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Liveable luxury

Kitchen ideas from Cuisine magazine

Strike a balance between formal and casual for a dining space that looks and feels great.

Corner beverage station for your dining room.

Having the supplies to mix up bespoke beverages in the corner of your dining space is a luxurious addition – especially when you make it an inherent part of your decor through a painted wall design. Walls in Resene Seachange with arch and floating shelves in Resene Awash, floor in Resene Breathless, plant pot in Resene Rhino with stripe in Resene Breathless and triangle motif in Resene Awash and small vase (on shelf with bar tools) in Resene Breathless. Bar cart from Wooden Horse, rug from Grounded Homeware, brass scoop from Good Thing. Created and styled by Melle Van Sambeek. Photography by Bryce Carleton.

The definition of luxury has changed drastically in the face of a global pandemic. We are now living in a time where many of us are re-examining what it is that makes our lives better and are coming to terms that many things that promised that old notion of luxury don’t actually deliver an improved quality of life.

Today, we are more inclined to invest in items that save time and provide ease of living and a level of enjoyment that comes with long-lasting positive benefits. We are also putting greater value on experiences and seeking out the simple but authentic pleasures life can bring. The idea of luxury has become much more about how a space feels; rather than focusing on status symbols, we are looking for ways to increase creature comforts through our decor – and the best way to support these efforts is with a cosy colour palette.

Here, we look at one of the key areas where prioritising liveable luxury will pay off in spades: the dining room. Check out our easy-to-follow tips for decorating yours with effortless elegance and cosiness, along with suggestions for the Resene paint, wood stains and wallpapers that will really make it shine.

Honesty is the best policy

Your dining space is a special place. It’s likely the space where you get the most face time with family and friends, so you’ll really want to concentrate on making it the kind of spot you want to linger. That means it should be decorated, furnished and arranged to facilitate both comfort and connection – and you shouldn’t underestimate the power that your Resene colour choices have on the enjoyment of your space.

The concept of liveable luxury respects that your home and its occupants are unique; so rather than relying too heavily on trends or what everyone else is doing, you’ll first need to be honest with yourself and what aligns with your desires and needs. Take the time to choose your colours slowly, concentrating on how each makes you feel before you commit – with the caveat that a fresh Resene paint colour is one of the most quick and affordable changes you can make to your space.

When you begin shortlisting paint colours that you’re drawn to, it can be hard to know how a hue will feel in your dining space from just a small swatch. Picking up Resene testpots in your top tier choices will help give you a better idea. Apply the entire contents of each testpot on to an A2 card in two coats, leaving a 2cm wide unpainted border around the edges. View these larger swatches against different walls within your actual space at different times of the day and evening, moving them around to get an idea of how the light throughout your waking hours changes them. You can also roll each sample into a loose tube and look down on to the bottom inside to gain a better understanding of how it will feel when you are surrounded by the colour.

While you’re focused on being honest with yourself, remember that honesty in materials is also important. That means investing in quality and opting for the ‘real deal’ rather than cheaply made/plastic faux finishes. Purchase furnishings that are both gorgeous and indestructible instead of ‘throw away’ pieces – items that look good for a short time before wearing out.

Floral mural wallpaper - dining room

Resene Wallpaper Collection DGKEN101 is a mural design that harks back to flowers painted by the Dutch masters and makes for a dramatic backdrop in a dining space which instantly adds an air of luxury.

Choose colours that calm

To one person, a luxurious use of colour could mean taking stark whites like Resene Eighth Black White from tip to toe to create a gallery-like space. For another, it could be decking walls in richly saturated hues that carry age-old notions of status such as royal purples like Resene Upstage, jewel blues like Resene Cobalt, elegant emeralds like Resene Palm Green or deep ruby reds like Resene Avant Garde.

But under the lens of liveable luxury, you’ll want to start with colours that feel comforting. For many, these will be warmer, mid-range tones – particularly ones with ties to nature. These hues don’t create the glare that many whites do and are far more welcoming than icy colours. Cosy brown-based neutrals, earthy greens and watery blues such as Resene Bison Hide, Resene Wilderness and Resene Awash are all calming colours that will fit the bill. Minky mauves and stone greys like Resene Martini and Resene Half Stonewashed are other soothing yet elegant choices. Or, look to hues that are proven to enhance your mood like rosy pinks such as Resene Blanched Pink or cheerful yellows such as Resene Mellow Yellow as the base of your colour scheme. There is no wrong answer here, so long as your colour puts you at ease.

