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good vibrations

From habitat magazine - issue 36, my favourite colours

Every colour has a vibration, says interior designer and former professional cello player Ann-Louise Hyde. The Block NZ judge shares the Resene colours she says strike a chord.

Ann-Louise Hyde

You started on The Block NZ as a judge last year. How was that experience?

It was outrageous, and I loved it. It was the décor equivalent of bungy jumping, and for the contestants, it must be terrifying, but they do it with amazing results. I was blown away by what is achieved on the show. The incredible amount of work people put in and the creativity and ability to pull it all together was electrifying.

You were formerly a professional cello player. Does that influence your approach to colour and interior design?

Yes, it does. The physics of sound are easy to visualise, especially with the cello strings wobbling away, and that’s what got me thinking about the vibrations that colours produce. Like soundwaves, light/ colour vibrations are simply a different, less obvious scientific reality. Every colour has its own vibration. I have a strong belief that these subtle vibrations affect all of us, even though most of the time, we’re not consciously aware of it. Colours are deeply personal, and I think it’s because of that vibration. You know when you walk into a house and there’s a feeling about it – sometimes it’s about the colour, the light and the way the light moves around.

What inspires you when creating a colour palette?

At the core of it is an emotional response. I ask clients to show me a favourite piece, and I'll put the Resene chart next to it. A colour will always 'sit up' or I keep looking until the right colour 'sits up'. There are no bad colours – only bad combinations and bad proportions.

A bright and light dining room

The Block NZ host, Ann-Louise Hyde keeps her Titirangi dining room light and bright with Resene Bianca on the walls and trims and ceiling in Resene Alabaster. The matai timber floor is finished with Resene Colorwood Rock Salt and protected with Resene Qristal ClearFloor.

What are your favourite Resene colours?

For me, Resene Alabaster is head and shoulders above every other white and neutral. It’s a crisp, clean and beautiful white and has its own gentle, homely vibration. For an accent colour, I like Resene Billabong, a blue with a hint of green with depth and richness. It’s a delicious colour and it will ‘advance’ [be prominent over other colours] so use it carefully – maybe in a nook or corner. Or try a classic cobalt blue, such as Resene Cobalt, which is lush and looks amazing with a fashionable gold like Resene Cream Can or a terracotta colour such as Resene Entourage. When using strong colours, it’s about proportion and positioning.

How would you describe your style?

I couldn’t live in a minimalist world. I’m eclectic and love art and objets d’art. But when it comes to interior design, I am designing uniquely for a client.

Do you have any advice for those wanting to get creative with colour?

Go for your heart’s desire. If you have a precious belonging, use it as your hero in the room and hold it next to a colour. If it speaks to your soul, then it’s right for you. Get Resene testpots, paint them on A2 card (available at Resene ColorShops) and Blu-Tack them to the wall in the light. Don’t put a colour scheme together on a table; put it together on a wall because you’ll get a different result depending on the lighting situation. Be prepared to tweak your hero colour. Maybe you started with red but, really, it’s a soft pink or terracotta that works. The slightest change can make everything feel completely different and that’s the alchemy of colour. Be brave; it’s only paint and you can easily repaint it later if another colour speaks to you.

To see more of Ann-Louise's work, visit

Words: Wendy Colville
Images: Ann-Louise Hyde


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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.

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