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colour connection


From habitat magazine - issue 36, cohesive colour

Taking a holistic approach to decorating makes your home feel more harmonious. But visually connecting rooms isn’t always easy. There is, however, one fail-safe unifier. It’s called colour.

How easy it is to fall in love with colour. Who wouldn’t get a mood-boost in a room painted in Resene Outrageous, a bright orange and a dose of pure, energising vitamin C? Or feel calmed by the dreaminess of Resene Blue Moon, a serene shade that speaks of a cloudless summer sky?

But while nothing transforms a room like paint, the saying “the more, the merrier” doesn’t always apply to colour. “Colour affects how rooms in a home flow,” says interior designer Melle van Sambeek. “And to help them flow seamlessly, the easiest thing is picking a consistent colour, so the spaces feel connected.”

A blue arched hallway

Diamond floor pattern

Blue arch: Connect two different rooms by choosing colours from the same family. This arched hallway wall is painted in Resene Coast. The living room wall and coffee table are in Resene Half Dusted Blue, with the lighter shade drawing the eye into the home’s social areas while the floor in Resene Surrender connects the spaces. Different blues are introduced to the room with Resene Indian Ink on the pendant light, while taupe and sandy browns act as an accent colour on vases painted in Resene Heathered Grey and Resene Kina Brown. Sofa from Target Furniture, artwork from Simply Creative, blue cushions from H&M Home, ribbed cushion from Farmers, throw and cushion from Spotlight.  Diamond floor pattern: Flooring is a useful way to tie two spaces together, and by painting a pattern, such as this diamond pattern in Resene Triple Bison Hide and Resene Eighth Bison Hide, you can also incorporate your desired colour palette. Layering different strengths of the same colour, such as Resene Triple Bison Hide on the back wall and Resene Half Bison Hide on the left wall, creates depth and interest in the space. Hall table and bud vase in Resene Bokara Grey, side table in Resene Tobacco Brown, vase in Resene Eighth Thorndon Cream and coat rack (reflected in mirror) in Resene Dusty Road. Lamp from Freedom, armchair from Le Forge, textured vases from Slow Store. 

There’s no official limit on the number of hues you should use in your home but creating cohesion through colour will make it feel more restful. This doesn’t mean sticking to the exact same palette. Making a house too matchy-matchy can cause it to feel soulless. But it does mean being mindful of your colour choices. It’s about viewing your home as a single entity and ensuring each room connects to the adjoining rooms.

“This is especially important in homes with a more open-plan design,” says Melle. “With an open-plan area, you want a main colour to act as your connector.”

Note Skirtings, architraves and door jambs are an easy way to create colour cohesion throughout your home. Use waterborne enamel paints for trims – Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss or Resene Enamacryl gloss for enamel type toughness and easy cleanability.

Pick a palette, then repeat

Working with a streamlined palette makes the rooms feel unified and helps with the transitions between them. “Repetition is key to a cohesive colour scheme whether you continue with the same family of neutrals throughout your home or select décor to reference your bold feature colours,” says Resene Senior Architectural Representative, Rebecca Long.

Adding focus to a room with feature walls

Feature walls can add focus to a room, but they can feel disconnected from the rest of the home if not treated with care. Repeat the feature wall colour or similar tones to tie the wall into the rest of your home. Feature wall in Resene Nocturnal, side wall and back wall in Resene Quarter Akaroa and flooring in Resene Akaroa. Console table in Resene Spice, ladder in Resene Stack, coffee table in Resene Leather and vases and ornaments in Resene Akaroa, Resene Brown Sugar, Resene Leather, Resene Triple Akaroa and Resene Black. DIY artworks painted in Resene Akaroa and Resene Black. Sofa from Danske Møbler, leaf cushion, knitted cushion and block design cushion from Freedom, linen cushion covers from H&M Home.
 

"The simple addition of a terracotta pot in your dining room is an easy way to connect your dining room to your bold, Resene Sunbaked painted lounge."

Creating tie-ins so that your home feels like a total package and not a succession of separate parts is an approach also taken by stylist and designer Vanessa Nouwens. "You can link colours between rooms in many ways," she says. "It can be through painted walls in one room to the same shade appearing in furniture or window coverings in another." Resene Design Advocate, Brooke Calvert says even those who want to stick to a neutral scheme can mix things up by using neutrals in different tones.