Comfort zone

While an amazing meal and great conversation will help encourage dinner guests to sit and savour, prioritising the physical comfort of your guests is key to getting them to linger long after the dishes have been done. Choosing cushioned chairs with back support is a great place to start, but keep in mind that different folks will find different to chair options more comfortable than others. Therefore, having a mix of seating types on hand can be advantageous over a matching set if you like to entertain frequently.

A dining table is also an important consideration, as you’ll want to choose a type and size that’s suitable for the scale of your room. Avoid rectangular dining tables in small dining areas and opt for a space-saving round table instead so guests can move around freely.

But another component of creating a comfortable dining space is building a soothing, casual ambiance. This remains a common struggle in that many decorators still try to make their dining area too fancy or museum-like when it’s really supposed to be a space for leisure. However, form and function should go hand-in-hand so that it looks as liveable as it is beautiful.

That makes material choice important for enhancing your room’s relaxation factor. Timber is often effective in projecting a cosy natural atmosphere in a dining room – especially when it’s stained in a warm hue like Resene Colorwood Natural or given a softly weathered look with Resene Colorwood Whitewash – and can be used for furniture, flooring or to clad your walls or ceiling. Resene Colorwood wood stains can also be used on other natural materials like rattan and jute so that you can add to your casual vibe with different textures while creating uniformity in colour.

It’s worth noting that spaces that are too ‘matchy’ can visually read as stiff and formal. One easy approach to keep things coordinated while bringing some diversity to your colour palette is to build a tonal look, which relies on adding layers in lighter and darker colours that fall within the same family of hue. Using a variety of different strengths from a single Resene colour card to paint your walls, ceiling, trims, floors and decor like vases, bowls, picture frames and more adds interest while giving you the confidence that your colour choices will all look excellent together.

Neutral colour palette

For many, a neutral colour palette spells luxury. But by choosing earthy, natural tones to build your scheme, it feels far more relaxed and liveable than stark blacks and whites. Back wall and floor in Resene Triple White Pointer, left wall in Resene Half Friar Greystone with Resene FX Paint Effect medium mixed with Resene Quarter Friar Greystone, trellis panels in Resene Whitewash, bar in Resene Ironsand with top in Resene Friar Greystone, plant pots in Resene All Black and Resene Tapa and vase in Resene All Black. Dining table and chairs from Early Settler, throw from Adairs.

Decadent details

No matter how you decorate your dining space, it’s always the finer details that make your design better.

Decorating with one-of-a-kind pieces really is the ultimate in luxury because it means your look can never be exactly replicated in someone else’s home. Artisanal accessories that have a handmade look such as pottery, woven wall hangings and rustic carved wooden bowls have an effortless elegance to them. Metallics, too, have long been equated to luxury – especially golds like Resene Gold Dust, platinum silvers like Resene Proton and rose golds like Resene Rose Gold. And just a few restrained touches of these glittering hues on table and chair legs or a pendant lamp can be enough to add both a unique and luxurious point of difference.

Even small things like stonewashed linen napkins and fresh flowers scream luxury, and even just a few stems plucked from the garden go a long way in a vessel that’s been painted using a Resene testpot that coordinates with your colour scheme. And if your dining space is outdoors, it’s smart to have a few soft and washable throws tucked away for guests to keep cosy in cool weather.

Top tips

Ever heard the saying ‘they don’t make these like they used to’? Often, older and vintage furniture was carefully built by hand. High-quality pieces in classic shapes will stand the test of time, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a pick-me-up. Sanding down chairs, tables or sideboards and refinishing them using Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss or Resene Enamacryl gloss tinted to a Resene colour of your choice can make it unique to your home, coordinate perfectly with the rest of your design and will be durable enough to stand-up to everyday wear and tear. Or opt for a matte finish with Karen Walker Chalk Colour paint and wax.

The finishes you choose will also impact the level of luxuriousness in your space. For instance, a glossier finish on furniture such as Resene Enamacryl for tables, chairs or shelving adds an element of glamour while also increasing durability so that your good looks will last. If you choose a darker wall or ceiling colour, opting for a low sheen or matte finish such as Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen or Resene SpaceCote Flat can help to lend a velvety look to these surfaces.

Resene Quarter Friar Greystone

Resene Rose Gold

Resene Colorwood Whitewash

Resene Friar Greystone

April 2022

Kitchen Decorating Ideas
View more kitchen decorating ideas from Cuisine magazine in the Resene kitchen inspiration gallery.

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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.