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Colour palettes from the spice cabinet

From the Resene decorating blog

A pinch of spice can make your interiors very, very nice.

Deep warm tones of paprika, cinnamon, allspice, cumin and cardamom are a play on our current preference for earthy, natural shades like clay, stone and sand but given some extra oomph.

A copper-toned sitting area

Copper-toned layers of spiced colour make this sitting area glow with warmth.

Rear wall painted in Resene Dark Buff, lower shelf wall in Resene Korma, console table in Resene Twine, ladder in Resene Chelsea Gem, peg stool in Resene Sante Fe, candlesticks in Resene Mai Tai, artwork in Resene Korma and Resene Gold Coast, tall vase in Resene Alpaca and small vase in Resene Gold Coast. Project by Gem Adams, image by Wendy Fenwick. Sunday Armchair from Contempa, cushion cover, throw, moon table lamp, candle, marble dish and rug from Citta, wool throw from Paper Plane, Hannah Vessel from Father Rabbit, books from Paper Plane and Father Rabbit.

A cumin striped bedroom wall

The Resene Cumin striped wall design adds immediate impact to a plain bedroom where the spice tones are emphasised in the furnishings.

Rear wall and skirting painted in Resene White Pointer, floor in Resene Half Raven, plant pot in Resene Cloud, side table in Resene Indian Ink with tall vase in Resene Cumin, small vase in Resene Half Raven and dish in Resene Coast. Duvet cover and pillowcases from Foxtrot Home, lamp from Paper Plane, linen cushions, wool throw, woven throw and red side table from Citta, slippers from Muji, reading glasses from Auckland Art Gallery. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Melanie Jenkins.

The right blend of warming, earthy shades will elevate your interiors to something truly unique. And just as in cooking, the secret of the perfect spice mix lies in balance; strong notes, with more subtle contrasts, or heat with fresh, cooling touches.

Sometimes all that’s required is a pinch of spice to liven up a neutral space. Other times you might want to go all in with some fiery heat. It’s all about finding the right colour recipe to suit your tastes.

Turmeric golds

Vibrant yet earthy yellows like Resene Buddha Gold and Resene Pirate Gold have been having a moment in recent years. They add a touch of exotic glamour that can really make a room sing, while still being muted enough to play well with other colours.

For a look that’s bold and full of warmth, try Resene Good As Gold with a bone or off-white neutral like Resene Quarter Titania, then notes of deep forest green Resene Atlas, or add extra spice with a pinch of dark red Resene Red Planet.

Turmeric-toned hues also work well as a highlight colour in a black and white monochrome space. Try the joyful deep yellow of Resene Buttercup contrasted with the dark charcoal of Resene Gunmetal and the subtle yellow tones of Resene Quarter Spanish White. Use your bold turmeric shade as a frame around a favourite piece of furniture, or simply paint that piece of furniture in it to emphasise both the piece, and the pared-back monochrome of the rest of the room.

For a more muted look, look for turmeric golds that feature a touch more green in colours like Resene Mustard or Resene Husk, paired with a soft cream like Resene Colonial White.

Other combos to try are Resene Buddha Gold with dark Resene Prussian Blue or Resene Pizza with greige Resene Stonewall.

Adding warm brown hues to a largely neutral lounge

This largely neutral room is given extra spiciness with the addition of warm browns, brick reds and gold. Wall stained in Resene Colorwood Sheer Black with battens painted in Resene All Black. Floor stained in Resene Colorwood Natural, pillar and light shade in Resene Black White, sideboard in Resene Snow Drift with vases in, from left, Resene Prairie Sand, Resene Tequila, Resene Half Hairy Heath and Resene Buttercup, tables in from left Resene Quarter Drought, and Resene Bison Hide and small vase in Resene Quarter Drought. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Wendy Fenwick. Sofa from Nood, rug from Adairs, cushion covers and throw from Citta, artwork by Cloud 9 Creative (Lee Sinclair) from endemicworld, dish from Citta, shoes from H&M.

Warm spiced browns

Our love for browns has increased in recent years as we embrace vintage-inspired mid-century looks from the 60s and 70s. The brown shades we love today are firmly inspired by our love of travel and the exotic colours of a spice market.

