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Add charm with stripes and colour block

From the Resene decorating blog

Steeped in personality with a dash of eye-catching style, painted stripes and colour blocking charm interiors with character and sophistication in equal measure.

Mastering a beautiful relationship of shape, pattern and colour combined, an interior with either stripes or colour blocking engineers a perfect space; unique and authentic to our tastes – which is just what makes us feel at home.

Painting diagonal stripes in a kid's bedroom

Larger than life, these diagonal stripes are the definition of fun and playfulness. While their size is bold, a pared-back colour scheme ensures a peaceful element suitable for a soothing bedroom. Continue the colours by way of furniture and storage throughout the room for a coherent space. Wall stripes painted in Resene Merino, Resene Ebb and Resene Truffle (stripes are painted 30cm wide), floor in Resene Quarter Truffle, bookshelf in Resene Soothe, bedside table in Resene Ebb, chest of drawers – outside painted in Resene Merino, top drawer in Resene Brown Sugar, middle drawer in Resene Ebb and bottom drawer in Resene Apache, toy box in Resene Apache, round table in Resene Soothe and stools in Resene Apache and Resene Brown Sugar. Stacking rainbow painted in Resene Merino, Resene Ebb, Resene Truffle, Resene Apache and Resene Brown Sugar and pencil pot painted in Resene Brown Sugar. Duvet, boho cushion, muslin pillowcase and lamp from Adairs, gingham pillowcase and cushion from Homebody, pink cushion from H&M Home. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

A chance to be artistic and fill a home with character, the two techniques bring verve to a setting, proving that the notion of ‘home’ has significantly evolved over the past few years as we embrace bolder use of paint.

Whether your style is heritage or modern, stripes or colour blocking have their place. Even a traditional room can benefit from a touch of drama, forming a place to draw the eye. If the stripes or colour blocking is in a bold colour combination, muted colours elsewhere will retain a sense of calm.

Let’s start with stripes. The success of your painted scheme comes down to the relationship between your colour choices. Resene Colour Consultant Amy Watkins says when choosing paint colours for your striped setting, use a colour or neutral next to a peeled-back version of itself or a white, so you’re getting that dramatic contrast between the two colours.

“That is usually done in more formal settings, such as hallways and living spaces, or even commercial buildings of offices and motels,” she says. “There is also the latest trend where you’ve got a mixture of different-sized stripes and, with that, that’s where you can experiment a bit more with colour.”

So, the key is, when you’re playing around with colours for stripes, that there’s still a neutral there, Amy says: “Whether it’s just a peeled back version of a more dominant colour or an off-white, so then you can have a blue or a pop of red with an off-white. Ensure you have a lighter colourway to get that clean-cut contrast between the two colours.”

Painting stripes on a corner divider

Open-plan living areas can feel busy and dominating, but the solution lies in zoning the space with colour. This arched corner divider gently catches the eye with its chalky white and baby blue stripes, creating an attractive corner in which to cosy up in a chair and lose yourself in a book.

Wall painted in Resene Half Alabaster, floor in Resene Rakaia, arch screen in Resene Half Alabaster with stripes in Resene Pattens Blue, tall side table in Resene Code Red. Olive chair from Contempa, lamp from Lighting Plus, artwork by Brenda Clews, circle vase from H&M Home, cushion from Adairs, curtain from Resene Curtain Collection and candle from Flo & Frankie. Project by Melle van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

Painting cubbies for kids

Playful and practical? It’s the perfect partnership. The amount of gear and toys children acquire over time can be overwhelming. Keep it in order and embrace a sense of calm while celebrating the serenity of grounding blues. Let each child choose their own hue, making it fun and letting them own their own space.

Walls painted in Resene Rice Cake, flooring in Resene Mountain Mist, colour block stripes in (from left to right) Resene Cello, Resene Enigma and Resene Quarter New Denim Blue, cubbies (from left to right) Resene Cello, Resene Enigma and Resene Quarter New Denim Blue and coat hooks in Resene Cello, Resene Enigma and Resene Quarter New Denim Blue. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.

