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Sunshine design – working with yellow, red and orange

From the Resene decorating blog

Who doesn’t want a little bit more sunshine in their lives? Sunshine – or sunset – colours can be a very effective way to brighten up low-lit or dull spaces.

A creamy yellow bedroom with bursts of sunshine brights

Creamy yellows are punctuated with bursts of sunshine brights in the same shade to lift an otherwise neutral bedroom. Rear wall painted in Resene Meringue, floor in Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy, round table in Resene Illuminate with vase in Resene Creme De La Crème, books in Resene Yuma and Resene Mint Julep, ribbed vase in Resene Lemon Twist, large artwork in Resene Creme De La Creme, smaller piece in Resene Coconut Cream, short case is Resene Funk and tealight holder and small vase in Resene Coconut Cream. White duvet and pillowcases from Foxtrot Home, throw and ball cushion from Adairs, lemon cushions from Freedom, round boucle cushion from Mocka, cream cushion from The Warehouse. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

If you’re happiest in neutral or monochrome spaces, experimenting with sunny colours doesn’t have to mean going all-in on the brightest primary shades. There are lots of on-trend, sophisticated combinations in these sections of the colour wheel that can impart joy and inspiration, without becoming overwhelming.

Muted vs vibrant

Resene colour consultant Jackie Nicholls says shades of red, orange and yellow are perfect when a space needs a bit of a mood makeover.

“Sometimes we do need a bit of uplifting colour in our lives to create warm, inviting spaces.” She suggests sunset colours for a softer, more muted iteration of sunshine design.

“Have a look at the unusual combination of Resene Tacao, Resene Glorious and Resene Mulberry. These have a slightly retro vibe and are quite complex helping them to complement each other.

For a moodier sunset feel pair muted golds and peach tones like Resene Awaken and Resene Salted Caramel with the midnight blue of Resene Epic. Opting for more pastel tones like Resene Solitaire, Resene Soiree and Resene Moondance will give you more freshness, akin to a sunny spring sunrise, especially when paired with a soft sage green like Resene Contour.

One fun interior space to play with brighter, more primary shades of orange, red and yellow can be in a bathroom. Pair with bright white tiles and black tapware or trim in Resene Black Sand, to bounce around maximum light. Opt for just one bold sunny bright like Resene Grenadier or Resene Daylight as your accent colour on cabinets, shelving or even as a feature wall.

To take the bold contrast look further you could try to recreate your own Mondrian style design with sunset red Resene Arriba, mellow yellow Resene Illuminate and burnt orange Resene Thunderbird in place of Mondrian’s traditional blue.

Neutrals to try

Getting the most from a sunshine-inspired colour palette of golds, reds and oranges in different intensities can often come down to choosing the right neutrals, as they can be important in dialling the heat of your colour scheme up or down.

A bedroom painted with muted desert hues

Sunshine shades don’t need to mean primary brights. These muted desert hues lend this bedroom the appropriate soothing qualities of a sunset. Left wall, tealight holder and vase painted in Resene Spice with the right wall and connecting room wall in Resene Quarter Akaroa and floor in Resene Akaroa. The coat rack is Resene Leather. Artwork from Simply Creative, euro pillowcase and duvet from Adairs, pink cushion from The Warehouse, throw, basket and all other cushions from Freedom. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Warm, creamy whites like Resene Spanish White or Resene Bianca are good for rooms that need warming up and will work well with warm, muted sunshine colours like Resene Tuscany or golden Resene Essential Cream.

Cooler, grey-based whites like Resene Black White or Resene Aoraki will lend a fresh edge to whimsical sunshine pastels like Resene Moondance or to pale, cooler shades like Resene Springtime.

Experiment with Resene testpots as the light in your chosen rooms will make a difference to the look of your final colour scheme and how each colour works with your chosen neutrals. The best place to start is to work with either an all warm, or all cool colour scheme. The colour codes on each Resene colour can help guide you with that, as can your local Resene colour consultant.

When it comes to working with neutrals you can also create a subtly layered sunshine-inspired colour palette without straying too far away from creamy whites and beige tones.