Think cumin, cinnamon or nutmeg and the green-tinted neutral colour of ground coriander.

It is tempting to think these colours will work best when we want rooms to feel cosy, warm and comforting – like a good curry! While they do work well in those spaces, adding fresh notes of cream, white or beige cools down the spice level to create rooms that are fresh and calming.

The complex mustard brown of Resene Madras works well on walls trimmed in soft off-white Resene Bianca, and for unexpected prettiness add notes of on-trend mauve in Resene Maverick.

Layers of different spiced browns and terracotta also work well against beige, green, or off-white neutrals like Resene Truffle or Resene Half Tea.

Try the warm copper brown of Resene Cumin with fresh Resene Willow Brook and muted Resene Lemon Grass. For extra spice try Resene Cinnamon against the creamy soft yellow of Resene Chamois and dramatic contrast in deep violet Resene Black Rock.

Muted space shades work beautifully with warm beige neutrals

Muted space shades work beautifully with warm beige neutrals to create inviting, soothing living spaces like this dining area. Left wall and console table in Resene Spice, right wall in Resene Quarter Akaroa, small vase and candleholder in Resene Triple Akaroa, tall vase in Resene Tobacco Brown, large bowl in Resene Alpaca, on the dining table bowl and tall vase in Resene Akaroa, single-handled vase, coat rack and lightshade in Resene Leather, pink dining chair in Resene Wafer and artwork in Resene Wafer, Resene Leather and Resene Akaroa. Table from Target Furniture, basket from Freedom. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

If you do want to create a comforting retreat space with your spicy browns, look to layer up tonal shades, so keep some texture and visual interest in the space. And leave yourself 10% of your finished room to add in a lighter highlight colour that will bring the room to life.

An example would be to try a combination of Resene Cumin with Resene Mocha, Resene Colorwood Enhance Red Brown and lighter Resene Sante Fe, with highlights or trim in Resene Umber White or even pink-toned Resene Spring Wood.

Paprika and chilli

Chilli-hued reds or terracotta-coloured paprika make for great impact colours on feature walls and furniture pieces like dining chairs or shelving. They also work particularly well on front doors if you want to embrace the trend for high-impact entranceways.

A hot chilli red dining room

Hot chilli red Resene Smashing on the right wall and the sideboard add some spice to this vibrant dining space. Mid-wall painted in Resene Half Gull Grey, left wall and lower right wall in Resene Volcano, pink stripes in Resene Paper Doll, floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, table in Resene Half Tuna and lightshade in Resene Roadster. Dining chair from Cintesi, jug from Freedom, Rachel Long handwoven tapestry from Public Record, artwork by Sarah Parkinson from endemicworld, tote bag from Father Rabbit. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Vibrant Resene Poppy is perfect for a bold front door. Try it against exteriors in Resene Triple Rakaia with trim in the always-popular Resene Alabaster or Resene Sea Fog. A Resene Paprika front door works well against a Resene Tea exterior and Resene Eighth Tea trim. Add pots or other highlights in Resene Wasabi for additional culinary-inspired contrast.

Inside, warm, spicy reds like Resene Hot Chile can be dramatic when used to paint trims in an otherwise neutral room, painted in a warm-toned neutral like Resene Half Pearl Lusta or greyed Resene White Pointer. If you want maximum warmth and intensity from your spicy reds, pair them with a deep greige like Resene Stonewall.

Herbal greens

Muted herbal greens or green-toned neutrals pair well with a lot of spice-influenced colours, cooling them down or providing a sophisticated contrast.

Resene Half Coriander adds just enough subtle green to offset the greige moodiness of Resene Masala and works well with other similar neutrals like Resene Sisal or Resene Tea.

Sage or grey greens like Resene Blue Smoke pair well with chilli reds like Resene Red Berry or Resene Guardsman Red and the crisp white of Resene Alabaster.

Try leafier, grassy herbal greens like Resene Parsley with the turmeric tones of Resene Fuel Yellow for vibrancy or go more muted with the paprika-coloured Resene Piper. Offset the spiciness with highlights in neutral Resene Merino.

Much like cooking, if you are new to using spice, just add a small dash of your favourite spice inspired Resene colour. Then add more as your spice confidence grows.

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

September 27, 2022

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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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