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Character study


From the Resene colour inspiration – latest looks gallery

Let rebooted neutrals bring a multidimensional minimalism to your bedroom.

What are ‘character neutrals’ when they’re at home? You’re looking at a few of them. The latest take on the whites, greys and beiges we know and love for their pared-back elegance and ability to go with anything, these neutrals with soul up the ante with their intriguing undertones. They might appear simple, but looks can be deceiving – in different lights, these colours take on other dimensions.

A neutral and minimalist bedroom

A neutral and minimalist moodboard

A neutral and minimalist moodboard

A neutral and minimalist bedroom

Mood board: Background in Resene Blanc with A4 drawdown swatches in (from top) Resene Eighth Fossil, Resene Tapa, Resene Bison Hide, Resene Tea, Resene Blanc, Resene Antidote and Resene White Linen, vases in (from top left) Resene Quarter Drought, Resene Sandstone and Resene Sandal and bowl in Resene Double Gravel.

The Resene Tea paint colour we’ve used on our wall is one such colour, as is the floor in Resene Blanc. The former is a complex river-boulder beige that’s perfect when pure white seems too harsh. The latter is a restrained Parisian white also available in versions from stronger-hued Resene Triple Blanc to the palest Resene Eighth Blanc.

Sitting perfectly within this palette is the warmed green-beige Resene Bison Hide on our bedside table and lampshade. The vase and frame in smoky, understated grey Resene Tapa bridge the gap between these paler character neutrals and the contrasting dark bowl and lamp base in ebonised Resene Black.

A calming beige bedroom

A minimalist bedroom design

Paint: Wall in Resene Tea, floor in Resene Blanc, bedside table in Resene Bison Hide, lamp in Resene Bison Hide and Resene Black, bowl in Resene Black, vase and large frame in Resene Tapa.  Accessories: Black frames from Kmart, artwork from Etsy, Home Republic duvet cover, pillowcases and cushions from Adairs, chair from Freedom, throw, cushion and rug from Città.

Painting accessories such as these is an affordable way to layer colour in an interior scheme and provides a satisfying creative project even a novice DIYer can pull off. To give an old bedside lamp or thrift store find a new attitude, remove the shade, bulb and fitting from the base, then gently sand the base to give your paint something to stick to. Wipe away the dust with a clean cloth, then apply one coat of Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer and leave it to dry. Apply two coats of your chosen Resene testpot colour, drying between coats. You might then like to use Resene FX Paint Effects Medium to create an effect such as a sponged or limewashed look or simply finish with a coat of Resene Aquaclear.

Painting your lampshade will be even easier – all you need is a brush and a Resene testpot. When choosing a colour, remember it’ll have an influence on the light the bulb casts. In a neutral sleep space such as this, a colour that’ll impart a warm, enveloping glow will maximise your character neutrals’ chameleonic potential and be the difference between blah and ta-dah.

This bedroom looks as good as new, but it needn’t come at a box-fresh cost. Upcycle an old timber bedside table as we have by removing any handles before cleaning the table with warm, soapy water. Leave to dry, then sand to remove imperfections and old varnish; you don’t need to sand it all off, but just enough to smooth and grooves and provide a ‘key’ for your paint to stick to. Prime with a single undercoat of Resene Quick Dry, then when it’s dried, add two coats of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen (or Resene Lustacryl for a glossier finish) tinted with your chosen Resene colour.

If you like where we’re going with this character-neutrals look but would prefer something a little more colourful, these base hues will also team beautifully with terracotta such as Resene Tuscany and Resene Beethoven, and with a dusky coral like Resene Coral Tree. Butter them up with a hint of pale yellow Resene Golden Glow and Resene Melting Moment or bring in some softly herbaceous greens like sweet-and-sour Resene Pine Glade, muted Resene Coriander and calming Resene Orinoco. Talk to the team at your local Resene ColorShop to find out more about character neutrals and the hues that work well with them or use the free Ask a Resene Colour Expert service.

Project by Vanessa Nouwens. Images by Bryce Carleton. 2021


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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.