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Blocks and stripes

From habitat plus - special paint effects

Colour-blocking techniques, geometric patterns and learn the art of perfect stripes

Colour blocking

Simple and effective, colour-blocking can transform a wall, or piece of furniture like a bookcase.You can use sections of a wall, use your blocks of colour in a random way or apply a repeating pattern based on simple shapes such as triangles, rectangles or squares. Or you can create more dramatic walls using 3D geometric effects.

A 3D wall effect

Colour blocking with pastel colours

Colour blocking a bedroom

Painted hexagon wall pattern

Colour-block bedroom wall in (from left) Resene Helix (try Resene Dusted Grey), Resene Peace (try Resene Spanish Green) and Resene Silver Chalice on Resene AlabasterHexagon wall feature painted with stencils in Resene Kakapo (try Resene Limeade), Resene Transmission (try Resene Half Stack), Resene Coast and Resene Optimist.

Resene Peace

Resene Helix

Colourful triangle colour blocking

Colour blocking a bookcase


Stripes are one of the most classic, and handiest, designs to use to transform a wall, a tray, a floor and even a ceiling. You can go for wide even stripes, horizontally or vertically, for a striking feature wall. Or use random-width stripes for a more complex and colourful look.

Low-tack masking tape will be your most-used tool when creating stripes. For larger areas, like feature walls, use a plumbline for vertical stripes and a level for horizontal ones to make sure your stripes are straight. A good technique is to use a batten of timber, marked at your chosen intervals, as a guide, rather than ruling and marking at various places on the wall.

Colourful striped ceiling hallway

A painted outdoor table

Painted storage cupboards in entryway

Hallway ceiling in Resene Onepoto (try Resene Aqua), Resene Dust Storm, Resene Knock Out (try Resene Smashing) and Resene Alabaster, which is also the hallway wall colour.  Outdoor table in Resene Woodsman Limed Gum, Resene Woodsman Whitewash and Resene Gold Dust and Resene Spark metallics.  Kids’ stations in Resene Cello, Resene Enigma and Resene Quarter New Denim Blue. The wall is in Resene Half Rice Cake and the floor is Resene Mountain Mist.

Painting a green striped bedroom wall

A blue and white striped bedroom feature wall

Green bedroom wall in Resene Miso, Resene Nirvana and Resene Fawn Green. Headboard painted in Resene Fawn Green with lattice in Resene Miso.  White/blue bedroom: Bedroom wall in Resene Smalt Blue and Resene Half Milk White, designed by Federation Design.

Did you know?  Stripes can help change the shape of your room and are particularly useful in small spaces. Vertical stripes can make your room appear taller and horizontal stripes can make your room seem wider and more spacious.

Resene Woodsman Whitewash

Pleasingly plaid

This striking plaid effect (below) is simpler than it looks to create. Using two colours (this is Resene Indian Ink and Resene Rhino on a Resene Sea Fog background), both are mixed into Resene FX Paint Effects Medium to achieve the see-through effect. Then simply mask up the horizontal then the vertical stripes and use a small smooth surface paint roller to apply. For this and more easy DIY projects see

Plaid paint effects

Embroidery paint effects

Plaid wall: This plaid was created using Resene Sea Fog as the background colour with a chequered pattern in Resene Indian Ink and Resene Rhino, both diluted with Resene FX Paint Effects MediumDrawers: A fun finish for a wall or piece of furniture, this pattern mimics embroidery with tiny painted crosses, in Resene Sauvignon, Resene Cupid, Resene Glamour Puss, Resene Rouge, Resene Highland, Resene Green House, Resene Reverie (try Resene Ship Cove), Resene Valour (try Resene Tory Blue) and Resene Influential (try Resene Tussock).

Resene Influential

Resene Reverie

Resene Valour

Mondrian inspired

The art of Piet Mondrian is very distinctive. Characterised by a rigid geometry of squares and rectangles it’s the perfect candidate for an impressive wall treatment (below left). Resene Eighth Black White provides the perfect white background and an eye-catching grid pattern in Resene Blackjack separates the primary colours in Resene Jalapeno, Resene Aviator and Resene Galliano, synonymous with this style.

Mondrian inspired bathroom design

Tribal style living room design

Bathroom: Bathroom walls are the perfect blank canvas for a little creativity. This one is painted in Resene Eighth Black White with the Mondrian grid painted in Resene Blackjack with colourful blocks in Resene Jalapeno, Resene Aviator and Resene Galliano. The timber floorboards are finished in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash.  Living area: Take a lead from tribal style with a graphic black and white wall with freehand painted stripes in Resene Double Sea Fog on a Resene Nero background.

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

updated August 2021
Habitat plus - paint effects

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