Connect an ensuite to the main bedroom

Connect an ensuite to the main bedroom by balancing light and dark*

Connect an ensuite to the main bedroom by balancing light and dark. The light and bright flooring in Resene Black White and Resene Eighth Black White used on the top half of the ensuite wall break up the Resene Waiouru used on the bedroom wall, shelf, vanity table and lower half of the ensuite wall. Door and wooden duckboard in Resene Nero, DIY artwork in Resene Nero and Resene Black White, bud vases in Resene Thorndon Cream and Resene Waiouru and ladder (reflected in mirror) in Resene Dusty Road. Sink, tapware, mirror and soap dispenser from Plumbline, bedlinen from Kinship, cabinet from Bed Bath & Beyond, vase from Slow Store, towels from H&M Home.

Top tip  Resene SpaceCote Flat is an ideal choice for a feature wall in a master bedroom as the matte finish will bring out the depth of the colour and help to hide imperfections and fingerprints. This highly versatile paint can be used in wet areas and ceilings and is also available in a fly deterrent formulation to minimise the appearance of unwanted fly spots.

“With neutral schemes you can add interest with the simple trick of sticking with the same colour in varying strengths.

For example, use Resene Half Sea Fog as your main wall colour with Resene Quarter Sea Fog in darker areas like the hallway and soften the bedrooms with Resene Double Sea Fog.”

Accent colours will tie it all together, says Vanessa. “The golden rule with accent shades is to apply them three times in a space. So, if you have a dark feature wall, add that same shade at least twice more in the room to make it feel cohesive. Consider adding the colour at three different heights. For example, something down low like a rug, maybe a pendant light or piece of artwork at a higher level and a painted vase, cushion or bowl at mid-level.”

Another way to integrate colours in a cohesive scheme is with paint effects. Resene FX Paint Effects is a tintable acrylic medium that easily creates unique paint effects while still enjoying the benefits of lower odour and easy clean-up in water. Apply two coats in a light colour using Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen. Then apply a darker colour mixed with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium and add Resene Hot Weather Additive to slow drying. In most cases, just add one Resene testpot of paint. You can always add extra if you’d like a darker colour.

* Connect an ensuite to the main bedroom by balancing light and dark. The light and bright flooring in Resene Black White and Resene Eighth Black White used on the top half of the ensuite wall break up the Resene Waiouru used on the bedroom wall, shelf, vanity table and lower half of the ensuite wall. Door and wooden duckboard in Resene Nero, DIY artwork in Resene Nero and Resene Black White, bud vases in Resene Thorndon Cream and Resene Waiouru and ladder (reflected in mirror) in Resene Dusty Road. Sink, tapware, mirror and soap dispenser from Plumbline, bedlinen from Kinship, cabinet from Bed Bath & Beyond, vase from Slow Store, towels from H&M Home. 

Top tip Resene SpaceCote Flat is an ideal choice for a feature wall in a master bedroom as the matte finish will bring out the depth of the colour and help to hide imperfections and fingerprints. This highly versatile paint can be used in wet areas and ceilings and is also available in a fly deterrent formulation to minimise the appearance of unwanted fly spots.


Resene Sunbaked

A balm for the eyes

Melle agrees that magic happens when there is scope for the eyes to rest. “To help your eyes travel around the room more seamlessly and create a cohesive palette, you may also like to pay attention to sightlines. What other rooms do you see when you are standing in your living room? If you can see into your kitchen and dining room or hallway, pick colours from the same palette or complementary ones. Choosing a variety of different colours that don’t work in harmony can make a space start to feel a little wacky.

“In my own home, the walls are all painted in Resene Rakaia. But in the smaller, darker rooms, I used a quarter strength (Resene Quarter Rakaia), so it feels lighter and brighter. In the main bedroom, I have used a triple strength (Resene Triple Rakaia) to make it cosier, and in my husband’s man cave, I created a dado line for more visual interest and used a quarter strength (Resene Quarter Rakaia) above and a double strength (Resene Double Rakaia) below. This approach means all the rooms are harmonious but also flow beautifully.”

Make it a family

But harmony doesn’t just come from sticking to neutrals. At first glance, some homes seem like a riot of colour. But look more closely, and you’ll realise the owner has worked with a tight palette. The secret? Choosing hues in complementary colour families. Say, for example, you love the mix of blue and orange. The idea would be to use complementary shades of blue – cobalt, navy, turquoise, for instance – and harmonising shades of orange such as coral, tangerine, peach throughout the house. Thinking in colour families can be helpful for successfully teaming bolder shades.

