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Gussy up the guest room

From the Resene colour inspiration – latest looks gallery

If there is one room in the house that always seems to be the last to feel the decorating love, it’s the spare room.

When you purchased or built your home, you probably dreamed of the ease at which you’d be able to accommodate friends and family with this extra space. But whether you ran out of budget by the time you were done sorting out the larger, more important and more expensive rooms or your home – or maybe just energy – having that one space still unfinished can feel like a thorn in your side. Plus, taking the opportunity to transform it into a beautiful, cohesive space rather than the place where all your tired out bedlinens and furniture are put to pasture will make sure your guests feel welcome, comfortable and at home.

Navy headboard guest bedroom

Blues mood board

Blues mood board

Navy headboard guest bedroom

Mood board: Background in Resene Quarter Rakaia with A4 drawdown paint swatches in (from top to bottom) Resene Explorer, Resene Shark, Resene Jimmy Dean, Resene Santas Grey and Resene Rakaia and bid vase in Resene Explorer.  Bedroom: Wall in Resene Rakaia, floor in Resene Quarter Rakaia, headboard in Resene Shark with stripe in Resene Rakaia, bench in Resene Shark, round plinth side table in Resene Santas Grey, basket (with olive tree) in Resene Jimmy Dean, round tray, medium vase and bud vase in Resene Explorer, rectangular tray and shell coin bank in Resene Chenin, scalloped lampshades in Resene Santas Grey and painted book and lidded container in Resene Wax Flower. 

Choosing paint colours for a guest bedroom can be a great opportunity to experiment and have a bit of fun. For many people, there is less pressure to get things absolutely perfect than when you are decorating your master bedroom, since someone doesn’t need to live in it full-time and there likely isn’t one specific person’s tastes that you need to cater to. In fact, by starting with a flexible base colour palette, simple white bedlinen and a couple of extra throws, cushions and accessories, you could even customise the space for each of your guests that regularly come to visit.

The key to a flexible base colour palette lies on picking character neutrals to use on your walls, floor and ceiling. These hues get their name from their complex undertones, which act like chameleons. Resene Rakaia and its various strength levels is among them. Depending on the accent colours that you pair with it, Resene Rakaia can instantly be made to feel warmer or cooler and look like an entirely different hue. This urban shale grey is also ideal for use in a bedroom for its inherently soothing and restful greyed nature that is very easy on the eyes.

Yellow accented guest bedroom

Yellow and grey-blue mood board

Yellow and grey-blue mood board

Yellow accented guest bedroom

Moodboard: Background in Resene Quarter Rakaia with A4 drawdown paint swatches in (from top to bottom) Resene Shark, Resene Jimmy Dean, Resene Santas Grey, Resene Rakaia, Resene Wax Flower and Resene Chenin, book and bird in Resene Wax Flower and bud vase in Resene Chenin.  Accessories: Duvet cover, sheets and pillowcases from Adairs, bubble pillowcase and watery throw from Katrina Hobbs, carafe and glasses from 10 Curated, lamps are stylist’s own.

This guest bedroom, which features walls in full strength Resene Rakaia and a floor in Resene Quarter Rakaia relies on three other character neutrals – Resene Shark on the headboard and bench, Resene Santas Grey on the bedside table and Resene Jimmy Dean on the basket. Each of these colours play to the cooler side of Resene Rakaia and, thanks to their own violet undertones, seem to bring out a touch of violet in it, too.

From here, the colours you could use to finish off the space are limited only by your imagination. One idea is to start by picking out some accessories you love, like a statement throw or a charming cushion. You can bring these items to your local Resene ColorShop and Resene staff can help you find colours to match or coordinate. For instance, for the painterly cushion and throw, a pillowcase in a hue similar to Resene Ashanti and a vase and tray painted in Resene Explorer tie into the watery tones and bring them out into the room. For a cheerier version of the same space, we colour matched a pink pillowcase and a yellow velvet cushion and painted a handful of small accessories in Resene Wax Flower and Resene Chenin. We also brought in a couple of rice paper lanterns and painted a curvy scalloped design on the top portion of each in Resene Santas Grey so that this hue, too, became a key accent colour.

For a different look, try swapping in some earthy greens like Resene Siam and Resene Raptor. Or try some periwinkle accessories in Resene Zephyr and Resene Alaska. Whatever accent hues you choose, just be sure to use each one in three different places in your room. This will help create a natural sense of repetition and communicate to the perceiver that they’re looking at a cohesive colour palette that welcomes them to settle in and stay awhile.

Styling by Melle van Sambeek. Photography by Bryce Carleton. 2021

Colour inspiration - latest looks gallery

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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.