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From the Resene colour inspiration – latest looks gallery

Transform your lounge into a film noir set with clever greyscale styling.

If film noir is one of your favourite movie genres, you might just consider painting your living room to resemble the moody and mysterious black, white and grey sets these films are notorious for. Stripping back the colour and allowing saturated greys and charcoals to take over the space plays an interesting trick on the eyes – as if you really are seeing it in greyscale.

A lounge with greyscale styling

A greyscale moodboard

A greyscale moodboard

A lounge with greyscale styling

Mood board: Background in Resene Silver Chalice, A4 drawdown paint swatches in (left to right) Resene Sea Fog, Resene Surrender, Resene Silver Chalice, Resene Half Stack, Resene Double Stack, Resene Grey Friars, small ball in Resene Blackjack, vase (small) in Resene Surrender and vase (medium) in Resene Half Stack. Linen from Adairs.

This room has achieved it with saturated hues in sepia tones. The walls in Resene Half Stack – a mid-toned sandy grey – are just a touch darker than the floor, which is painted in the pewter grey of Resene Silver Chalice. The colour of the couch can also be placed somewhere between these two warmer greys, and the cushions play to this gentle shading too. Altogether, with subtle toning instead of a stark black and white contrast, a believable greyscale look is formed.

Top tip

When bringing in blacks and whites for this look, try to incorporate them equally. The black tones with add depth and will, of course, darken the space, while whites will add a distinct brightness against the many notes of grey.

A lounge with greyscale styling and brown accessories

Greyscale and brown moodboard

Greyscale and brown moodboard

A lounge with greyscale styling and brown accessories

Mood board: Background in Resene Silver Chalice, A4 drawdown paint swatches in (left to right) Resene Desperado, Resene Sea Fog, Resene Surrender, