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Decode design trends

From the Resene decorating blog

The world of design trends can get a bit baffling. Like any creative endeavour, interior design – much like fashion – is subject to constantly changing descriptions of what’s ‘in’ or not, and they often come with new snappy labels to try and define them in one word, like Japandi or Cottagecore.

The good news is, dig a little deeper and most of those labels refer to trends that have come and gone over time, and have simply been given a fresh spin to make them relevant and up-to-date. Some are classic architectural styles that evolve but never really go out of style, some are more ephemeral but fun trends that we become enamoured with for a short time – often driven by factors like social media – before the next thing comes along.

A green Art Nouveau style bedroom

The Art Nouveau-influenced bedhead and rose mirror in Resene Nero are the focal point of this bedroom, but the space is kept contemporary with dark walls in Resene Finch.

Floor finished in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, drum tables in Resene Black Forest with Resene Green White tops, vase in Resene Nero and small pot in Resene Olive Green. Headboard from The Cane Collective, duvet, throw, pillowcases and moon lamp from Citta, touch lamp from Lighting Direct. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

A Cottagecore style bedroom

Soft natural colours, handcrafted features and an emphasis on natural fibres mean this bedroom has a nicely balanced Cottagecore look, with some Scandi influences.

Walls painted in Resene Eighth Joss, while the headboard is Resene Norway with a painted cross-stitch effect feature in Resene Quarter Joss, Resene Woodrush, Resene Planter, Resene Half Malta, Resene Bandicoot and Resene Lemon Ginger, bedside table in Resene Bandicoot and lamp in Resene Karaka. Bedlinen, cushions and throw from Citta, fan from The Cane Collective, hat from Country Road. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.

While the only trend that really matters, and never goes out of style, is finding design styles that resonate with you personally, here’s a quick guide to decoding some of the trends, ideas and styles around right now.

Art Deco

Art deco is a distinctive style of design and architecture that emerged in the 1920s. It’s a balance of glamour, elegance, function and modernity, distinguished by geometric shapes given an opulent finish with high-shine surfaces and gold, chrome or brass metallic touches.

Traditional Art Deco colours are striking and bold with a lot of contrast. Try buttery yellows like Resene Popcorn paired with dusky blues like Resene Cobalt; or brick reds like Resene Lusty with pastel pink Resene Cinderella.

Include contrasting finishes for a luxurious look, so you’re mixing matte Resene SpaceCote Flat on walls, with glossy Resene Enamacryl on trims, furniture or decor pieces.

Art Nouveau

Popular at the turn of the 20th Century, particularly in Europe, Art Nouveau is defined by fluid lines and flowing curves based on natural forms and traditionally used muted or pastel colours particularly botanical greens, pale beiges, and soft pinks and painterly finishes.

The style is having a renaissance, reflecting our modern desire to connect with nature and to live in less rigidly defined, single-use spaces. Bring it up to date with slightly bolder shades such as greyed green Resene Rivergum or lush Resene Gecko, paired with modern neutrals such as fresh Resene Blanc, charcoal Resene Shark and foamy pink Resene Ebb.

To make a bigger style statement, try a wallpaper mural like Resene Wallpaper Collection HX4-027.


Cluttercore is, at heart, simply a maximalist approach to interior design. It’s a push-back against an earlier trend for strict decluttering and minimalism and is a fun trend to play with because you can embrace a curated riot of colours, shapes, textures and patterns.

It’s a style that can quickly slip from artfully unique to messy chaotic. The key is keeping some organisation among the clutter.

Successful maximalism is about interesting juxtapositions. Cluttercore is really a subset of that focusing on creating several interesting small vignettes within a larger space.

Start by picking one shelf or cabinet top, and play with books, decor, framed art and plants in unexpected colours and shapes to see what configurations most please your eye. From there you can start to pull together other vignettes around the room. If the shape of an accessory suits your style but the colour doesn’t, update the colour with Resene testpots.

A modern Art Deco style interior

Muted, earthy shades keep the Art Deco-influence shapes looking sophisticated and suitable for a modern home.

The pale wall colour is Resene Soothe, while the arch and lines are painted in Resene Sebedee. Floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, circle in Resene Merlot, vertical stripe on the far right in Resene Coral Tree, blue curve on the left and large floor vase in Resene Streetwise, smaller plant pot in Resene Merlot, large bottle on the floor in Resene Alabaster, tiny tabletop vase in Resene Jaguar and desk in Resene Kilimanjaro with a chair in Resene Silver Chalice. Clock from Shut the Front Door, lamp from The Warehouse, scarf from Bird and Knoll, shoes from Adidas, mug from Flo and Frankie, plants from Give Plants. Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton.

A green mid-century modern style living area

Clean lines, a simple, muted colour palette and elegant design touches bring this mid-century modern inspired living area into the 21st Century.

