with chair and photo with pots: From striking to subtle, textured wallpaper designs such as Resene Wallpaper Collection E395851 (dark photo) and E395825 (light photo) can bring both visual and implied texture to your project.  Photo with plant: Paintable Anaglypta designs like Resene Wallpaper Collection RD0602 can be helpful when you want to bring removable texture to a project and have total control of the finished colour.

And remember, wallpaper isn’t just for walls. Don’t overlook it as an option for ceilings, inset door panels, backing noticeboards or on room dividers.

Top tip:  A textured wallpaper, like a design from the Resene Anaglypta Wallpaper Collection, can be an excellent option for masking wall imperfections that – no matter what you do – never seem to disappear completely. It’s also a handy choice when you need a specific colour of wallpaper and can’t find one in that hue – just finish with your chosen Resene colour.

Wash up

Whitewashing and greywashing, though technically similar, achieve two completely different vibes when applied to timber. Whitewashing is most often associated with airy, minimalist or Scandinavian-inspired spaces while greywashing fits better within a rustic, beachy or nautical context. Both can be great options for achieving visual texture in a space, since the nature of a wash is that the colour will be more opaque in some areas than others. Plus, these finishes still allow the natural beauty of the woodgrain to show through for additional visual texture.

To get a whitewashed look, go for Resene Colorwood Whitewash on interior timber and Resene Woodsman Whitewash for outdoor uses. If greywashing is a better fit for the space, use Resene Colorwood Light Greywash for a lighter coloured finish and Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash for a darker one indoors. Outside, choose Resene Woodsman Light Greywash or Resene Woodsman Mid Greywash.

Top tip:  Always use a Resene wood stain or paint – not just a clear coat alone – to ensure your timber is protected from harmful UV damage. If you’re after a ‘natural’ timber look, choose a wood stain colour that is most similar to the timber’s inherent hue or opt for a darker colour for a richer look.

Something special

Sometimes a special project calls for a special kind of texture.

A textured paint effect

Background in Resene Resitex Coarse in Resene Sugar Loaf with vases in (from front to back) Resene Rose Gold over a base of Resene Kalgoorie Sands, Resene Gold Dust over a base of Resene Apache and Resene Proton over a base of Resene Copyrite. Styling by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

Resene FX Faux Rust Effect is one of the newest visual texture finishes Resene has on offer. Instead of waiting ages for nature to take its course, you can achieve a desirable patinaed look in mere hours – and not just on metal, either. This waterborne coating system can be used to impart a ruststyle effect to a variety of exterior and interior surfaces, including blockwork, fibre cement, primed timber and solid plaster. It’s best used in non-contact areas to avoid rubbing or marking, so try it on exterior architectural and landscaping features or non-contact interior feature areas like rafters.

If you’re after a bit of sparkle, there are virtually endless ways Resene FX Metallics can be used to add a glimmer to your project. Like a chameleon, this effect changes colour depending on its surroundings – especially when it’s used somewhere it can catch the sunlight. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor uses, even a little of this type of visual texture can go a long way. Look to colours like Resene Gold Dust, Resene Proton or Resene Rose Gold for the most trend-forward options.

Take a shine to it

If the rest of the finishes in your space are flat or matte, even something as simple as bringing in a high-gloss element can be enough of a contrast in visual texture to create interest in your design. Use Resene Enamacryl gloss waterborne enamel or Resene Super Gloss to add high sheen contrast indoors or out.

Top tip:  Look to the colour name that’s in brackets next to your chosen colour on the Resene Metallic and special effects chart to find the right basecoat colour to specify underneath it.

Resene Colorwood Whitewash

Resene Rose Gold

Resene Colorwood Light Greywash

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

› For more ideas for creating visual texture, visit


BlackWhite magazine

This is a magazine created for the industry, by the industry and with the industry – and a publication like this is only possible because of New Zealand and Australia's remarkably talented and loyal Resene specifiers and users.

If you have a project finished in Resene paints, wood stains or coatings, whether it is strikingly colourful, beautifully tonal, a haven of natural stained and clear finishes, wonderfully unique or anything in between, we'd love to see it and have the opportunity to showcase it. Submit your projects online or email You're welcome to share as many projects as you would like, whenever it suits. We look forward to seeing what you've been busy creating.

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