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Shared spaces

From habitat plus - decorating and colour trends 2024

With the skyrocketing cost of real estate, having an extra space to dedicate to different activities or hobbies is often hard to come by.

A blue/green lounge and art studio

Wall and floor painted in Resene Rainee, large DIY artwork (on cabinet) in Resene Rice Cake, Resene Rainee, Resene Deep Sea and Resene Bush, small DIY artwork (on floor) in Resene Half Innocence, Resene Thor and Resene Green Meets Blue, storage cabinet in Resene Deep Sea and wall hook in Resene Hot Toddy.

When you’re working with an open floorplan or a pint-sized studio apartment, it’s also common to feel restricted by not having ‘enough walls’ to separate different activities.

More of us are also now working from home for at least some of the week, so a home office area has become a must for many. Whether you need a hub for your business, a sometimes satellite office to keep you up to date or a space to pay household bills and organise the family, a home office should offer a comfortable, practical space to get things done. It should be functional and efficient but also inspiring, so sitting down to work feels uplifting.

Plan predicaments

If it was built within the past 20 years, chances are you live in an 'open plan' home. This building style emerged when homeowners began to feel having a home with each room walled off constrained their decorating choices, and often impacted the quality and availability of natural lighting. The lack of walls and separation between spaces can mean that there isn't enough privacy or sound barriers when multiple people are working from home, or you may find it hard to find a quiet place to sit and read if other members of your family have taken over the sofa to watch television. One option is to erect partial walls or pony walls, which can help provide a degree of separation or block sightlines when a bit more privacy is needed. Since you won't be closing off an area completely, natural light can still flow freely. Or try creating a custom DIY divider screen using MDF panels and hinges for a moveable wall that can block off your work area or quiet space and send a message that you shouldn't be disturbed.

Use accent colours to define different zones in your space

In a single room space, try choosing a single paint colour to carry across your walls, floor, ceiling and architectural features to unify them. Then, use different accent paint colours to define different ‘zones’ within your space, such as your sleeping area, your dressing area, your relaxing area and your work or hobby area.

Walls, floor and raised bed platform painted in Resene Rainee, dresser, hook rack and stool (right) in Resene Hot Toddy, DIY artwork in Resene Half Innocence, Resene Thor and Resene Green Meets Blue and wooden stool (left) finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash. Bedlinen from Foxtrot Home, rug, cushion and sheepskin from Baya, screen, mirror and stools from Mocka, vase from Danske Møbler.

Use angled walls to help divide your space

There is no rule that says that a divider screen or wall needs to be vertical. Incorporating an angled wall can help with divvying up a large space without obstructing natural light. Take this idea to a whole new level by choosing an angular Resene wallpaper design to go with it – and use your paint colour palette to connect them.

Back wall in Resene Wallpaper Collection 36001-3, diagonal wall painted in Resene Westar, floor finished in Resene Colorwood Whitewash, sideboard in Resene Half Rice Cake, pendant lamp in Resene Parchment and vases in Resene Parchment, Resene Black Haze, Resene Westar and Resene Napa.

Chair from David Shaw, stool from Everyday Needs, rug from H&M Home.

Add a partial wall to help divide your space

If you need a bit of division but are worried that creating a closed-off room will reduce the flow of traffic or natural light in your space, add a partial wall.

Walls painted in Resene Hot August with accent wall in Resene Green Meets Blue, floor in Resene Mercury and DIY artwork in Resene Float, Resene Inside Back, Resene Half Innocence, Resene Thor, Resene Green Meets Blue, Resene Felix, Resene Hot August, Resene Tuscany, Resene La Bamba, Resene Lusty, Resene Pursuit, Resene Sunglo, Resene Brandy Rose, Resene Alluring, Resene Tuft Bush, Resene Midwinter Mist, Resene Quarter Blanc, Resene Mercury, Resene Sea Fog, Resene Vista White, Resene Edgewater, Resene Opal, Resene Summer Green, Resene Envy and Resene Laurel. Chair and side table from Domo, lounger from Ligne Roset, candles and vase from Faradays.

Flexible furniture

Finding just the right desk or work surface that fits your style, needs and available floor space can be a major challenge. When space is tight, choosing furniture that can serve multiple functions is one option for making the most of the area that’s available. So long as the surface is in good condition, most furniture often only needs a coat of Resene Waterborne Sureseal or Resene Quick Dry primer before you can paint it to match or coordinate your space using Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel or Resene Enamacryl gloss waterborne enamel.

When space is really tight, building your own floating desk might just be the ideal solution. Not only will it be the perfect fit for where you’ll be putting it, anchoring the table surface to the wall eliminates the need for legs – freeing up more floorspace.

A floating table will keep your floor free of obstructions

With access to a saw (or handyperson) and a few brackets, a custom built-in floating table is a surprisingly easy addition that keeps your floor free from obstructions when space is limited.

Back and left walls and floor painted in Resene Contented, right wall and makeup brush holder in Resene Kinship, floating desk in Resene Four Winds, chair, vases and jewel ornament in Resene Bokara Grey, lamp base in Resene Black White and book in Resene Eighth Black White. Pillowcases and cushions from Adairs, artwork from Brenda Clews, console table from Soren Liv.

Choose flexible furniture for a multi-use space

Choosing flexible furniture is an essential part of making the most of a multi-use space. Bringing in a bookcase that doubles as a divider, replacing a bed with a futon and a collapsible table with a corkboard that can double as a work desk are all smart options. If you need to source special items from multiple suppliers, simply paint or stain them to better match or coordinate using Resene paints and wood stains for a cohesive look.