Layering shades like Resene Meringue, the peach tones of Resene Dawn Glow or the subtle gold of Resene Canterbury Clay can add just the right hint of sunset to your space while keeping things neutral.

For the merest hint of sun in your neutrals try buttery Resene Athena with Resene Spanish White, and Resene Half Pearl Lusta. Add a deeper note in caramel Resene Amaranth or Resene Liquid Gold if you want more colour, while keeping things pared back and subtle.

Adding sunshine brights to a bedroom

This bedroom is a good example of how just a few touches of sunshine brights can elevate a whole room. Walls painted in Resene Half Gull Grey, floor in Resene Colorwood Natural, desk in Resene Colonial White, headboard in Resene Calico with stripes in Resene Big Bang, case in Resene Big Bang, lampshade in Resene Guggenheim and chair in Resene Gold Dust. Rattan chair from Cintesi, lamp and beige cushion from Freedom, striped euros from Father Rabbit, bedspread from Adairs, polka dot pillowcase from Castle & Co, striped throw cushion from Shut the Front Door, yellow throw from Farmer’s, artwork by Innulux. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

Chalk it up

For an interior room, Jackie suggests painting large blocks of colour on your walls in your chosen sunny shades, to be less imposing than a full wall.

“They could be square, rectangular or even circles, and group them in different sizes together or just add one to each wall.

“You could use them as a backdrop for artwork on them or use them as chalkboard areas if you paint them in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen.

“Just give them a week or so to harden and then rub over with a piece of chalk on its side, creating a layer of chalk dust, then dust off with a cloth. This will season the paint and make it easier to rub off future chalk without it still showing.”

Sunny side up

If you want to use sunshine colours outside, Jackie suggests trying them on a repainted wooden deck chair or outdoor table, working with different shades on different slates.

“If you want to go really bright, look at Resene Casablanca, Resene Big Bang and Resene Quarter Pohutukawa.”

To create the look she suggests making sure the timber is clean using Resene’s range of paint preparation products. “What you’ll need will depend on the condition of the timber and what it is already finished in.”

Once clean, give the wood a sand, then coat with Resene Quick Dry primer. Finish with two coats of Resene Lustacryl in your chosen colours and enjoy the sunny finish!

The other reason to use different golds, reds, blush pinks and oranges in your outdoor spaces is because, though they’re sunshine colours, they’re also floral shades that work well against deep forest or grass-green backdrops such as hedges and shrubs, or fences stained in Resene Waterborne Woodsman Canopy or Resene Waterborne Woodsman Evergreen.

An interior with vibrant gold Resene wallpaper

A simple drop of vibrant gold in Resene Wallpaper Collection 379833_5 elevates this airy living space beyond its neutral and natural decor. Team it with Resene Colorwood Natural or Resene Colorwood Whitewash on flooring and paint trims in Resene Alabaster for a crisp finish.

A fresh, sunny yellow like Resene Light Fantastic also makes an incredible outdoor highlight colour on your front door, which can repeat on a letterbox or planter against outdoor cladding in tranquil blue Resene Upside or neutral Resene Merino.

Resene Clockwork Orange is another great choice for an on-trend, vibrant front door, paired with a greyer house exterior in Resene Triple Black White and trim in Resene Quarter Alabaster.

For a more muted, but equally impactful sun-inspired front door, try dreamy terracotta Resene Tuscany against silvery Resene Timeless and cream Resene Solitaire.

Adding a sun-inspired colour scheme to your house is a license to add joy, whether that comes in gentle muted shades or bold brights.

Resene Meringue

Resene Creme De La Crème

Resene Breathe Easy

Resene Athena

Resene Aoraki

Resene Timeless

Resene Contour

Resene Springtime

Resene Illuminate

Resene Illuminate

Resene Moondance

Resene Daylight

Resene Amaranth

Resene Awaken

Resene Dawn Glow

Resene Soiree

Resene Salted Caramel

Resene Liquid Gold

Resene Upside

Resene Epic

Resene Arriba

Resene Light Fantastic

Resene Black Sand

December 23, 2022

For help choosing colours to suit your projects, visit your local Resene ColorShop, ask a Resene Colour Expert online or book a Resene Colour Consultation.

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