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hobby at home

From Habitat magazine - issue 34, hobby rooms

Whether you are a basket weaver or papier mâché-maker, a groovy guitarist or a darling dancer, here's how to transform a room into a creative hub.

Every artist needs a space to create, be it a music room, art studio or a little nook to knit or read. A well-organised hobby room inspires creativity in the same way that setting New Year's resolutions encourage us to do better. What's crucial is that it must provide the same kind of joy as the pastime itself; no painter can create a masterpiece in a studio devoid of light, a singer in a dark and poky room will undoubtedly fall flat.

Hobbies that allow the mind to soar have become particularly important in a world affected by lockdowns and restrictions. We're currently in the middle of an art and craft revival – from knitted toys and cross-stitched samplers to oversized abstracts created from a rainbow of Resene testpots. It was near-impossible to find flour during lockdown thanks to a rise in baking; anyone seeking a pen set or a pack of pencils would have found it similarly tricky due to an upsurge in colouring in. Crafting is the new cool.

Creating a craft area with unique storage

A custom storage unit with shelves

Paint storage containers with testpots

Hobby room: Creative spaces inspire creativity. These Resene Rice Cake walls are given sunny style by painting a full circle in Resene Twine (112cm wide) and a half circle in Resene Dust Storm. Ask for your accent wall colours to be tinted into a base of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen which gives a durable wall finish which also doubles as a chalkboard so that you can keep track of your projects, progress or stitch count. Floor in Resene Rice Cake and desk painted in Resene Bitter. Chair and clipboard in Resene Smokescreen, ladder in Resene Lusty, wrapping paper pot in Resene Tuscany, plant pots in Resene Lusty and Resene Smokescreen, small-ribbed vase in Resene Dust Storm, tall vase in Resene Lusty and DIY arch storage unit in Resene Twine with boxes painted in Resene Bitter, Resene Dust Storm, Resene Tuscany and Resene Rice Cake.    Top tip: Upcycled glass jars are ideal for loose items. You can easily colour code them by painting each lid first in Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer and then two coats of a different Resene testpot colour.

Storage: To create this arch storage we cut a semi-circle arch shape into the top of a 1.8m long (60cm wide and 18mm thick) MDF board and painted it in Resene Twine. We glued on bamboo storage boxes painted in Resene Lustacryl using Resene Twine, Resene Bitter, Resene Smokescreen, Resene Dust Storm and Resene Tuscany.  Top tip: Use a pencil attached to a string and drawing pin to create a perfect circle.    Top tip: Keep track of the Resene testpots that you use regularly by painting the bottom of a storage box in the corresponding paint shade. Resene colours (clockwise from left) Resene Bitter, Resene Dust Storm, Resene Smokescreen and Resene Twine. This also works well for items like beads and threads.

Seek harmony

Designing the ultimate workspace in which the creative juices can flow should be approached with the same enthusiasm as any craft project. The more creative you are with your designated area, the better the results. Painting piano keys on the shelving in your music room? A virtuoso performance. Adding a ballet barre (painted in pretty pink Resene Cest La Vie) to better practise your arabesques? Take a bow. Stealing a corner in which to keep your knitting? Pearler. Hobby spaces are where ideas come to life.

Let there be light

Lighting is essential in any room, but it's elemental that a hobby space benefits from adequate illumination. While nothing beats natural light, strong desk lamps are handy for providing directional light for painting or drawing. Brightness can also come from your choice of paint shade. Using Resene colours with a high LRV (light reflectance value), for example, can help reflect and bounce the natural light around the room and give it the illusion of being brighter and more spacious. And while white might be the ultimate space creator, specific colours and colour combinations can fool the eye and make interiors seem roomier than they are.

Pale blues and greens, such as Resene Half Kumutoto or Resene Gum Leaf, create a calming atmosphere and will also enlarge and brighten a space. They also pair well with other colours. A combination such as cream and icy blue is one of the best for making an area appear bigger. Try creamy shades such as Resene Eighth Thorndon Cream, Resene Quarter Pearl Lusta or Resene Rice Cake alongside cool blues such as Resene Breathless or Resene Cut Glass.

Design to inspire

But in order to get your hobby on, you need to chuck the mess out. As counterintuitive as it may sound, creativity feeds on order, not chaos. Clutter makes it much harder to concentrate. If you can't find the right equipment, you're more likely to feel frustrated than fully expressed. So, store frequently used items in plain sight. Transfer tools into colour coded transparent tubs to better see them at a glance. Create a magnetic noticeboard using Resene FX Magnetic Magic. Paint this magnetic paint onto your wall before topcoating in your chosen Resene colour to make a surface you can attach music sheets or photos to inspire an artwork.


