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Dial up the drama

Painting a feature or statement wall can be an effective way to ground your dining space and give it that extra ‘oomph’ that turns it into something you’re proud to show off to visitors.

The way we typically design homes has evolved since separate dining rooms were a standard inclusion. Today, it’s more likely that your dining space makes up a portion of another larger room in your home; either adjacent to your living room, in your kitchen or as part of a single open plan kitchen/living/dining space.

Dining room with burgandy and blue feature wall

Burgundy and blue mood board

Burgandy and blue mood board

A dining room with burgundy and blue feature wall

Dressed up version: Back wall in Resene Half Gull Grey (left) and Resene Volcano (right), Front wall (at left) in Resene Atomic with wainscotting design in Resene Volcano, Floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, Dining table in Resene Half Tuna, Console table in Resene Volcano, Vase in Resene Mine Shaft (bottom) and Resene Gunmetal (top), Cheeseboard in Resene Volcano.  Accessories: Dining chair from Cintesi; Jug from Freedom; Rachel Long handwoven tapestry from Public Record; Wave counting artwork by Sarah Parkinson from Endemicworld; Tote bag from Father Rabbit.

Painting a feature or statement wall can be an effective way to ground your dining space and give it that extra ‘oomph’ that turns it into something you’re proud to show off to visitors. When feature walls came into vogue nearly two decades ago, it was common for homeowners to choose their largest wall to create the effect. Today’s statement walls, however, are less expansive; it’s a tool that often works best on the smallest wall or an ‘odd wall out’ within a space rather than the largest or most prominent.

So, what if you have an open plan setup and don’t have many walls breaking up your space? Or what if none of your walls are small or all are of a similar size? Something no one ever seems to talk about is the fact that your statement wall doesn’t need to be an entire wall at all. There’s nothing stopping you from painting just a portion of it in a different colour – which can be a great strategy if you’re trying to create definition in a larger space and give off the illusion that there are several ‘rooms’ within a grander one.

The main wall has been first painted in Resene Half Gull Grey, a clean and uncomplicated grey which makes a superb backdrop for layering on your own unique style, creativity and favourite Resene accent colours. The timber floorboards have been finished in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, which gives off a softly weathered look that can either feel casual and beachy or trendy and chic depending on what else you pair it with. We then painted the right side of the back wall in Resene Volcano, a moody and lavish burgundy red, to add a dose of drama and definition to the dining area.

Dining room with burgandy and red feature walls

Red and burgundy mood board

Red and burgandy mood board

A dining room with burgundy and red feature walls

Dressed down version: Back wall in Resene Half Gull Grey (left) and Resene Volcano (right), Front wall (at left) in Resene Volcano (bottom), Resene Smashing (top) and Resene Paper Doll (stripes), Floor in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, Dining table in Resene Half Tuna, Sideboard cabinet in Resene Smashing, Pendant lamp in Resene Roadster, Vase in Resene Paper Doll, Stool top in Resene Volcano.  Accessories: Dining chair from Cintesi; Jug from Freedom; Rachel Long handwoven tapestry from Public Record; Wave counting artwork by Sarah Parkinson from Endemicworld; Tote bag from Father Rabbit.

Another important choice which can greatly impact the overall look of your dining space is whether to make your supporting furniture stand out or blend in. One idea is to paint your sideboard in the same hue as the wall behind it to make it recede, setting the stage for a more minimalist vibe. Alternatively, you could decide to paint it in a vibrant or high-contrast hue that will make it become a stand-out part of the design.

For instance, with a coloured backdrop like this, you could paint a lampshade, picture frame and chairs in Resene Dover White. While you may not think of white as being a statement colour, Resene Dover White will effectively act as one here because it contrasts so sharply with the other hues in the room and visually advances forward – making them stand out more. It also ‘reads’ as being an accent colour because that same white appears three times within the space – which causes your brain to subliminally link them. This principle is one of the key tenements of design and is known as ‘the rule of three’.

A dining room with burgundy and blue feature wall 2

A dining room with burgundy and red feature walls 2

The ‘rule of three’ could also be applied to add more vibrancy to the palette by bringing in bold reds such as Resene Roadster on the pendant lampshade, Resene Smashing on the sideboard and Resene Smashing on the upper portion of the accent wall (at left). These hues are supported by the red tones on the woven wall hanging and the red books on top of the sideboard. Although some of these reds differ slightly in tone and vibrancy, they’re close enough for your brain to still draw your connection. And, if you’re not a fan of an overly ‘matchy’ space, picking up a number of Resene testpots in a variety of slightly different tones within the same colour family and using them to paint various small accessories in your space can help break things up.


Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

Styling by Kate Alexander. Photography by Bryce Carleton. 2022


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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.