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Different strokes

One of this year’s must-have decorating trends is to give your home a distinctly painterly effect. Fluid designs and vibrant colours are perfect for lending fresh character and beauty to walls, furniture and other surfaces around your living spaces.

Whether you’re after the look of watercolour effects, visible brushstrokes or bold paint splatters that celebrate the time-honoured techniques of the artist, creating your own painterly effect can quickly transform your home into a literal work of art.

A dramtic painted mural for your dining room

A painterly effect moodboard

Wall mural moodboard

A dramatic painted mural for your dining room

Mood board: Background in Resene Colorwood Whitewash with A4 drawdown paint swatches in (from top to bottom) Resene Half New Denim Blue, Resene Blackjack, Resene Half Athens Grey and Resene Cobalt, large vase and DIY brushstroke artwork in Resene Half New Denim Blue, small vase in Resene Half Athens Grey and small hexagonal dish in Resene Cobalt.

If you’re after an abstract look, there are no rules for how you choose to execute your design. This style places less emphasis on having a strong subject and more on the colour, shape and form you create. Your paint can be splattered, applied in solid blocks or left to dribble down, while shapes and lines are simplified. Often, these ideas are created through freehand brushwork for ultimate graphic intensity – which can make it both a fun and meditative project to carry out.

In this living and dining space, we created two different painterly designs to bring bold character to a key wall and the inset detail of our sideboard cabinets. For our wall effect, we started with two basecoats of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen waterborne enamel tinted to Resene Half New Denim Blue to provide subtle contrast with the darker adjacent wall in Resene Blackjack. Then, we used a wide flat high-quality paintbrush to apply Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Half Athens Grey in long, continuous, loose, freeform strokes. While the purpose of the technique is to impart an imperfect effect, where the bristles of the brush and some of the bottom colour remain visible in place, it’s still a smart idea to plan your design out on paper before you begin so that you can reference it as you go. You may also choose to mark your design right on to the wall before you dip your brush, which we recommend doing with a piece of chalk so that it’s easy to see and easy to ‘erase’ with a clean, damp cloth if you need to make changes to your planned design. When you apply your paint, it’s ideal to work from top to bottom and move from one side of the wall to the other so that any unwanted drips that may occur can be covered up with your continuous line.

A wall mural with a painterly effect

Wall with a dramatic dark handpainted stroked mural

Paint: Back wall in Resene Half New Denim Blue with brushstroke mural in Resene Half Athens Grey, Left wall in Resene Blackjack, Timber floor in Resene Colorwood Whitewash, Table in Resene High Tide, Skirting board in Resene Half Athens Grey, Cabinets in Resene Cobalt with loop/squiggles on inset door panels in Resene Blackjack, Vases/dish in Resene Half New Denim Blue, Resene Half Athens Grey, Resene High Tide and Resene Blackjack, Side table (in lounge version) in Resene Blackjack, Candle holder in Resene Blackjack with dots in Resene Alabaster.  Accessories: Dining chairs from Cintesti; Bauhaus club chair for Karakter; Tile vase from Floralcentric; White jug and glasses with white bases, pendant lamp from Freedom; Glasses with blue bases from Urban Outfitters; Tall black vase from Babelogue; Armadillo & Co black and white rug from The Ivy House; Face cushion from Aelfie.

For our sideboard cabinets, we wanted to create a different style and use different colours to add to the texture, contrast and interest in our space, so we started with two basecoats in Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel tinted to bold Resene Cobalt. Resene Lustacryl has more of a sheen than our walls and is a more durable finish, which is ideal for painting furniture. To add our abstract brushstroke effect, we used a small round artist’s brush and a testpot of Resene Blackjack to hand paint continuous, overlapping loops over the entire surface of each door panel. Depending on what material your furniture is made from or what the original finish was, you may need to sand it down first, prime it or both before applying your colour coats. Be sure to check with the helpful staff at your local Resene ColorShop for information on what products and preparation you need to ensure you get the longest lasting finish.

To provide some balance and levity to the space, we finished our timber flooring in light and airy Resene Colorwood Whitewash while a dining table in Resene High Tide ties in well to both the Resene Half New Denim Blue and Resene Blackjack walls, bridging the gap between these two darker and lighter hues. To connect our accessories with the paint colours used on the major surfaces throughout the room, we used testpots in Resene Half New Denim Blue, Resene Cobalt, Resene Half Athens Grey, Resene High Tide and Resene Blackjack to decorate vases, bowls, our pendant lamp and other ornaments. While chairs in Resene Blackjack and Resene Cobalt are a sharp option, opting for a chair in a ruddy red brown such as Resene Scoria or Resene Pioneer Red can add a point of difference and provide a necessary place for the eyes to rest.

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.