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Fortune favours the bold

From habitat plus - decorating and colour trends 2023

Though plain, pared back, all-white spaces may have once been thought of as the epitome of contemporary design, it turns out living in an environment that’s too sterile and devoid of colour doesn’t do your mental wellbeing any favours.

As a remedy to boring walls (and something fun to do to pass the time), spaces with bold and graphic painted elements surfaced as a significant trend during lockdowns. But even as restrictions have loosened, decorators are continuing to uniquely express themselves through creative and customised decorating. Whether you’re dreaming of a statement wall in an eye-catching colour and design, want to build up a richly layered pattern-on-pattern look or feel like even just a little more character would go a long way, putting your personality on display has never been more in vogue.

A bedroom with blue and white stripes

Stripes are a simple but effective way to make a statement.

Pattern play: Wall in Resene Alabaster with masked stripe in Resene Frozen and hand-painted stripe in Resene Quarter Frozen, floor in Resene Colorwood Whitewash, dresser in Resene Biscay with stripes in Resene Spindle, Resene Alabaster and Resene Kashmir Blue and bowl and vase in Resene Biscay. Duvet cover from Foxtrot Home, throw from H&M Home, striped pillowcases from Ezibuy.

A bedroom with a soft colour palette in a dynamic zig zag pattern

A soft colour palette prevents dynamic designs from looking too busy.

Walls that move you: Back wall in Resene Quarter Duck Egg Blue with angled stripes in Resene Duck Egg Blue and Resene Inside Back, left wall in Resene Half Inside Back, floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, plant pot in Resene Duck Egg Blue, DIY artwork in Resene Milk White, Resene Taupe Grey and Resene Fuscous Grey with background in Resene Half Black White and bedside table in Resene Inside Back. Bedlinen, throw and lamp from Città.

Pattern play

Pattern mixing is one of those decorating skills that many of us are afraid to try ourselves, but it’s far easier than you might expect. One foolproof idea is to stick to patterns which are all within the same colour family, such as blue, so it will be immediately noticeable that they share something key in common. Don’t overlook walls, furniture and flooring as places you can add more patterns using paint. To create this wall design we painted two different types of stripes on top of our base wall colour, Resene Alabaster. First, use high quality painter’s tape to mask off where you want your wider stripes to be and then paint them in two coats of Resene Frozen. Once dry, remove the tape and use Resene Quarter Frozen to hand paint your thinner top stripe on in two coats using a large paintbrush to give it softer, imperfect edges and a casual vibe that’s perfect for relaxed everyday living or the bach.

Walls that move you

Adding a dynamic painted pattern to a wall can be a great way to bring interest to an otherwise simple room. Depending on the colours and the busyness of the design, it can either inject energy into the room or create a sense of balance and harmony. There are plenty of interesting patterns in the Resene Wallpaper Collection to choose from or you can paint your own design on your walls, floor, ceiling or a piece of furniture. This allows you to completely customise the size, shape, scale, colours and form and create a look that’s entirely unique to you and your space. The painted herringbone design in this bedroom, with its embedded arrows, pushes the eye back and forth across the space to take in all the details. But because it is made up of gentle tonal blues, the pattern doesn’t overwhelm. Instead, it sets the tone for the colour scheme used throughout the rest of the space so that it all hangs together cohesively. The best part is that it’s simple to create using high-quality painter’s masking tape, a pencil, a ruler and a level.

top tip  No matter how simple or complex the design you wish to create with paint, it’s always smart to plan out your design on paper first before you take it to your surface.

Check one, two

Checkerboard designs are not only hugely popular, they’re also classic and versatile. The pattern can be spun to fit with just about any style from French country to retro, chic or funky. You can paint this design anywhere to inject a bit of fun into your space, even on something as small as a coaster – but a painted checkerboard floor is a choice that will keep looking classic long after the peak of this trend has passed. Once your floor is finished, you may not want to stop! Create repetition within your space by painting vases, plant pots, lampshades and furniture in checkerboard designs using different colour combinations like Resene Triple Bison Hide and Resene Half Bison Hide, Resene Dusted Blue and Resene White Linen or Resene Tobacco Brown and Resene Tea at different scales for a bold, layered look.

A dining room with a chequered floor pattern

Checks are an easy pattern to replicate yourself for a classic or quirky finish.