The geometric design on the back wall is painted in Resene Robin Egg Blue, Resene Half Robin Egg Blue, Resene Quarter Robin Egg Blue and Resene Smoky Green. Left side wall painted in Resene Quarter Robin Egg Blue, floor in Resene Half Robin Egg Blue and vases in Resene Smoky Green (left) and Resene Quarter Robin Egg Blue. Sofa, half circles cushion, coffee table, floor lamp and Eames bird from Nood, pendant lamp, candleholders and tapers from Good Form, striped circle cushions and rug from Freedom, wishbone chair from Mood Store. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

Coastal Grandma

A trend born on social media, Coastal Grandmother is all about chic simplicity.

Not that the look is really anything new. Think timeless Hamptons style with deep blues and greens like Resene Coast and Resene Permanent Green or even muted reds like Resene Red Oxide paired with white or creamy neutrals like Resene Quarter Spanish White. Plenty of natural stained or washed wood completes the look along with lots of greenery and other natural fibres touches like cane or wicker.

Give the look a bachy spin with a washed or weathered finish using Resene FX Paint Effects Medium to roughly blend two colours and opt for wood stains in Resene Colorwood Dark Rimu or Resene Colorwood Shore Thing from the We Speak Beach collection.


Cottagecore is another trend stemming from the modern desire to simplify our lives. Where the Coastal Grandmother trend is focused on stylish beachy relaxation, Cottagecore (also known as Farmcore or Countrycore) is all about adopting elements of a simple rural lifestyle.

It embraces the idea of eating locally-grown, or even homegrown food, and getting out in nature unplugged from technology. It comes with a preference for rustic finishes in interior design, whether that’s reviving a farmhouse-style kitchen, upcycling vintage furniture or opting for weathered looking paint finishes like limewashing using Resene FX Paint Effects Medium.

Dark Academia

This is the contemporary spin on gothic style, with dark and stormy colours, paired with walnut or oak toned wooden furniture and sumptuous fabrics like velvet and suede.

It’s a good place to start if you’re wanting to create an interior space perfect for winter retreats for reading, watching movies, studying or stimulating conversation.

Try going dark on walls with colours like Resene Bokara Grey or Resene Persian Red, add muted and moody lamp lighting and stained flooring in Resene Colorwood Dark Ebony, covered in plush rugs.

Add the odd splash of freshness with a neutral like Resene Half Tea for definition.


As the name suggests, Japandi is a blend of Japanese and Scandinavian styles, which means it is about simplicity of style with a focus on wellbeing. It is influenced by the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi which is about not interfering too much in the natural process of things and accepting imperfection. From a design point of view that means relaxed finishes, natural materials and textures that haven’t been enhanced too much.

Think minimalism that is warm and welcoming. That means working with beige or oaty shades such as Resene Tea or Resene Triple Merino rather than bright whites, and adding darker colours that are still quite neutral but add accent notes, like Resene Midnight Moss or Resene Dark Knight.

Layer with textures of wood, hemp, bamboo and rice paper.

Mid-century modern

Mid-century modern typically refers to the period of the 20th century stretching from the 1940s to the end of the 1960s. It is characterised by simple forms and clean lines that often incorporate organic curves. As well as furniture and interiors, this era of design also influences other design disciplines including architecture, graphic design and fashion.

When it comes to interiors, other key traits include a strong focus on wood finishes, but in balance with other man-made materials that were available to designers of the mid-20th century including vinyl, nylons, glass and plywood.

For your colour palette try rich, natural tones such as olive greens like Resene Fiji Green, mustard golds like Resene Hacienda and earthy browns like Resene Antique Brass. There’s also room for bolder, brighter shades such as burgundy-toned reds like Resene Hot Chile, teal blues like Resene Cello and dusty oranges such as Resene Tuscany.


Sometimes known as Royaltycore, we have popular Netflix show Bridgerton to thank for this trend, which is all about embracing the look of opulence and elegance associated with English stately homes, particularly from the Regency Era of the early 19th century.

The good news is it doesn’t need to be expensive to create a sense of opulence. Work with ornate wallpapers that include notes of metallic and texture like Resene Wallpaper Collection 24110 or go for an on-trend bold floral of Resene Wallpaper Collection KEN001.

Try painting a classic black and white checkerboard floor in high gloss Resene Black White and Resene All Black to anchor your historic look and upcycle an ornate mirror with a coat of metallic Resene Bullion.

Finish with velvet cushions or a throw.


Scandinavian, or Scandi, design has been popular for most of the 21st century so far, thanks to its pared back, often minimalist, aesthetic and fresh colour palette.

Try plywood walls or floor in simple Resene Colorwood Whitewash, with sage Resene Spanish Green, or charcoal Resene Tuna.

The style has evolved over the years to be warmer and softer with floaty curtains and layers of different wood finishes, but ultimately Scandi design is centred on clean lines, utility, simplicity and a connection to nature, all drenched in as much natural light as possible.

Don’t feel the need to stick strictly to one design style. Find the ones that resonate you and borrow those elements that appeal to you to create a design style of your own.

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

Resene Colorwood Shore Thing

August 02, 2022

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