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natural wonders

From Habitat magazine - issue 34, bright ideas for kids

Children's bedroom ideas inspired by the remarkable world outside.

A child's bedroom with a painted iceberg mural
The cool iceberg design is an easy detail to add to a bedroom wall.

Nature is having a moment – and it's bringing out the childlike wonder in us all. After a year of spending far too long gazing wistfully out of windows, every warble of birdsong, grain of sand in our shoe and sunny day is an event worth basking in and celebrating.

Capture that joy and bring it inside with these Resene-hued children's rooms. A bedroom makeover can be a fun nature-based activity, even on the rainiest of days. Choose conservation conversation starters for young ones, break out the Resene testpots and paint your own night sky or decorate a room dedicated to feathered friends.

Top tip: A wall painted in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen can be used as a chalkboard.

Penguin powers

This is one cool room. With a palette that includes Resene Frozen, penguins and children alike will feel right at home in this icy retreat. Whether you're inspired by little blue penguins, Antarctica's majestic emperors or the well-styled rockhopper, this timeless theme will have both toddlers and preteens in a flap.

Warning, iceberg ahead. The ocean-inspired combination of Resene Quarter Frozen, Resene Sea Fog and Resene Spinnaker on the walls complements the quirky painted headboard. To create your frozen masterpiece, start with two basecoats of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen waterborne enamel tinted to the aptly named Resene Quarter Frozen. Apply these over the entire surface of your wall, from floor to ceiling. We painted our sea in Resene Spinnaker 70cm from the floor. Plan out the design of the iceberg first on paper with a pencil and label which paint colour you will use to colour each section. We used three colours to give our iceberg dimension – Resene Sea Fog, Resene Frozen and Resene Blue Moon. Use high quality painter's tape to mask around the areas where you will be applying your first iceberg colour then paint each of those sections in two coats of paint.

There are countless opportunities to let your creativity fly. Resene testpots are your friend in this room, with small bursts of colour adding to the fun. Styling takes a feathered twist with splashes of Resene Bright Spark, Resene Smoke Tree, Resene Ayers Rock and Resene Tacao. Take a set of skittles (bowling pins) and turn them into little penguin masterpieces. Prime the skittles with a coat of Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer (if your skittles are made of sealed wood or plastic or Resene Quick Dry if your skittles are made of unsealed wood) before using a basecoat of Resene Nero, with Resene Sea Fog as their feathered belly and eyes. A beak painted in Resene Smoke Tree and feet in Resene Tacao complete the transformation. Once you've mastered the skittles, give the washing basket a matching makeover.

The cool iceberg design is an easy detail to add to a bedroom wall. Use painter's tape and three shades of paint to create 3D-looking ice shards. Upper wall in Resene Quarter Frozen, lower wall and floor in Resene Spinnaker. Iceberg painted ‘headboard' in Resene Sea Fog, Resene Frozen and Resene Blue Moon. Dresser in Resene Quarter Frozen (upper) and Resene Spinnaker (lower), shelf in Resene Blue Moon and pendant lamp in Resene Bright Spark. Plant pot in Resene Matisse and vases in Resene Frozen, Resene Matisse, Resene Bullitt and Resene Fuel Yellow. DIY penguin skittles in Resene All Black, Resene Sea Fog, Resene Smoke Tree and Resene Roxy. Duvet, pillowcases and quilt from Città, throw from Freedom Furniture, Resene Living cushion from Briscoes, penguin puppet from Toyco.

Make a hoiho hamper

Turn a plain, lidded clothes hamper into a cute, stylised yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho) using favourite Resene paint colours. We used Resene All Black for the body of the penguin, Resene Alabaster for the tummy, Resene Bright Spark for the eyes, Resene Smoke Tree for the top of the beak, Resene Ayers Rock for the bottom of the beak and Resene Roxy for the feet. Once your first coat of paint has dried, apply a second coat in each colour. Basket from Freedom Furniture. Dresser in Resene Quarter Frozen (upper half) and Resene Spinnaker.

A hand-painted penguin themed hamper

Stool in Resene Frozen, box in Resene Matisse and pencil cup in Resene Fuel Yellow. DIY penguin hamper in Resene All Black, Resene Sea Fog, Resene Bright Spark, Resene Smoke Tree, Resene Ayers Rock and Resene Roxy.

The tale of the tı̄eke

For tweens or teenagers yet to leave the nest, this sophisticated take on nature is a perfect stepping stone between fun and chic. Inspired by the saddleback or tı̄eke, the colour story centres around Resene Rock Spray, a rich deep terracotta orange that perfectly matches the songbird's saddle.

