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Totally tropical

From the Resene colour inspiration – latest looks gallery

Bold and brilliant, wallpaper is back and here to stay.

The rise of wallpaper has been accompanied by modern motifs and abstract art styles, as well as traditional favourites such as damask, floral and Art Deco designs. Perhaps one of the most popular designs, wallpapers with tropical motifs are back in the limelight with palm fronds and exotic birds gracing the walls in our homes once more.

Room with tropical wallpaper

A tropical wallpaper moodboard

A tropical wallpaper moodboard

Room with tropical wallpaper

Moodboard: Background in Resene Green Meets Blue with Resene Wallpaper Collection 47404 (left half of image), coffee table (at top right) in Resene Pale Leaf (background), Resene Thor (vine leaves), Resene Swamp (large simple leaf) and Resene Green Meets Blue (palm leaf) and Resene A4 drawdown paint swatches in Resene Swamp (left) and Resene Green Meets Blue (right).  Accessories: Float cushion from Briscoes. Brass ridged circle artwork from Nood. Hand chair from Bali and Teak.

One common misconception about wallpapers is that they are hard to integrate into a space when, in fact, the exact opposite is true. Choosing a bold wallpaper from the Resene Wallpaper Collection can actually make picking – and sticking – to a colour palette easier, as you already have a predetermined set of colours right there on the wall.

Colour match Resene paint colours to specific hues in your wallpaper design using the Resene Colour Match tool. This tool makes it simple to pull out specific colours from your wallpaper and find a similar Resene paint hue. We used Resene Wallpaper Collection 47404 to create a leafy tropical escape and paired it with flooring in Resene Thor. Other unexpected ways to introduce colours to your palette is by painting a desk, chair or lamp in colours that are used less frequently in the wallpaper, such as this chair in light green Resene Surf Crest. These painted accessories will have a unifying effect, drawing your wallpaper into the space and creating a mystical atmosphere.

Room with tropical wallpaper 2

Room with tropical wallpaper 3

Paint: Wall in Resene Wallpaper Collection 47404. Floor in Resene Thor. Coffee table in Resene Pale Leaf (background), Resene Thor (vine leaves), Resene Swamp (large simple leaf) and Resene Green Meets Blue (palm leaf). Hand chair stained in Resene Colorwood Driftwood (applied with rag). Pendent lamp in Resene Thor. Desk in Resene Thor with drawer in Resene Casper. Cane lounger in Resene Casper. Cane desk chair in Resene Surf Crest. Background vase in Resene Nero.

Another way to incorporate your chosen wallpaper into the space is by mimicking the design with paint on another surface, such as a coffee table. In this tropical sitting room, the coffee table has been painted with the same design, but with the dark and light values reversed. With a light background in Resene Pale Leaf, leaves and fronds in Resene Thor, Resene Swamp and Resene Green Meets Blue create beautiful contrast. Creating a copy of the same design with an inverted colour palette is a great way to create interest and linkage in a space without it feeling too similar. Create a similar look in your bedroom by rejuvenating a headboard by painting it with a similar pattern to your wallpaper. This works especially well with stripes; if your wallpaper has horizontal stripes try painting vertical stripes on your headboard to create interest.

To really make the space pop, introduce contrasting textures and décor. The rug, wooden chair and artwork introduce warm tones into the room, which in turn create a more welcoming space. By placing these warmer timber accents – which you can stain in rich colours such as Resene Colorwood Driftwood – in the room it immediately draws out the warmer hues in the wallpaper, bringing them to life and giving the space a sense of cohesion. These timber tones directly contrast with the cool grey blue Resene Thor floor, creating distinct definition between objects that keeps the eye moving.

If you’re looking for things to do with your wallpaper offcuts, a DIY is the perfect way to get creative and minimise waste. If you’re using wallpaper in your library or reading nook, why not go the extra mile and wrap some of your older books in the same wallpaper? It will make them stand out on the shelf and will settle the wallpaper into the room. For an easy hack to spruce up your office space, glue the excess wallpaper to your corkboard. The wallpaper will be thin enough that you can still easily tack important notes up, but will bring a pop of colour and interest to your space. Other ideas for wallpaper scraps include pasting it on inset door panels, tabletops or lampshades for an abundance of colourful light. If you can think it, you can wallpaper it.

Resene Colorwood Driftwood

Project by Megan Harrison-Turner. Photography by Bryce Carleton. 2022

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