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nature leads the way

From Habitat magazine - issue 09

As we yearn for more natural surroundings in this hi-tech world, rich warm colours and cleaner hues are emerging. Resene’s recently launched The Range 2009 helps celebrate the trend.

The range 2009 colours

As we come to the end of our love affair with minimalist interiors, decorated spaces underpinned with rich warm colours will be emerging as the new trend for coming seasons.

Colour trends are so often driven by lifestyle trends, one of which is our desire for more natural surroundings and an increasing awareness of eco-friendly alternatives. As interior designer Debbie Abercrombie comments: “We’re heading towards natural colours with our increasing awareness of eco issues. Schemes based on a natural colour palette are also those that stand the test of time.”

Resene’s recently launched The Range 2009 draws on hues from the full spectrum, complemented by a variety of whites and cool and warm grays. There is a definite warming trend as bronzed yellows, burnished oranges, earthy and tan browns, nature-inspired greens, vivid reds and reddened purples meet slate blues and soft neutrals. Hues in The Range 2009 seem familiar and comfortable, with fewer daring bolds compared to earlier in the decade.

There is optimism in the future of the planet, with fresh hues combined with the desire to pull some of the past into the present day.

The excitement of the internet revolutionised the last decade and brought with it a bevy of hi-tech advances. As we have become increasingly surrounded by gadgets there has been a partial rebellion, a desire to reach back to artisan and natural designs to make modern day life more emotional and less hi-tech and untouchable.

This yearning back to the ‘simpler’ life, has also been seen in the move towards organic foods and handmade products. Electronic gadgets once seen as a luxury, are now commonplace, so much so that handcrafted items are the new luxury. Handmade, thoughtful, one-of-a-kind home furnishings and accents balance our feelings in a world we cannot control. Consumers are looking for products that look old and handmade, not mass produced, for an emotional connection to their possessions. Urban sophistication has been reinvented with the melding of technology with nature.

It’s no surprise then, that green continues to anchor the palette, ranging from healthy greens drawn from landscapes and agriculture to clean greens.

In The Range 2009 we see this environmental focus underpinning a variety of hues, as even the reds and purples tend towards vegetal colours.

That trend also continues into timber colours, with dark shades like wenge, being replaced by paler varieties like bamboo. “We have done dark timber cabinetry to death,” says Debbie.

Neutral schemes will always have their place, says interior designer Rachael Buxton. “Some people will always feel more comfortable using mostly neutrals but will bring colour in through accents, such as a colourful chair or ornaments or patterned cushion.”

“There is a definite resurgence of the use of colour, moving away from bland interiors. Also, cleaner, clearer colours are coming through rather than the sludgy, greyed tones we’ve been using,” says Rachael.

“With an understated chic and an environmental underpinning, the hues of The Range 2009 are brought together in a warm palette of wellbeing.”

While colours may be becoming clearer, the prevalence of mid tones means that we are using colour in gentle harmony rather than as a dramatic contrast. Again, this points to our need for comfort and relaxation in a jarring, busy world. Varying sheen levels and textures provide visual interest rather than strong chromatic contrasts.

New Zealanders and Australians are well-known for their desire to change homes regularly but in these days of economic uncertainty and flattening real estate markets, many of us are deciding to stay put and change what we already have. Paint is an affordable way to quickly change the look of an interior, and colour can instantly change the character of a room.

Colour’s power to lift the human psyche is well recognised and a key driver along with growing consumer demand for choice towards greater colour use in all areas.

Even the kitchen is becoming more colourful, after years of white cabinetry. Appliances are no longer necessarily stainless steel or white, as leading manufacturers tempt our palates with wider colour choices.

The kitchen continues to morph from a place of cooking to a family haven, where families come together to assemble, socialise and eat.


Green continues to anchor the palette with the interest in environmental sustainability continuing. Healthy greens drawn from landscapes and agriculture, expressed most commonly as yellow greens such as Resene Karma and Resene Secret Garden and clean greens such as Resene Lucky Break, dominate.


Neutrals are grey-inspired, underpinned by seemingly timeless neutrals that have remained popular through many decades. A throng of previously seen browns have made way to deeper greys and darkest blacks, such as Resene Blackout, with complex undertones to add a touch of more than just black. Near whites have an influence over the palette, providing a fresh contemporary backdrop upon which the drama in other colours can be seen.


Red is strong and seductive, such as Resene X Factor and Resene Vibe. The bold clean hues of previous years carry forward, combined with a nod to nature with tomato reds joined by a quick taste of warm extroverted pink. Oranges are burnished and yellows bronzed complementing the prevalence of healthy greens.


Pastels are only sparsely seen as chalky neutrals, such as Resene Barely There and Resene Whiteout, come to the fore. Greyed-off hues provide a secure base to complement the popular warm mid tones and move away from sandy neutrals.

Colour use is becoming increasingly seasonless and inter-generational with both ends of the age spectrum selecting the same palette of hues. Once pastels were the domain of the elderly – more and more these hues are being confined to baby rooms and are being transformed into complex neutrals and mid tones in other areas. As our colour palettes have become more sophisticated, pastels do little to satisfy our desire for colour depth.


Blues are watery and calm, such as Resene Chi and Resene Breathless, incorporating slate blues and grey blues through to deep ocean blues continuing from previous years. The slate blues are weathered and introspective, soothing the senses. Purples lean towards blue undertones. Dusty purples have made way to the influx of soft greys, such as Resene Chain Reaction.


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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.