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back to nature

From Habitat plus - decorating and colour trends 2021

In our fast-paced world and ‘always on’ culture, most of us yearn for ways to disconnect.

The stress we are exposed to each day can easily become overwhelming, and it influences the way we feel about our homes. Recent developments have brought a major shift in how our dwellings are being used. From a place to sleep, eat and take a shower, our personal space has now, once again, become the most meaningful place in our lives: one that may also have to do double duty as a workplace but still needs to facilitate rest and rejuvenation. And that, of course, starts with how you design it.

Green and white study
Green on green lounge
Study: Wall, rounded vase and rubbish basket in Resene Peace, desk, chair and floor in Resene Elderflower, stencilled painted ‘tiles’ in Resene Peace, coat rack, skirting board, chair and desk legs, wreath and geometric vase in Resene New Leaf, tall vase in Resene Smoothie and tiny vase (on books) in Resene Grey Olive. Tote from Città, shoes from Mood Store.   Lounge: Walls and floor in Resene Ravine with colour block in Resene Pumice, cabinets in Resene Blue Smoke, coffee tables in Resene Pewter and Resene Harp, vases, bowls and smaller accessories in Resene Napa, Resene Yucca, Resene Blue Smoke, Resene Pewter, Resene Ravine, Resene Haven, Resene Pumice, Resene Armadillo, Resene Eagle and Resene Harp and picture frame in Resene Duck Egg Blue. Sofa, chair and selected cushions from Freedom Furniture, throw from Allium Interiors, other cushions from Shut the Front Door.

Trend: colour blocking, see "block it out"

Now that we have become aware of the significance of creating a healthy and nurturing environment for us to withdraw and recuperate, decluttering, slow decorating and maximising the available natural light have also come into focus. Decorators are turning away from the ‘fast fashion’ approach to interior design and prioritising investments in furniture and décor. To create a stimulating environment where you can express your authentic self, it’s no surprise that many of us are turning to items with a story behind them. A rediscovered appreciation for less than perfect pieces, raw, handmade and vintage furnishings sees us seeking expressive art and adopting folk motifs into our homes. And we’re embracing the old and redecorating to make old ‘new’ again with finishes like Karen Walker Chalk Paint and wax. With a little effort one piece of furniture can be reinvented as often as you like with new paint and colour.

While nature itself has long been a common inspiration for home décor, woodland tones including silvery sages such as Resene Bud, muddy stone greys like Resene Nomad, jades like Resene Palm Green and olive greens such as Resene Saratoga are among the most popular trending hues.

Luckily, these shades are all suitable for building tonal looks – an approach which is still very much on trend. Since tone-on-tone schemes are built on layering, the more you add, the more the whole scheme will hang together. The trick is to pick hues that complement with enough variation to keep things from becoming completely homogenous – and earthy greens like Resene Rivergum and Resene Mangrove are particularly excellent to work with when you’re trying to create a serene space but don’t want it to lack in interest or contrast.

Top tip: Bring in natural textures and stain timber in Resene Colorwood wood stain to reinforce nature’s touch

Resene Elderflower

Resene Smoothie

Resene Peace

Resene New Leaf

Other colours to try with today’s popular greens are toasted browns like Resene Toffee, midnight blues like Resene Dark Knight or smoky grey blues like Resene Neutral Bay.

Lush looks

Deep and luscious greens transcend the seasons. With a little quick accessorising that cooler summer look can become a cosy autumn look just by adding touches of warm terracotta or mustard. Olive green varies greatly in saturation and temperature, making it extremely versatile and giving you plenty of flexibility when decorating. Resene Waiouru, Resene Clover or Resene Scrub are among the easiest to work with. Try them layered with a softer green like Resene Bud, an antique gold like Resene Stinger or an ochre green like Resene Grass Hopper and add a touch of buttery yellow like Resene Sweet Corn for warmth.

Baten panelled lounge
Zen inspired room
Panelled wall: Take cues from the forest as you build your palette from the floor up, with the darkest hues at floor level through to the lightest hue on your ceiling. Stone greys and camel browns work wonderfully as accents to olive greens. Walls in Resene Waiouru, cabinet, small table, tray and accent battens in Resene Gravel, floor in Resene Quarter Spanish White, large table in Resene Clover, large plant pot in Resene Gravel with design in Resene Waiouru and vases and accessories in Resene Clover, Resene Dingley, Resene Solitaire, Resene Gravel, Resene Biscotti, Resene Thistle, Resene Highland and Resene Black. Sofa from Me & My Trend, rug from Città, throw and cushions from Shut the Front Door, art from Simply Creative.   Balanced room: Creating balance through symmetry and repetition can also help add to the zen-like atmosphere of your space. Upper wall in Resene Eagle, lower wall and shoes in Resene Waiouru, skirting board and planters in Resene Cut Glass, floor cushion tops in Resene Ottoman and lantern bottoms in Resene Sweet Corn. Art from endemicworld, floor cushions from Nood.

Jade greens have a sultry, worldly value to them that's intrinsically tied to nature. They're timeless in every respect and work beautifully when complemented by other natural elements and neutral tones. Try on trend versions like Resene Palm Green or Resene Permanent Green with an inky grey blue like Resene High Tide, a refreshing mint like Resene Edgewater or a deep ruby like Resene Rustic Red.

Lush green walls
Green and terracotta inspiration
Dark jade lounge: Rich jade green walls in Resene Palm Green and brass accents bring a luxuriousness to the earth tones in this lounge. Floor in Resene Greige, cabinet in Resene Double Spanish White with stripes in Resene Vintage, plant pots in Resene Palm Green and Resene Cutty Sark, table lamp in Resene Midwinter Mist, low bowl in Resene Bubble White, books in Resene Deep Teal and Resene Rivergum and vase in Resene Blue Smoke. Chair and ottoman from Me & My Trend, floor lamp from Freedom Furniture, throw, animal cushion, rug, art and brass candleholder from Kmart.   Panelled wall: Deep terracotta browns, like Resene Redwood painted on the floor and ladder, are excellent options for grounding a space. Pair them with earthy greens like Resene Finch on the tongue-and-groove panelling and Resene Woodrush on the tea light holder and ruddy reds like Resene Fahrenheit on the baskets, pendant lamp and vase. Upper wall in Resene Eighth Joss. Cushion and blankets from Città, chair and rug from Nood.

Other on-trend colours to try:


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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.