Wall in Resene Eighth Joss, floor and pendant lamp in Resene Eighth Joss and Resene Doeskin, cabinet in Resene Dusted Blue and Resene White Linen, chairs in Resene Quarter Doeskin, plant pot in Resene Regent Grey and Resene Doeskin, tall vase (on cabinet) in Resene Tobacco Brown, vase with handles in Resene Black, DIY 3D textured vase in Resene Dusted Blue and Resene Eighth Joss and low dish in Resene Dusted Blue. Table from Nood.

A lounge with a chequered floor pattern

Modernise the classic checkerboard floor with neutral tones.

Back wall in Resene Triple Bison Hide, left wall in Resene Half Bison Hide, diamond floor in Resene Triple Bison Hide and Resene Eighth Bison Hide, console table in Resene Bokara Grey, side table in Resene Tobacco Brown and bud vases in Resene Bokara Grey, Resene Eighth Thorndon Cream and Resene Tobacco Brown. Chair from Le Forge, throw from Bo Concept, artwork from Junk & Disorderly.

top tip  Resene Walk-on is a general purpose flooring paint with an attractive satin finish based on tough acrylic resins for durability and abrasion resistance. Use it to create solid or patterned designs on floors, steps, decking, concrete, porches, primed timber and composite boards. To rejuvenate a previously painted floor, simply wash down the existing coating, remove any loose flaking material, prime or seal if needed and recoat using two coats of Resene Walk-on.

Inspiration under foot

Thanks to the magic of the internet, there are endless places you can look to for inspiration for your statement wall design – but you can also look to furniture and décor you already own and love. This wall design mimics the shapes and colours in the graphic rug and extrapolates it to become a theme for the entire room. The result is surreal, playful and artistic in a way that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

A lounge with a bold wall design

Play with perception by mimicking bold designs in different parts of your room.

Inspiration under foot: Left wall in Resene Travertine, right wall in Resene Sante Fe, Resene Juniper, Resene Paris White and Resene Dust Storm with lines in Resene Nero, floor in Resene Juniper, sculpture in Resene Yucca with mount in Resene Nero, plinth in Resene Paris White, vase in Resene Desperado and tiny pot (on table) in Resene Felix. Chair and side table from Bauhaus, rug and shelf from Good Form.

Lounge with faux floor tiles

Painting faux floor tiles is a cost-effective way of achieving a stylish finish.

Chic, chic repeat: Wall in Resene Savour, floor in Resene Meringue with stencilled design in Resene Black Sand, console table in Resene Black Sand, vases in Resene Scoria and Resene Savour and DIY artwork in Resene Meringue and Resene All Black. Sofa from Soren Liv, coffee table from David Shaw, gold dish from Simon James, cushions from Adairs.

Chic, chic repeat

When picking a place to paint a bold or graphic design, don’t discount your fifth and sixth ‘walls’ – the ceiling and floor. With a stencil, you can create the look of a tin ceiling or tiled floor in a matter of hours at a fraction of the cost of the real thing. A high contrast dark on light design in Resene Meringue and Resene Black Sand spells sophistication and elegance in this lounge. The bold DIY artwork, created with Resene testpots, brings the palette and geometry of the floor design up onto the wall, repeating motifs and shapes featured throughout the space for a unified look.

Circle back

Rethinking the way you use neutrals can set your space apart and even a simple achromatic palette can be bold, eye-catching and undeniably modern with the right design. This graphic black, white and grey dining room adorned with a split circle motif has style in spades. What makes it so effective is its clear repetition of the same design and colours across multiple surfaces. However, the scale of the circle design gets smaller in proportion to the surface it is covering. While you could keep the look entirely neutral, a few pops of golds like Resene Apache, Resene Tussock and Resene Hot Toddy on plant pots, vases and bowls breaks things up. They are an ideal accent colour for their vibrancy and strength – just what is needed to stand out against the high contrast hues.

Mid-century style - geometric shapes make up this wall mural

Geometric shapes bring mid-century style to a classic neutral palette.

Circle back: Wall and cabinet in Resene Sea Fog with circle design in Resene All Black and Resene Quarter Friar Greystone, floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, dining table, chairs and candlesticks in Resene All Black and vases and plant pots in Resene Apache, Resene Tussock and Resene Hot Toddy.