Be a hobby hero

These DIY storage ideas will turn your pile of supplies into an organised area.

  • Be decorative. Use homewares, such as vases, trays and drink carts, to integrate a hobby space tucked into the corner of a room. For example, keep scissors, felt-tip pens and crayons inside glassware arranged on a tray or platter, slipping a bunch of small blooms into one of the glasses to turn it into a budding display. Add colour and interest by painting the inside of storage drawers with favourite Resene colours or line them with wallpaper from the Resene Wallpaper Collection. Repurpose pillboxes and pretty bowls to group small items that are otherwise easily lost.

Transform a room into a dance area
Top tip: You can find the LRV of Resene colours at or on the back of most Resene colour charts.

A dressing room, walk-in wardrobe, hallway or nook in a room can easily become a dance area with the simple addition of a barre and mirror. The subtle block of pink in Resene Cest La Vie on the Resene Geyser wall draws the eye to the barre. The room partition is painted in Resene Regent Grey for the edges and centre rectangles in Resene Geyser with hand-painted line details in Resene Quarter Iron to create the look reminiscent of a rice-paper screen. The barre is Resene Cest La Vie, the floor is Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash and the lampshade is Resene Quarter Iron and Resene Cest La Vie. The round boxes are Resene Martini with stripes in Resene Quarter Iron (small) and Resene Regent Grey with bottom and stripe in Resene Gunmetal (large). Mirror from Made of Tomorrow, Merging Faces artwork by Holly Schroder from endemicworld, towel from H&M, bag from Zara, drink bottle from Shut The Front Door. Ballet shoes kindly lent by the Devonport School of Dance.

Work with the space you have

Not everyone can designate an entire room in their home to their hobby. But even a small, tucked-away space will do. For example, a corner desk is a perfect answer for an aspiring apartment-dwelling essayist. Consider pinboards and custom shelving to delineate hobby nooks, hanging boards at eye level for optimal inspiration. If you do have the luxury of devoting a room to a hobby, think about dividing the area into zones. One area could be for your computer, another for projects (painting, sewing etc). If photography is required, set up the equipment by a window. Every hobby is different, so there's no one standard-size-fits-all plan. Exercise activities can take up a lot of space. Use a nook in the hallway, veranda or even a dressing room for ballet or yoga and paint in zen colours such as Resene Cest La Vie and Resene Geyser. Transform a garage into a gym area and fix mats to hooks on walls and dumbbells on shelves. Paint in primary colours that energise such as Resene Half Resolution Blue and Resene Big Bang.

Gain control

A large, sturdy table is the bespoke hobby room's most essential piece of equipment and its central work area. Set it up as a type of command centre: the only place where you get your art and crafting done. Creativity can't flow in areas that are too small or cramped nor can craft supplies be contained in too small a space. Avoid spreading your materials all over your home by tucking them away in bins under the table when you've finished.

Music room with storage for instruments

A groovey colour palette for a music room

Music room: A smash hit for music lovers, this room has storage solutions for instruments, music sheets and records as well as space to kick back and feel the groove. Add a little jazz to your shelving by painting piano keys in Resene Alabaster and Resene All Black. The walls are Resene Zircon which is reflected on the soundwave pattern painted on the Resene Bullitt floor. The sideboard is painted in Resene Matisse and vases and plant pots in Resene Dust Storm, Resene Lemon Ginger, Resene Half Rivergum, Resene Bullitt, Resene Matisse and Resene Vesuvius. Record labels in Resene Dust Storm, Resene Lemon Ginger, Resene Matisse, Resene Half Rivergum and Resene Bullitt. Armchair from Nood, guitar hanger from KBB Music, other items stylist's own.

Mood board: This groovy palette has a background in Resene Bullitt with a soundwave pattern in Resene Zircon. The colours on the A4 drawdown paint swatches are Resene Dust Storm, Resene Vesuvius, Resene Lemon Ginger, Resene Half Rivergum, Resene Matisse and Resene Alabaster. Record labels (from top to bottom) in Resene Dust Storm, Resene Lemon Ginger, Resene Matisse, Resene Half Rivergum and Resene Bullitt, vases in Resene Half Rivergum and Resene Dust Storm, plant pot in Resene Vesuvius and book in Resene Lemon Ginger.

Top tip: If you're looking for a new hobby, an easy place to start is with Resene testpots which can be used for a myriad of crafty activities including painting abstract paintings or upcycling. Rock painting and hiding is a fun hobby for beginners and kids. Paint river stones with Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat then decorate with Resene testpots. For a high gloss finish overcoat with Resene Clearcoat UVS.

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

styling: Kate Alexander, Laura Lynn Johnston, Vanessa Nouwens
images: Bryce Carleton, Wendy Fenwick
words: Tracey Strange


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