Vanessa thinks similarly when it comes to tonal schemes. “Tonal schemes are where you take one colour and use different shades of that colour from light to dark,” she explains. “While one room could have a moodier colour palette, a connecting room could still have the same colours at play but in lighter shades.”

You can also play with texture. Try mixing different sheens of the same Resene colour to create a space with depth. For example, try Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss below a dado line and Resene SpaceCote Flat on the top half of a wall.

“Layering a variety of sheens and finishes is a way to create cohesion from room to room,” says Rebecca. “Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen can be used throughout your home and will offer a durable, aesthetically pleasing low sheen finish to your walls. Opt for a slightly higher sheen finish for all your wet areas with Resene Lustacryl Kitchen & Bathroom semi-gloss to connect these wet spaces with each other.”

Linking your rooms using colour doesn’t mean that every space has the same mood. One colour alone has many tints and shades. It may seem daunting to think of your home as a whole. But, with a bit of planning, you can create a colour scheme that pulls you into each room and turns a building into spaces you love.

A sheltered outdoor area

Think of your sheltered outdoor area as an extension of your living space and use colours to unite them for seamless indoor-outdoor flow. Resene Miso on the interior walls behaves like a neutral colour while connecting with the vibrant lime colours of the Cape Cod chair and small planter in Resene Awol. Side table in Resene Nirvana, DIY herb shelves in Resene Clover and other planters and vases in Resene Turtle Green and Resene Fawn Green. Wall and bench seat in Resene Foggy Grey and flooring in Resene Walk-on Gunsmoke. Sofa from Danske Møbler, table from Kmart, leaf-print cushions from Briscoes, pale green cushion and artwork from Adairs.

Five quick tips for connecting rooms

  1. Colour scale: There are few rooms more deserving of considered connection than a bedroom and ensuite. One way of linking them is to balance light and dark. If you prefer your bedroom light and airy, go for darker complementary colours in the bathroom. And vice-versa: create a moody looking bedroom and a fresh-looking ensuite. Rebecca Long suggests planning the colour scheme for your main bedroom at the same time as your ensuite and think about the mood you want to create. “A dreamy, dark ensuite painted in Resene Coast links well with a feature wall of Resene Lynchpin in the main bedroom. While Resene Lynchpin is lighter, its muted slate undertone pairs well with the hidden depths of Resene Coast. If you would like to introduce contrasting colours, make sure they have a common link whether it’s an undertone, vibrance or theme.”

  2. Remember wallpaper: A fabulous way of connecting a hallway with a room leading off it (a guest powder room, for example) is to use the same pattern in different colourways. Resene wallpaper designs often come in several shades; the pattern itself can be the common denominator tying the rooms together. Using this technique is also a playful way of connecting a feature wall in a bedroom with a wardrobe interior. Adding pattern to a closet turns a utilitarian space into a giant jewel box.

  3. Floor it: There’s no doubt that homes look best if one consistent look travels from room to room. The same flooring throughout ties rooms together and improves flow; try Resene Colorwood wood stain protected in Resene Qristal ClearFloor. The best place to transition between one flooring to another is from room to room, particularly if there is a doorway to create a natural breaking point.

  4. Indoors out: It’s easy to think of home and garden as two separate entities with a strict demarcation between them. But decorative choices can happily blur those boundaries. The best way of linking indoor and outdoor is via flooring. Flooring that extends to the exterior will draw the eye outdoors. But another way of bringing the outdoors in, or vice-versa, is with colour. Paint or stain garden walls and fences in Resene Lumbersider or Resene Waterborne Woodsman in deeper tones of your home’s interior colours.

  5. Paint the joinery: Mouldings and trims help define a room’s style, adding architectural character and dimension. Generally, paint all the trims throughout the main areas of your home in the same colour for a unified effect from room to room. Resene Enamacryl waterborne gloss enamel and Resene Lustacryl waterborne semi-gloss enamel are ideal for trims. This technique also works well on exterior fretwork and details; having the same trim colour inside and out is a great way to make your home feel like it’s been considered holistically. But it isn’t a fixed rule. If you want to play around with more unique trim-and-wall-colour combos, personal spaces such as bathrooms and bedrooms are a great place to do so.

Projects: Vanessa Nouwens, Melle van Sambeek
Words: Tracey Strange
Images: Bryce Carleton, Wendy Fenwick

 

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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.