With the whole world seeking a way to return to some sense of normalcy, it makes sense that our sentimental attempt to recreate the ‘good old days’ has begun manifesting in home decorating trends.
Reexploring styles from times before – and revamping them so that they feel more relevant today – has seen strong elements from the roaring 20s through to the soulful 70s reborn again. But bringing back the colours and décor from decades past has not only become a way of satisfying our collective bout of nostalgia, it’s also a remedy for the steadily increasing complications of everyday life. Through our decorating, we are finding ways to create cosiness and comfort, turning our homes into soothing sanctuaries and a buffer between our home life and the stresses of the outside world.
The recent resurgence of brown as a popular paint colour definitely has its roots in nostalgia, with strong ties to the 1970s. Warming and grounding, spicy and earthy browns like Resene Cumin and Resene Desperado are also welcome additions to contemporary homes where cold, flat greys have been the neutral of choice for the past decade – especially for those craving some extra comfort and cosiness. While these spicy browns may overwhelm certain spaces when used to cover an entire wall, a little goes a long way in communicating that the colour is the hero hue of your palette. And using one of them to create a unique painted wall design is an excellent way to break up the starkness of an expansive white wall while at the same time creating a focal point.
Painted arches, a call-back to the 1920s Art Deco era, have recently become extremely popular on social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok. Easy to create using the pin and pencil method, this must-have paint effect is ideal for making a big statement in a trend-forward space such as a bedroom, living room or bathroom. But rather than creating a solid arch, we’ve taken a more a pared down approach by opting for an arch stripe instead in Resene Cumin so that the colour doesn’t dominate – and used it to highlight our statement lamp. For added interest, we decided to paint a strip of stripes to the left and right of the arch in the same width, echoing the more subtle pinstripes present in the bedding.
To plot out your design, all you need is a ruler, a level, a length of string, a pencil and something to anchor the string to the wall surface. This could mean pressing a sewing/straight pin or thumb tack through the string into wall or tapping in a nail and tying the string around it. At the other end of the string, you’ll want to tie on your pencil. The length of string will be the radius of the circle, so keep that in mind when doing so. Then, hold your pencil perpendicular to the wall surface with the string pulled tight while you draw your arc in one smooth motion. If you’ve kept your string taught, then your arch should come out perfectly. Next, simply retie your pencil 5cm further down your string and draw another arc from the same anchor point before you remove your pin or nail. Find the outer edges on the left and right side of each of your arches and use a level to draw a straight vertical line from each down to the floor (four lines total). Firmly apply high-quality washi-style painter’s masking tape, available at your local Resene ColorShop, against the outer edges of your lines (including your curves). Finally, use a quality paintbrush and Resene Cumin to paint in between the gap you’ve created in two coats, allowing the first to dry before applying the second, and the second to dry to the touch before removing your masking tape.
Even though neither Resene Cumin nor Resene Desperado visually ‘read’ as being orange, both these browns have significant level of orange in their undertones. Since blue and orange are opposite one another on the colour wheel, dusty denim blues and blue greys such as Resene Coast, Resene Indian Ink and Resene Half Raven make excellent pairings. Together, these hues build what’s known as a complementary colour palette, which is why they work so well together in a palette. Bring in these hues by painting vases, accessories, plant pots and a side table along with layers of sumptuous linen bedding that invite you to climb in and get cosy.
Project by Laura Lynn Johnston. Photography by Melanie Jenkins. 2022
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