Take inspiration from Californian Spanish-style homes to create a conversation pit that’s a conversation piece in itself.
Modern California Spanish style champions simple yet elegant design as it’s known for symmetrical decorating and reframing interior spaces with archways. Warm woods are a staple in this style, too, which makes relaxing and nurturing desert tones the perfect colour palette choice for a new take on this look.
If installing new archways goes beyond what you’re willing to tackle, it’s easy to replicate the same vibe by painting an arched feature on your wall. In this room the walls are in Resene Smooth Operator with stripes painted in Resene Mountain Mist. To get an even half circle, attach a length of string (that’s half the size of the width of your arch) to a pencil. Secure one end of the string to the base of the wall where you want the middle of your half circle to be and then, carefully and making sure you keep the tension on the string taught, mark out the circumference of the half circle on the wall. Once you have your half circle marked out, use a ruler and a level to accurately pencil out your stripes. Use masking tape to ensure your paint lines are straight. Paint them using a Resene testpot brush to keep them nice and crisp.
This modern, desert-toned palette is warm and welcoming. In addition to the caramel and grey hues on the walls, there’s muted brown Resene Rodeo Dust on the large plant pot, apricot Resene Beethoven on the tall vase and grey Resene Mountain Mist and sienna brown Kalgoorie Sands on the peg stools. The combination of orange and grey is complementary, with one colour’s undeniable warmth balancing the other’s cooler nature.
Rather than incorporating crisp whites via accessories and soft furnishings, keep to creams and warm beiges. They’re in keeping with the overarching palette and will blend in seamlessly as a result. You can also repeat the orange and grey mix by painting side tables – or an object of your choice – in an ombre effect. Simply find a halfway point and softly blend the two hues together using leftover Resene paint and a testpot brush, being careful not to over blend. You could also lightly paint the grey shade partly over a piece of furniture in natural wood for a similar effect.
As contrast is always important in a well-designed interior space, pops of brighter hues brought in through the lampshade painted in Resene Moon Mist and on the cushions in a colour similar to Resene Sand provide some welcome respite from the warming desert tones. Flooring painted in the pink biscuit hue of Resene Wafer also adds a soft contrast to the darker browns, brightening the space and subtly highlighting the size of the room.
Layering these colours can have a cocooning effect, especially when paired with curves and a generous amount of texture. Look to style the space with leather chairs, linen cushions a large woven rug and, of course, plenty of indoor plants. If you want to accentuate the desert motif, incorporate succulents and other similarly sturdy verdure one might find in an arid environment.
This space heroes the symmetrical decorating principles of Californian Spanish style interiors with an almost mirror-like placement of furniture. The round rug, in a similar grey, also serves to act as a mirror-like reflection of the curved painted wall feature. However, to prevent it from looking too matchy-matchy, hang a pendant light slightly offset and decorate the side tables with different desert-themed objects for visual interest. Add furnishings with more sharp angles, as opposed to curves, to offset this reflection further (think square cabinetry, built-in shelving or a rectangular coffee table).
Project by Kate Alexander. Images Bryce Carleton. 2021
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