What to be careful of is when the colour tones blend into one another. For instance, in a small child’s room, you may want a variety of corals. “If you chose a colour that doesn’t have enough depth variation between one stripe to the next, you aren’t going to get that contrast,” Amy says. “So, it starts to blur lines together. Therefore, it’s essential to have a four-stage variation in the colour depth to achieve that definite clean line of the stripe.”

Soft, barely there hues work just as well as bold ones. The warm smoky brown oxide of Resene Tobacco Brown can work magically in a stripe with Resene Eighth Bison Hide, a neutral with touches of green, beige and gold.

An example of a beautiful bedroom setting would be Resene Soothe with Resene White Linen to contrast: “So even though it’s an off-white it still has a pink-edged undertone to it to link it back to the Resene Soothe,” Amy says. “Then, if you want to introduce a third colour to that stripe, that’s where you could bring in another colour such as a blue-green like Resene Emerge.”

A steady hand and masking tape are all you need – plus the knowledge of which kind of stripe style you want. “The busier aesthetic (stripes of different sizes) can be an easier scenario because your stripes can fill up more space and accuracy isn’t quite as important. But the more structured stripe, if you’ve got the time and patience with your masking tape, can look fantastic. The nice thing when it’s a painted stripe is you can experiment by continuing it up onto the ceiling and techniques like that.”

Colour blocking a lounge with peaceful greens

Fresh whites and charcoal work their magic by contrasting against this lounge’s peaceful greens. Colour blocks of tonal greens break up the space, adding dimension and zoning the seating area. But you don’t have to stick to the painted area; furniture extends just slightly beyond to give a sense of movement. Living room wall and floor painted in Resene Ravine with square in Resene Pumice, cabinets in Resene Blue Smoke, coffee tables in (from large to small) Resene Haven and Resene Harp, plant pot in Resene Yucca, vases, bowls and smaller accessories in Resene Napa, Resene Yucca, Resene Blue Smoke, Resene Pewter, Resene Ravine, Resene Haven, Resene Pumice, Resene Armadillo, Resene Eagle and Resene Harp and frames in Resene Napa and Resene Duck Egg Blue. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

When choosing your background colour, this would depend on what stripe colours you want to use. “You would either use a colour from the stripe or take a hue from the stripe and peel it back to a more muted version, so then you’re getting that real visual ‘wow’ with the contrast against the stripe.”

Remember, vertical stripes can make the room feel taller, while horizontal lines make the room feel more expansive. For those who love a timeless look, vertical stripes achieve this perfectly, be it in the olive of Resene Planter paired with the pale warm beige of Resene Half Malta or the grey-blue of Resene Rhino with a pale grey of Resene Midwinter Mist. Patterned rugs, quilts and colourful artwork will sit harmoniously with this setting, and with touches of earthy colour, add necessary visual warmth.

Now, let’s turn to colour blocking, the technique where colour is used on a section or portion of a wall. Playful and open to suit any taste, its forms can be rigid and geometric or fluid and soft. “It has become real trend because it’s given people that chance to use bolder colours,” Amy says. “Instead of having a feature statement wall, which covers all the wall, it means people could potentially do a geometric shape. You get people who almost cut their walls in half, and it creates almost a frame if it’s in a bedroom, for example. You can just have it around the bedhead, and the rest of the colour can go back to a neutral that’s around the house.”

As with stripes, you want to achieve clarity between the colours when creating an eye-catching visual feature, avoiding any hues that are too close in nature. “That’s usually key to colour blocking,” Amy says. “You’re trying to divide a space from another space. So, another place where people typically use it is in home offices that potentially are open plan with the rest of the house. Here, people may have a little study nook, and they want to make a statement there, so they’re making sure they get that contrast level. The colours don’t need to be muted; you can use neutrals to richer neutrals or bold colours. You could even use two bold colours together.”

What stripes and colour blocking imply is that you can treat your home interior like a work of art, pleasing your taste and style with colours that are true to yourself. Colours tie in with emotion; whether you colour blocking your open-plan living room in blues that remind you of the Coromandel coastline or in greens that evoke memories of a favourite tramping holiday in the bush; they enchant the everyday.

July 14, 2022

Visit your local Resene ColorShop for more colour ideas and all the expert advice and products you need for a superb finish on all your decorating projects.

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