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Born of the earth

From the Resene decorating blog

Earthy tones and materials suit our green interior and coastal fringe. Resene paint finishes can be used to achieve a range of finishes reminiscent of European architecture and the colour range includes lots of inspiration for a warm, nurturing born-of-the-earth theme.

An outdoor area painted with earthy hues

Back wall in Resene Aspiring with paint effect in Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Moon Mist.

Right wall, breeze blocks and vase in Resene Moon Mist. Bench seat in Resene Aspiring, deck in Resene Woodsman Uluru, table and large plant pot in Resene Teak, tray in Resene Flax, small plant pot in Resene Siam and chair in Resene Yuma. Cushions from Allium Interiors and Shut the Front Door. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

The colours used in European destinations such as Tuscany, Spain, Portugal and the colonial architecture prevalent in places like Mexico can provide inspiration when creating an earthy palette. Try the yellowy-white Resene Double Dutch White and Resene Colorwood Whitewash for wood panelling. Liven things up with a muddy orange such as Resene Twisted Sister, tans like Resene Rose Gold and Resene Dapper, dark muted reds like Resene Raging Bull, the terracotta-tinged orange, Resene Jailbreak and the pinky brown of Resene Tuscany.

If you are blessed with plaster, stucco or mudbrick walls, you are halfway there. For a classic Mediterranean look on brick, stone, concrete or stucco walls, go for a flat finish such as Resene Sandtex or Resene AquaShield as a gloss paint will highlight imperfections in uneven surfaces.

Terrific terracotta

‘Terracotta’ is Italian for ‘baked earth’ and describes unglazed earthenware ceramics or bricks. In home design, the term refers to the cosy ruddy brown-orange colour of the material itself. This colour combines well with other warm, nature-inspired tones like creamy white Resene Half Spanish White and Resene Quarter Spanish White, olive green Resene Nourish and Resene Green Smoke and tussock gold Resene Cleopatra and with natural materials such as wood from light pine to the golden hue of natives like rimu right through to dark mahogany. The wooden elements could be furniture pieces or wall panelling stained in Resene Colorwood.

To create a terracotta-style tiled floor, all you need to get started is Resene Walk-on, a general-purpose flooring and paving paint and painter masking tape. Paint on two coats of Resene Walk-on tinted to Resene Raven, to serve as the grout. Once dry, measure and mark out even 250mm increments along each wall. Carefully apply wide painter masking tape. When you are happy with your grid (try and be as precise as possible) roll on two coats of Resene Walk-on tinted to Resene Tuscany. Once touch dry remove the masking tape to reveal your painted tile floor.

Emulating limestone

To give your walls a textured, lime washed look baked with Mediterranean warmth, start with two basecoats of Resene Half Canterbury Clay. Once dry, use a wide, soft paintbrush to apply Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Eighth Canterbury Clay in loose, criss-cross strokes. Then, almost immediately, buff your brushstrokes with a clean, dry cloth to soften the effect and create a blended look. Work in small sections no more than 1-2m2 at a time to manipulate the effect before it sets. Once your full surface has one layer of the paint effect applied, repeat the same process using Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Double Spanish White. If any areas of your paint effect look heavy-handed and stand out too much, dab and buff a small amount of Resene Half Canterbury Clay into those areas using a second clean, dry cloth to pull back the effect. You may decide to add one or more additional layers of your mixed Resene FX Paint Effects Medium to build up thin layers and enhance the effect.

Resene Midnight Moss brings depth to the earthy theme

Bringing depth to the earthy theme is this wall and fireplace in Resene Midnight Moss. Deep green provides a complementary contrast to the floor, painted in Resene Half Fossil and folding screen in Resene Tequila with ‘leading’ in Resene Midnight Moss and coloured ‘stained glass’ in Resene Bandicoot, Resene Rob Roy and Resene Lightning Yellow. Plant pot in Resene Black Forest, vases in Resene Leather, Resene Rob Roy, Resene Clover, Resene Sushi, Resene Lightning Yellow and Resene Bandicoot, lidded dish in Resene Tequila, painted books in Resene Lightning Yellow, Resene Clover and Resene Rob Roy, votive holder in Resene Lightning Yellow, tealight holder in Resene Rob Roy and coaster in Resene Half Fossil. Sofa, coffee table and side table, rug, table lamp from Freedom, throw from Citta. Eyewear chain from Karen Walker, mug by Fiona MacKay from Public Record, poster from Pictorem, tray and cushion from H&M Home. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Wendy Fenwick.

This same method, in tonal terracotta shades can be used to replicate the uneven, handmade look of stucco, mudbrick or adobe. Resene Sandtex Mediterranean effect can be used to achieve a textured plaster-type finish on a flat exterior wall tinted to your chosen Resene colour or you can apply Resene FX Paint Effects Medium over the top, using the same process as with the limestone effect described above.

Paving the way

A ‘cobblestone’ courtyard, reminiscent of the cobbled streets in European cities, can be emulated using Resene Walk-On paving paint. Start with two basecoats in Resene Half Canterbury Clay. Once dry, use a high-quality flat angled paint brush – available from your local Resene ColorShop – to hand paint random, rounded shapes using a variety of colours to replicate the shade differences in real stone. Try colours such as Resene Eighth Canterbury Clay, Resene Double Spanish White, Resene Blanc, Resene Paris White and Resene Half Spanish White. Create a mixture of large shapes and small shapes for authenticity and leave inconsistent gaps for the Resene Half Canterbury Clay ‘grout’ to show through.

A terracotta ‘tiled’ floor in the entranceway

The terracotta ‘tiled’ floor in this entrance is complemented with light wood and a painted cabinet. Wall in Resene Eighth Pearl Lusta.

‘Tile’ floor painted in Resene Tuscany with grout in Resene Raven. Door in Resene Felix, cabinet in Resene Blank Canvas with doors in Resene Gold Coast and ‘cane’ in Resene Double Dutch White and hook racks and shelf in Resene Double Dutch White. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

A Tuscan-themed courtyard

In this Tuscan-themed courtyard the wall is painted in Resene Half Canterbury Clay with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Eighth Canterbury Clay and Resene Double Spanish White.

Shutters and windowsill in Resene Kangaroo, cobbled patio floor in Resene Half Canterbury Clay, Resene Eighth Canterbury Clay, Resene Double Spanish White, Resene Blanc, Resene Paris White and Resene Half Spanish White and large amphora vase in Resene FX Faux Rust Effect. Other vases in Resene Soothe, Resene Pewter and Resene Alabaster. Table and chair from Jardin. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.


Resene Dapper

Resene Rose Gold

Resene Nourish

Resene Cleopatra

Resene Twisted Sister

Resene Jailbreak

April 03, 2022

For more helpful advice and inspiration visit your local Resene ColorShop. Or Ask a Resene Colour Expert free online, for help with your project.

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

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