Bedroom with modern maximalist style

Modern maximalism means playing with a mix of on-trend patterns, colours and textures.

More is more: Upper wall in Resene Wallpaper Collection 37520-2, lower wall and skirting board in Resene Tangaroa, panelling and dado rail in Resene St Kilda, floor in Resene Rice Cake with stencilled design in Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Tangaroa, bench seat in Resene Stromboli with legs/frame in Resene Duck Egg Blue, headboard in Resene Cashmere trimmed in Resene Scoria, pendant lamp in Resene Scoria, artwork frame in Resene Duck Egg Blue and painted accessories in Resene Stromboli and Resene Scoria. Duvet cover, pillowcases, throw and cushions from Adairs.

More is more

Since the pandemic began, maximalism has made a big comeback. But there’s a common misconception – mainly, that maximalism implies that your space needs to be filled with a lot of ‘stuff’. However, maximalism is more about having lots of colour. And rather than just increasing the number of possessions you own, it’s more important to surround yourself with objets d’art, mementoes, curios, rich textures and bold patterns and hues that you truly love. Maximalism also stretches across movements: so depending on what you want to display, its principles can be used to create very different looks. For one decorator, maximalism might be found in an eclectic guest bedroom in the English countryside with patterned wallpaper, chintzy drapery and a somewhat chaotic collected atmosphere. The Memphis Design movement, with all its playful colours, geometric patterns and squiggly silhouettes can carry the same exuberant spirit – as can a room filled with treasures from far flung places which give off a well-travelled air – with a completely different treatment. Whatever your style and tastes, a proper maximalist look is a well-curated one, where everything in the space has importance and meaning. It can definitely help to make a mood board, where you can see your swatches of Resene paint colours, wallpaper and curtain samples all together at once, when planning your maximalist look.

Pixel perfect

You don’t have to be a masterful artist to create an artistic wall or floor design. With a pencil, ruler, level and some high-quality painter’s masking tape, a ‘pixelated’ design is always within reach. Once you decide where you want to put it and what scale to paint your squares, the more challenging part will be which Resene colours to use and what shape you want it to take. You could stick to a single colour family for an ombre effect, choose a selection of complementary hues for a boldly contrasting look or leverage the whole spectrum and create a rainbow. While you can certainly take this concept across an entire wall, it also works great in smaller doses to act as artwork, fill in odd areas or visually frame your furniture. Use select pixel colours to paint various objects and accessories to bring the colour off the wall and into the rest of your space for a cohesive look.

A lounge with a simple pixelated design

Simple designs are elevated with smart use of colour.

Wall in Resene Soul Searcher with squares in Resene Contented, Resene Salted Caramel, Resene Savour, Resene Scoria and Resene Rebel, floor in Resene Colorwood Whitewash, vases in Resene Contented and Resene Rebel, plant pot in Resene Savour and artwork backgrounds in Resene Savour (portrait) and Resene Rebel (magnolia). Sofa and nesting tables from Good Form, throw and cushions from H&M Home.

Pixelated design - similarly toned palette

Keep colours to a similarly toned palette for a refined, current look.

Wall in Resene Rice Cake with squares in Resene Springtime, Resene Transcend, Resene Wabi Sabi, Resene Field Day and Resene Seaweed, floor in Resene Colorwood Whitewash, dresser and plant pot in Resene Paddock and vases in Resene Springtime, Resene Wabi Sabi and Resene Seaweed. Dresser from Mr and Mrs Ward, chair from Good Form.

A pixelated design - dark backdrop

A plain, darker backdrop gives tonal pixel colours extra impact.

Wall in Resene Carpe Noctem with squares in Resene White Noise, Resene Duck Egg Blue, Resene Baring Head and Resene Watermark, floor in Resene Colorwood Whitewash and vases in (from left to right) Resene Watermark, Resene Duck Egg Blue and Resene White Noise. Bench, dresser and lamp from Good Form.


Resene Meringue

Resene White Noise

Resene Springtime

Resene Baring Head

Resene Contented

Resene Soul Searcher

Resene Savour

Resene Quarter Friar Greystone

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

Resene Transcend

Resene Wabi Sabi

Resene Field Day

Resene Watermark

Resene Salted Caramel

Resene Carpe Noctem

Resene Black Sand

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