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Artistic expression

A look that emulates a well-curated art gallery has long been associated with luxury, but the harsh glare of a stark white home isn’t the most comforting or liveable space.

Luckily, a base created with layered warm whites can make just as successful a backdrop as a stark white to support your carefully arranged items that have been placed ‘just-so’.

Create an art gallery styled room at home

An art gallery inspired mood board

An art gallery inspired mood board

Create an art gallery styled room at home

Mood board: Background in Resene Truffle with A4 drawdown swatches in (from left to right) Resene Travertine, Resene Snow Drift, Resene Eighth Black White and Resene Half Cougar, wavy plywood panel in Resene Eighth Black White, square plywood panel in Resene Travertine, circle candlestick in Resene Blackjack with dots in Resene Eighth Black White, hand ornament in Resene Travertine and step shelf in Resene Snow Drift. Small angular spotted vase from Formantics.

Creamy off-whites like Resene Half Cougar, Resene Travertine and various strengths of Resene Truffle provide some chalky depth while cooler blackened white, Resene Eighth Black White on the back wall provides crispness and a point of difference – much the way a coloured feature wall would. For contrast, a few accents in ever-so-slightly blue black, Resene Jaguar, add depth and interest without dominating the subtleties of this chic achromatic colour scheme.

In a well-curated gallery, where everything is deliberate and minimalist, installing floating shelves frees up more visual space that the legs of a console table or bookshelf would take up but still provides just as much room to artfully display decorations. If you’re having trouble finding items in the right colour, focus on finding shapes that you find pleasing and fit well with one another then pick up a few Resene testpots in hues that match or coordinate with your colour scheme. The beauty of paint is that it can be used on virtually any surface, as long as you put in the right preparation. If a material is porous, with a similar texture to unglazed terracotta or ceramic, the paint should stick directly to it. But if the surface is glossy or glassy, be sure to prime it first with Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer.

Use art to create a minimalistic space

Make a room to display your artwork and relax

Paint: Back wall in Resene Snow Drift, Left wall in Resene Half Cougar, Ombre floor created using Resene FX Paint Effects medium and Resene Eighth Truffle, Resene Quarter Truffle, Resene Half Truffle, Resene Truffle, Resene Double Truffle and Resene Triple Truffle, Plywood artwork in Resene Travertine (square) and Resene Eighth Black White (curve – in Resene Enamacryl), Ply circle lampshade in Resene Blackjack (Resene Enamacryl), Vase with rose in Resene Travertine, Hand ornament in Resene Travertine, Dark candlestick in Resene Blackjack with dots in Resene Eighth Black White, Light candlestick in Resene Eighth Black White.  Accessories: Chair from David Shaw; Small angular spotted vase by FORMANTICS; Step shelf from Urban Outfitters; Black candleholder from H&M Home.

A common struggle for homeowners is choosing artwork for the wall that’s of an appropriate size and scale. Often, the artwork that’s chosen is too small – which prevents it from becoming the focal point it deserves to be. However, you also need to be sensitive to the colours featured in it as bolder, splashier or darker colours can be too dominating or overwhelming for a white-on-white tonal space. Since larger artworks are often very pricey and it can be difficult to find just the right piece to suit, one savvy solution is to create your own original artwork. We created ours using two pieces of plywood: one rectangular piece and a second which we used a jigsaw to shape. Fill any inconsistencies in the surfaces of your plywood with wood filler, sand these areas down (along with any sharp edges), then wipe all surfaces clean with a dry cloth. Prime with a coat of Resene Quick Dry and then topcoat with Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel (or Resene Enamacryl gloss waterborne enamel, if you want a glossier look) tinted to your choice of colours – we used Resene Travertine for the square piece and Resene Eighth Black White for the curvy one. Arrange your top shape on top of your bottom shape and mark its placement with a pencil then use strong wood glue and clamps to affix it in place. To make doubly sure it’s secure, we drilled short wood screws through the back of our back shape and attached metal loops to make hanging the artwork a breeze.

Another factor for making your luxurious look more liveable is choosing practical and durable finishes – especially if you share your space with children or pets. The long low shelf painted in Resene Enamacryl gloss waterborne enamel tinted to Resene Blackjack adds a glamorous shine yet is very easy to keep clean as is the armchair. To add another artistic element to this space without overloading, we have created a subtle gradient (or ‘ombre’) painted floor. By creating the effect with a range of tonal mushroom whites, it brings a touch of softness to the imposing hard surface without the need for bringing in an off-white rug – which can be difficult to keep clean. We started by painting the full floor in Resene Walk-On tinted to our lightest hue, Resene Eighth Truffle, in two coats and allowed it to dry fully. Then, we painted the area we wanted to be the darkest in Resene Triple Truffle and, while the second coat was still wet, started painting the next darkest second in Resene Double Truffle, then Resene Truffle, then Resene Half Truffle, then Resene Quarter Truffle, laying off the roller to gently fade one colour into the next. As you repeat the process again with the second coat, you can pour a couple tablespoons of each colour into their own disposable cup. Mix in approximately one cup of Resene FX Paint Effects medium to each and apply it with a mini smooth surface roller to soften the transitions between the colours on the floor. The result should be a seamless fade from one side of the room to the next. Or try the effect on an angle like we did by starting with your darkest colour in a corner for a truly sensational space.

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.