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The secret of the three S’s in decorating – sumptuous, sultry and smouldering

From the Resene decorating blog

While pale, airy colours evoke a lightness that resonates and uplifts, equal appeal applies to darker colours, smouldering and rich in their impact.

The nurturing qualities of deep colour still stand true in interiors but have been livened up a level, bringing some excitement to our spaces.

A lounge with black battens and caramel floors

Battens coated in black break up the expanse of this lounge wall, adding interest and depth to the space. When fused with the warm caramels of the textiles, floorboards and art as well as the creamy white accents, the result is a comfortable, inviting setting. Plywood wall stained in Resene Colorwood Sheer Black with battens painted in Resene Lustacryl tinted to Resene All Black, floor stained in Resene Colorwood Natural, sideboard, coffee table and plant pots in Resene Snow Drift, pillar, pendant lamp, lantern and vase in Resene Black White, small bud vase (on coffee table) in Resene Quarter Drought and DIY artwork in Resene Okey Dokey (background) with strokes in Resene Half Blanc. Sofa and cushions from Nood, rug from Freedom, jute cushion cover and throw from Citta, circle vase from H&M Home, loafers from Zara. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Wendy Fenwick.

As has been popular throughout the past year, on-trend colours represent notions of wellbeing. This is still the case, but now tones have been taken up a notch, evoking a feeling of a cave-like hideaway – nurturing and protective in their sumptuous hues.

Take the rich blue-greens that rose to stardom last year; they're still claiming centre stage, more so on a richer level. Resene Colour Consultant Jacqui Nicholls says that the appeal of these blended colours is still on-trend, but they're being taken a notch deeper. Their success lies in their ability to master the tranquillity of blue with the earthiness of green – the perfect combination for a serene interior.

"Blue-greens and deep teals are popular right now, and they are just so stunning," she says. "Some are intense and dramatic, and others are subtle, so it depends on what suits your personality. They'll keep resonating in your home; you can put so many other colours with them – they're so nice to use."

Jacqui says that of the many blue-green tones that are catching eyes right now, there's the greyed-off blue-green of Resene Elephant: "It's dark but beautiful. Even Resene Tarawera is evocative; it's a little bit lighter but quite mysterious. It pulls in different ways and looks gorgeous with plants and is flexible to complement many other colours. It can suit any colour scheme because it's dark and moody."

A deep blue nautical themed bedroom

This rich, sleep-inducing bedroom celebrates midnight blues, broken up with fresh white and cheery red.

Textural interest in panelling on the wall and furniture give a further visual lift to the space. Shadowclad wall in Resene Tangaroa, left wall in Resene Indian Ink, floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, bedside table in Resene Half Black White, headboard in Resene Half Black White, coaster in Resene Indian Ink, lidded container in Resene Raging Bull, buoy garland in Resene Raging Bull and life preserver wreath in Resene Raging Bull. Lamp from Freedom Furniture, bedcover from Ezibuy, pillowcases from Citta, cushion, striped throw and mirror from H&M Home. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

A decadent green and brown lounge

The decadent deep green tones of Resene Midnight Moss make a lasting impression on this lounge wall and fireplace.

It’s particularly usable and versatile when paired with the earthy terracotta on the door and décor, a fresh alternative to pale neutrals. Wall and fireplace in Resene Midnight Moss, floor in Resene Half Fossil, door in Resene Leather, folding screen in Resene Tequila with ‘leading’ in Resene Midnight Moss and coloured ‘stained glass’ painted in Resene Bandicoot, Resene Rob Roy and Resene Lightning Yellow, 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 and tealight holder in Resene Rob Roy. Sofa, rug and coffee tables from Freedom, ‘Play the Game’ tennis poster from Pictorem, green marble tray from H&M Home. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Wendy Fenwick.

When it comes to choosing tones to pair with these blue-greens, Jacqui suggests a wide range of hues. "Place pinks or greens against them or leather colours such as tans." Use leafy greens such as Resene Seaweed or something more mid-toned, such as Resene Woodland, or the gentle mint of Resene Amulet, whether it be on painted trims or furniture or cushions and throws. Bring in more true blues in sunny north-facing rooms as accents, such as the soft grey-green blue of Resene Green Meets Blue and the cool tones of Resene Frozen. "Wooden cupboards and furniture look great when placed beside rich blue-greens too," Jacqui says.

