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Timber and colour combos

From habitat plus - wood stains

Some colours are better suited to the natural look of timber, enhancing and complementing the appearance.

Sanded back timber interior protected by Resene Aquaclear

Homeowners Nathalie and Ross sanded back the original timber ceiling and trims of this 1970s Lockwood® before coating them with Resene Aquaclear. The original Lockwood® timber on the walls is painted in Resene Half Spanish White.

When matching your paint to stained or varnished timber consider the undertone and texture of the timber as well as the sheen and reflectiveness of the clear coat. As a general rule, off whites, creams and green white paint colours look handsome paired with timber.

Colour guides for common timbers


Rimu is very common in heritage homes used on flooring, panelling, furniture and kitchen cabinetry. There are two kinds of rimu; ordinary which is yellow/green in tone and heart rich ginger/gold. Try this yellow wood with creams such as Resene Pearl Lusta, Resene Double Spanish White and greens such as Resene Haven and Resene Aspiring.


This warm red/gold-coloured timber was used in many older homes built early last century for flooring, panelled walls or planked ceilings. It goes well with rich warm creams such as Resene Sour Dough, Resene Canterbury Clay, indulgent ochre tans like Resene Mai Tai and blue based greens like Resene Deep Teal and Resene Tangaroa.

Radiata pine

This yellow/white timber prefers clear off whites such as Resene Rice Cake and Resene Green White, dense yellow based greys like Resene Nomad and bolder colours like Resene Pohutukawa, Resene Kaitoke Green and Resene Bunting.


Though it has a lovely warm red-brown colour when new it greys off rapidly when exposed to sunlight and weathering. It likes rich warm neutrals such as Resene Spanish White, Resene Double Biscotti and dense greens like Resene Gondwana.

A finished tawa headboard

Designer Peta Davy of Yellowfox used a variety of timbers in her own home, including a recycled tawa headboard and hallway wall finished in Resene Aquaclear. The walls are painted in Resene Black White.

An elegant stairway with finished timber

The elegant stairway and timber features of this heritage home are finished in Resene Qristal Clear Poly-Flat varnish which complements the walls in Resene Quarter Truffle.


Tawa was used a lot during the 1970s for flooring and more recently for kitchen cabinetry. It is a light yellow/beige and takes on a pale honey gold look when polyurethaned with solventborne finishes. Try it with slightly green edged creams like Resene Villa White and Resene Thorndon Cream. Because of its lightness it suits deep blues, greens and charcoals like Resene Indian Ink, Resene Bondi Blue, Resene Bingo and Resene Foundry.


Oak is often stained a dark colour for traditional furniture trims and panelling in older homes or is varnished as blonde oak. It has strong open graining and when stripped back to bare wood, bleached or whitewashed it takes on a Scandinavian, coastal and shabby chic look. When left as a dark strong colour it likes associating with traditional and earthy colours – Resene Half Dutch White, Resene Jalapeno, Resene Mangrove and Resene Half Pearl Lusta. When stripped it works well with muted greys, blues and greens – Resene Triple Black White, Resene Duck Egg Blue, Resene Half Robin Egg Blue and Resene Periglacial Blue.

Most popular

Common applications for Resene clear coats and varnishes around the home.

Wood brings natural warmth to a minimalist aesthetic

Wood brings natural warmth to a minimalist aesthetic. Timber wall and ceiling finished in Resene Aquaclear, right wall in Resene Alabaster. Design by Totem Studio Architects.

Bright ideas

Got some leftover Resene wood stain left in the can? Get creative and use stains to rejuvenate tired furniture or transform timber offcuts into stylish household items.

A sculptural side table

Use leftover pieces of ply to create a sculptural side table.

The flat surfaces of the ply are stained in a mix of Resene Riverstone and Resene Natural and the sides are painted in Resene Triple Friar Greystone, Resene Double Friar Greystone, Resene Friar Greystone, Resene Half Friar Greystone and Resene Eighth Friar Greystone to create an ombre effect. Floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash.

Scandi style flooring

Get creative with your flooring.

Add a little flair and Scandi style to your flooring by finishing it in Resene Colorwood Light Greywash and Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Use painter's tape to mask up a diamond pattern.

A sideboard with an earthy refresh

Give an old sideboard a sleek earthy refresh with a mid-century inspired stripe. This trendy style treatment proves that wood stains don’t have to be limited to your floorboards. This design is created with Resene Colorwood Teak, Resene Colorwood Mahogany, Resene Colorwood Rock Salt, Resene Colorwood Dark Ebony, Resene Colorwood Touch Wood and Resene Colorwood Matai.

An earring board with a colourwash effect

Resene FX Paint Effects Medium can create a soft colourwash effect of paint colours that go well with Resene Whitewash or Resene Greywash. This earring board was created with a basecoat of Resene Colorwood Whitewash overcoated with Resene Paradise and Resene Coral Tree mixed with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium.

A scandi inspired magazine rack

Looking for a way to keep your collection of beloved magazines tidy? This Scandi-inspired magazine rack is finished in Resene Colorwood Dark Oak wood stain for a sleek and stylish look in your living room. Lines painted in Resene Chalk Dust.


Resene Eighth Friar Greystone

Resene Colorwood Light Greywash

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

Resene Half Friar Greystone

Resene Friar Greystone

Resene Double Friar Greystone

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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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