Walls painted in Resene Comfortably Numb, floor in Resene Colorwood Shade, chairs in Resene Dark Slate and Resene Emerge, vases in Resene Emerge, Resene Longitude, Resene Haven, Resene Dark Slate and corkboard in Resene Colorwood Rising Tide. Futon from Nood, fold-out table from ifurniture.

top tip  When refinishing used furniture that has a flaking finish, cracks or chips, remember that putting in the proper prep work is always worth the effort to get the best quality and best-looking finish. Bring photos of your second-hand furniture find to your local Resene ColorShop and the staff can help walk you through the right steps to take to prep your project properly and recommend the right products for the job. Or, use the free Ask a Resene Paint Expert service online.

Reclaiming space

It can be common to overlook your garage, shed or utility spaces when thinking about your interior decorating, but these ‘forgotten spaces’ offer valuable real estate to eke out an area to enjoy hobbies like gardening, sewing, crafting, woodworking, building, exercising and more – and there’s no reason why they can’t look beautifully coordinated, too. Think about the storage, shelving or surfaces you’ll need and be creative with upcycling and colour choices so your bonus space reflects your style and personality.

Plan a space to store your gardening tools

Gardening has a host of proven health benefits, but it can also be a messy hobby so it’s worth planning a space where you can store all your gardening tools tidily.

Walls painted in Resene Aloe Vera, floor in Resene Double Spanish White, trolley in Resene Eighth Bokara Grey, Resene Contour, Resene Nirvana and Resene Springtime, bench in Resene Eighth Bokara Grey, trellis in Resene Amaranth, large plant pots in Resene Vantage Point, Resene Nirvana and Resene Amaranth and small plant pots in Resene Liquid Gold, Resene Summer Rose, Resene Dawn Glow, Resene Rice Cake, Resene Inspire and Resene FX Faux Rust Effect. Stool and wall vases from Junk & Disorderly.

Upcycled storage solutions

Make old new again by finding a new use for unwanted items. With a little imagination, this old pallet has been turned into handy storage for shovels, brooms, rakes and pitchforks.

Wall painted in Resene Silver Chalice, floor and pegboards in Resene Stack and Resene Nero, upcycled pallet in Resene Stack, step stool and hook rack in Resene Quarter Turbo, table and box on wheels in Resene Nero and hanging sign in Resene Stack and Resene Quarter Turbo.

Use paint to decorate your home gym

When your free time is at a minimum, making space in your schedule to hit the gym can be tricky. Use paint to decorate and define a home gym space where your gym gear is always ready for use and it’ll be easier to find time to keep fit.

Walls painted in Resene Carpe Noctem with mural in Resene Half Forest Green, Resene FX Metallic Gold Dust, Resene Opal, Resene Tasman, Resene Big Stone and Resene FX Metallic Proton, floor in Resene Colorwood Shade, plant pot in Resene Dune and DIY frame artwork in Resene Half Forest Green, Resene Opal and Resene FX Metallic Proton. Gym equipment from Rebel Sport.

Convert part of your garage into a mudroom

Converting part of your garage into a mudroom and laundry space where you and your family can shed wet or soiled articles of clothing and put them straight into the wash helps keep dirt and debris from getting tracked into your home.

Tongue-and-groove panelling applied to the lower portion of your wall painted in a durable paint like Resene Lustacryl can make this area easier to clean. Wall painted in Resene Stepping Stone with stripe and panelling in Resene Tino Pai, floor in Resene Tino Pai with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Foundation applied on top, cubby shelves in Resene Tino Pai and Resene Boris, wall hooks in Resene Stepping Stone and storage boxes in Resene Tino Pai, Resene Stepping Stone, Resene Boris and Resene Domino.

A pastel coloured craft room

Crafting is a common hobby, and supplies can quickly get out of hand without proper storage solutions. Use different Resene colours to paint storage boxes to delineate different crafts or projects you’re working on and keep everything organised.

Wall painted in Resene Spindle, floor finished in Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy, side table, small canvas noticeboard, chair and large crate in Resene Abbey Road, desk in Resene Surf Crest, large canvas noticeboard, small crate and pen cup in Resene Soft Apple and file organisers in Resene Surf Crest and Resene Half Opal.

Create a playroom for your kids

You only need to step on a plastic building brick with bare feet once to realise this activity would benefit from being contained and organised within a specific area of your home. If you or your child likes to keep bricks organised by colour, paint your storage containers to match using Resene testpots so that you’ll know what’s inside without even needing to open the lid.

Back wall painted in Resene Quarter Iron (top) and Resene Smokescreen (bottom), left wall in Resene Blackjack, floor in Resene Quarter Iron with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Grey Chateau applied on top, desk in Resene Colorwood Apollo Blue, shelves in Resene Popcorn, pegboard in Resene Blackjack and box in Resene Smokescreen. Artwork from endemicworld.


Resene Breathe Easy

Resene Kinship

Resene Inspire

Resene Contented

Resene Foundation

Resene Stepping Stone

Resene Four Winds

Resene Tino Pai

Resene Rising Tide

Resene Comfortably Numb

Resene Springtime

Resene Amaranth

Resene Liquid Gold

Resene Contour

Resene Aloe Vera

Resene Dawn Glow

Resene Summer Rose

Resene Shade

Resene Vantage Point

Resene Eighth Bokara Grey

Resene Boris

Resene Carpe Noctem

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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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