Take these green-blues a touch inkier in a matte paint that offers an alluring velvety finish. Lamps and pendants are your friends here, enhancing your chosen paint colour's cosy vibe. Accents in warm grey and red with a blue undertone will bring the contrast you're looking for. Resene Midnight Express is an alluring and sumptuous blue that will make a dining room look sophisticated and regal, especially when teamed with light violet and white tones.

One thing's for sure, there is plenty of room to move within the blue colour spectrum. At first glance, Resene Jaguar might appear to be black, but the underlying blue tones give it a multi-dimensional appeal. "On a piece of furniture Resene Jaguar almost looks like black, but when you see it close up, you can see blue undertones; on a wall, its more obvious but it's really rich and deep. It looks amazing next to plywood cabinetry, and it's quite edgy."

Looking in the direction of blue-based reds, Resene Mulberry is slightly dusky but far from harsh. "It's very warm, looking stunning with potted plants, giving a nice, cosy mood. It's a smoky wine colour with a blue edge. It looks surprisingly good with greens and plants, or gum-leaf colours, smoky blue-greens and yellow-greens. All those natural tones complement it well, and it's just a bit more colourful and interesting."

A moodboard featuring dark and moody colours

If you love dark moody colours but want to keep your interior light, simply widen the scope of the colours you’ll pair them with.

Combine with pale, mid-toned and bright hues in your accents, such as your fireplace, furniture or ceiling. Background painted in Resene Quarter Spanish White with A4 drawdown paint swatches in (from top to bottom) Resene Alabaster, Resene Double Spanish White, Resene Half Bokara Grey, Resene Pioneer Red and Resene Clay Creek and bud vase in Resene Pioneer Red. Project by Melle van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

A smouldering and tranquil green master bedroom

Smouldering yet capturing the tranquillity that green masters so well, these bedroom walls painted in Resene Waiouru work beautifully next to the emerald green bed linen. White and black paint bring depth to the space, especially the half-painted wall in the ensuite.

Bedroom walls painted in Resene Waiouru, ensuite wall in Resene Eighth Black White (top) Resene Waiouru (bottom), floor in Resene Black White, bedroom shelf in Resene Waiouru, door in Resene Nero, DIY artwork and picture frames in Resene Nero. Bedlinen from Kinship, sink, faucet, mirror and soap dispenser from Plumbline, bedside cabinet from Bed Bath & Beyond, loofa brush from Everyday Needs, towels from H&M Home. Project by Melle van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

With the cocoon-like feel that dark colours induce, think about what room you want to capture this feeling in. It might be ideal for the atmosphere you want to capture in your media room, or maybe in your main bedroom.

"The twist in these blue-greens makes them more versatile than straight purple or red, which can come across too garish, but if you can capture an 'in-between' colour, they can appear quite stunning."

If you're falling for the earthy colours that have taken the limelight over recent years, you'll be pleased to know the enduring appeal of rich terracotta tones perfects a relaxing mood. Their beauty lies in their flexibility to merge with warm taupe, creamy white or blush pink. Add plenty of tactile texture to please the senses even more, bringing in character and a gentle appeal.

Look to the 1970s, too, as tones resembling this era take centre stage, deep and earthy, oozing an inviting nature. Take your cue from browns such as Resene Brown Sugar, Resene Rusty Nail or Resene Gold Dust. Accentuate these with creamy pale caramels, warm and nurturing, such as Resene Canterbury Clay or Resene Calico. "One of my favourites at the moment is Resene Lone Ranger, Jacqui says, "it's a dusty tan brown and is quite soft but looks ideal with warm white and a bit of black to mix it up."

"The browns are starting to turn up in nice complex mixes but more this year," Jacqui says. These extend to include nuances of chocolate and purple, revelling in a dynamic presence that is anything but boring. Place next to dusky pale pink, teal and moss green.

On-trend green hues are leafy and inviting. Resene Palm Green is rich and deep, looking stunning next to Resene Pirate Gold or Resene Galliano and the teal of Resene Kitsch or Resene Maestro. What's unique about how sumptuous colours are being used is that they are given a fun treatment, paired with creams, pinks, and peacock blues for a look with both depth and ambience.

Take the muddy green of Resene Waiouru, rich yet with a grounded steadiness, enhanced beautifully next to coral and black.

Whatever deep colour you choose, ensure from room to room there is continuity between the colours, and a relationship that links the tones for a harmonious, sumptuous setting.

If it feels too much to coat your four walls in these rich shades, your furniture will work perfectly, bringing just the right amount of personality into your space.

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

April 13, 2022

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