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The power of pattern

From the Resene decorating blog

Whether your home is a riot of colour or a modern canvas of whites and creams, there is always an opportunity to introduce a pattern – it can be the tool that takes a room from a space with a lot of nice pieces to a cohesive interior scheme. Patterns bring energy, juxtaposition, angles, vibrancy, depth, interest and contrast into interior spaces. In a nutshell – that coveted wow factor.

Pattern has long been a part of interior design. From the bold monochrome chequerboard floor at Westminster Abbey, highlighted so beautifully by overhead shots of the Queen’s recent state funeral, to the floral papers popularised by British textile designer William Morris in the mid to late 1800s. History gives us plenty of inspiration to draw from.

A seaside bach style interior

Perfect at a seaside bach, this may look like wallpaper from a distance but it has been created using masking tape to paint wide blue stripes.

Wall painted in Resene Alabaster with masked stripe in Resene Frozen and hand-painted stripe in Resene Quarter Frozen. Timber floor stained in Resene Colorwood Natural and bench seat in Resene Biscay. Light blue cushion from H&M Home. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

A bedroom with a floral wallpaper pattern

This pretty repeating floral, perfect for a cosy bedroom is Resene Wallpaper Collection 220461.

The bed is dressed in layers with colour inspiration taken from the paper. Pair with a painted door in a mustard or honey yellow such as Resene Galliano.

While some minimalist design schemes will be forever timeless, trends march on, through new neutrals to colour blocking and painted floors, right through to maximalism. With wallpapers gaining momentum and even the resurgence of the chintzy eras, the latter reimagined by 20 and 30-somethings, taking their grandparents’ style and bringing it up to date – dubbed Grand millennial. For many, the new mantra is more is more. But rest assured, it’s all in good taste.

The options are endless. Florals with checks or stripes, why not? Bold floral wallpaper on the biggest wall, go ahead. One golden rule to prevent your look from becoming chaotic is to keep the colour palette limited and consistent as this will pull everything together. Keep to just a few colours in each scheme and make sure they tone together – all warm or all cool.


Checkerboard floors can be spotted in 15th century European paintings and the design can be found in ancient artefacts such as Bronze Age pottery from as early as 1500 BC. The design can even be found in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The monochrome chessboard type floor was popular in churches – Westminster Abbey’s floor was first laid in 1690. The design quickly made it into palaces and country mansions and eventually, everyday homes, popularised by the advent of linoleum floors in kitchens and bathrooms.

While one could argue the chequerboard floor has never been out of fashion, it most definitely is very in vogue right now. Lino has had its day and not everyone has the investment needed for ceramic or in the case of the Abbey, marble tiles, so a painted floor is the perfect solution. While the black and white chequerboard floor is classic, you can soften the pattern by choosing a check that combines two colours that are close in hue. Start by giving the area two coats of the lightest colour. Use Resene Walk-on flooring and paving paint on flooring. Mask up a grid using a set square and painters’ masking tape to create even squares and use a roller to paint the darker shade in the exposed gaps. Remove the tape carefully when the paint is almost (but not entirely) dry. Finish the whole painted floor in Resene Concrete Wax to protect it.

A painted checkerboard floor

A painted checkerboard floor is a cost effective alternative to tiles – and it’s much easier to update your look.

Floor painted in Resene Dingley and Resene Quarter Spanish White, wall in Resene Pale Leaf and cabinet in Resene Clover. Chair in Resene Brown Pod, hook rack and shelf in Resene Toorak and vases in Resene Triple Spanish White, Resene Half Villa White and Resene Hemlock. Market basket and throw from Blackbird Goods. Candle, notebook and HomeBody book from Paper Plane. Project by Gem Adams, image by Wendy Fenwick.

A lounge with mid-century flair

Add a touch of mid-century flair to your living room with a Gordon Walters-inspired koru mural.

Back wall painted in Resene Robin Egg Blue, Resene Half Robin Egg Blue, Resene Quarter Robin Egg Blue and Resene Smoky Green, left wall 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.


Stripes are probably the easiest pattern to achieve with paint. You simply need a good spirit level, ruler and high quality washi-style painter’s tape – available at Resene ColorShops. Take time to make sure your lines are straight before starting. Wide, horizontal stripes of 10-20cm are the most popular and can help to make a room bigger. Keep to one colour unless you want to have fun with, say, candy colours in a nursery. Use two coats and make sure the paint is dry before you carefully remove the tape. For a more casual vibe you could add a freestyle stripe above your masked area for a more casual, imperfect line.


The most obvious wallpaper design for many situations is floral – either big and bold or more delicate and detailed. However, back-to-nature design trends have sprouted an endless array of paper options from Amazonian ferns and forests to landscapes. Try the Resene English Style Wallpaper Collection and the Resene Kent Wallpaper Collection as a starting point. Or for delicate florals including Japanese-inspired designs try Resene Fiore Wallpaper Collection.

If you are trying out floral wallpaper for the first time you might like to start in the smallest room. Bold florals in powder rooms are all the rage, some even taking the pattern up onto the ceiling. Once decorated, you can get a feel for this room each time you visit and see whether you might want to let loose with a bold wallpaper on a larger room somewhere else in the house.

You can also find plenty of stripe play in the Resene Wallpaper collections. Look at Resene Wallpaper Collection 539011 (green and pink) and Resene Wallpaper Collection 539035 (shades of grey) from the Resene Club Botanique Collection. Or for some geometric action look at the Resene Onyx Wallpaper Collection.


August 22, 2022

Visit your local Resene ColorShop to have a browse through the wallpaper books and gain some inspiration. There are many, many choices.

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