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From Habitat magazine - issue 16

Move over boring brown, here comes a parade of adventurous stain colours.

Resene Wood stains

Long gone are the days of brown stains, and more brown stains. Resene has embraced the current trend towards non-traditional wood stain finishes with two stunning collections – one for outdoor use, Resene Woodsman with 38 stain colours, and the other for indoors, Resene Colorwood, including a whitewash option.

Sitting between solid paint finishes and varnishes, stains are sometimes the forgotten heroes of the surface treatments world. Now available in a wide range of exciting shades, wood stains allow the natural grain of the timber to show through so are the perfect way to add colour to new or previously stained timber without losing its natural beauty.

Resene Colorwood stainsBe harlequin happy with Resene Colorwood stains in Resene Satin Orange, Resene Red Pepper, Resene Whitewash, Resene Deep Purple, Resene Apollo Blue and Resene Emerald Green. Glass forms by Isaak Katzoff, from Mixt.

Resene Waterborne Woodsman stainsBricked in blue with Resene Waterborne Woodsman stains in Resene Pickled Bluewood, Resene Pitch Black, Resene Limed Ash, Resene Bleached Cedar (second row), and Resene Riverstone (third row). Dune tray from Kartell; San Filipe jug, and tumblers, from Corso de’ Fiori.

Resene Waterborne Woodsman Decking StainsAll decked out in Resene Waterborne Woodsman Decking Stain in Resene Nutmeg, Resene English Walnut, Resene Totem Pole, Resene Driftwood and Resene Heartwood. Terrarium garden created in glass bowl, from The Warehouse.


If you like a particular interior stain colour but it is too intense, add Resene Colorwood Reducing Base, which will soften the hue without losing the character and body of the undiluted stain. It is also perfect on dark timbers to enhance the grain and appearance of the timber, without making the timber appear even darker.

Stains are transparent, therefore the final finish colour will depend on the nature of the timber being stained. Stains applied to light woods will appear much stronger and brighter in colour than stains applied to dark wood.

Try the colours you plan to use on a similar piece of timber with testpots. Bright, light and limed colours are best applied to light timbers such as pine or plywood, although attractive results may be achieved on cedar.

Higher density wood and hardwoods do not absorb liquids as readily as softer woods or less dense woods so you may need to select a darker stain or apply two coats to get your desired colour.

Grain orientation is also important. Woods with parallel surface orientation are relatively smooth with long runs of grain and tend to be the least absorbent. Cross-grain surfaces are very porous and will absorb almost all of the stain colour. Some timber pretreatments such as oils and pressure treating may affect the wood’s ability to accept the stain.

Choose waterborne finishes where you can. Resene Waterborne Woodsman and Resene Colorwood are fast drying and easily cleaned up in water. With lower volatile organic components (VOCs) than the solventborne stains they will typically replace, they are better for both the environment and humans.

Top tip

Resene Colorwood standard colours are inter-mixable so you can make whatever colour you like. Even with a selection of unique colours there will come a time when a pre-mixed colour isn’t right for your scheme. No problem! Choose a colour that is close to what you wish to end up with. Carefully add the colour that is lacking until you achieve just the right hue. Make sure you intermix enough to complete your project. Resene ColorShops can also provide colour matches to most existing samples.

Matt or gloss?

The stain colour is also affected by the gloss level of the product you choose to topcoat your stain. A clear gloss polyurethane will make the colour appear more vibrant but will be more reflective than a clear flat polyurethane, or a semi-gloss finish. If you want a waxy finish, use a flat polyurethane.

Stockists: Corso de’ Fiori, www.corso.co.nz. Kartell, 09 522 7099. Mixt, 09 846 9270, www.mixt.co.nz. The Warehouse, www.thewarehouse.co.nz.

styling: Pippa Fay, Lisa Morton
pictures: Tony Brownjohn
woodwork and staining: Philippe Morin


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