A clothes hanger made of driftwood

A tı̄eke artwork sets the bedroom colour scheme

Clothes hanger: Bird lovers can branch out with a clothes hanger made of driftwood, painted in Resene Middle Earth. The wall is in Resene Travertine, floor in Resene Ravine and drawers in Resene Middle Earth. Hanging ‘birdhouses' in Resene Middle Earth with edges in Resene Ravine, plant pot in Resene Rock Spray, bird ornaments in Resene Rock Spray and Resene Half Melting Moment, lidded dish in Resene Half Chill Out, fluted bud vase in Resene Quarter Drought and books in Resene Middle Earth and Resene Ravine. Orange chair from Nood.  

Bedroom: A tı̄eke artwork by Glenn Jones sets the colour palette in this bedroom. Wall in Resene Travertine, floor in Resene Ravine and bedside table in Resene Blackout. Birdhouse shelves in Resene Middle Earth with edges in Resene Ravine, bird ornaments in Resene Rock Spray and Resene Half Melting Moment, lidded dish in Resene Half Chill Out, fluted bud vase in Resene Quarter Drought and tall vase in Resene Half Melting Moment. Duvet and pillowcases from Città, paprika cushion from Freedom Furniture, velvet cushion from Contempa, throw from Nood, bird cushion from H&M Home.

Creamy Resene Travertine provides a gentle backdrop for accents of Resene Half Melting Moment, Resene Half Chill Out and Resene Rock Spray. Dip into your Resene testpots and use small accessories (think pots, vases and ornaments) to personalise the space to suit your teen. With the right preparation and colour choices, furniture is a canvas-in-waiting, ready to shine with a quick refurbishment, like these birdhouse shelves painted in Resene Middle Earth and Resene Ravine.

Branch out with this forest-inspired clothes hanger. First, convince your teen to accompany you on a hunt in the garden or on the beach for the perfect stick. Tidy up the wood by removing any leaves, moss or growth and gently sand. Paint the branch using Resene Middle Earth or another complementary colour in two coats. Once dry, hang by attaching two chains to the ceiling, with a loop in the middle. Hang the branch between, then your teen can use matching hangers to display and arrange their favourite items.


Starry, starry night

Is there anything more soothing than the gentle glow of starlight? There's comfort in the constancy of star constellations, making them the perfect inspiration for a calm, serene nursery.

Starry night themed nursery
Soothing starlight

Resene FX Nightlight glow-in-the-dark paint brings Messier Object 45, or M45, to life in this soothing blue and grey hued nursery. M45 is a cluster of seven stars which have appeared in myths and tales throughout various cultures, often personified as seven sisters. Known as the Pleiades In Ancient Greek mythology, the cluster also appears in one of the most well-known Aboriginal tales, The Star Dreaming Story of the Seven Sisters. In Aotearoa, the stars are Matariki, and their appearance signals the beginning of Maori New Year, a time of harvest and celebration.

The feature wall in Resene Warrior gives the nursery depth while creating an inky evening background for the hand-painted Matariki and Southern Cross in Resene Black White, with an added dash of Resene FX Nightlight for a glow-in-the-dark effect. Resene Mystic carries across to the remaining walls and flooring, a gentle backdrop for accessories decorated in Resene Reservoir. Don't hide books away in a bookcase – painting lipped shelves, such as these in Resene Reservoir, is an affordable and easy way to showcase favourite children's stories while adding pops of colour (bonus points for space-themed adventures).

The back wall is painted in Resene Warrior, with stars in Resene Black White and clusters topcoated in Resene FX Nightlight glow-in-the-dark. To maximise the glow the stars could be painted in Resene White topcoated with Resene FX Nightlight. Left wall and floor in Resene Mystic. Cot from Mocka painted in Resene Proton metallic paint. Toy box, lipped shelves and wall hook in Resene Reservoir and vases in Resene Half Jumbo, Resene Reservoir, Resene Warrior and Resene Hermitage. DIY kite mobile in Resene Proton, Resene Reservoir, Resene Half Jumbo and Resene Black White. Cot accessories and wooden toys from Kmart and books and aqua cushion from The Warehouse.

Top tip: For best results apply Resene FX Nightlight over a white basecoat, such as Resene Lumbersider or a Resene White testpot, allowing dry time in between coats. The glow will be strongest after it has been 'charged' in UV light during the day and will fade slowly at night as your little one drifts off to sleep.

High flyer

Kites or manu tukutuku were traditionally used by Maori to symbolise the start of Matariki. Create this kite mobile (above) by cutting 12 kites and tie shapes in thick paper or card (see the template online) and paint in your favourite galactic colours – we used Resene Reservoir, Resene Half Jumbo and Resene Black White. Use a strong glue to attach to strings and tie to a macrame hoop.

For full instructions and kite template, visit

styling: Laura Lynn Johnston
images: Bryce Carleton
words: Cheree Morrison


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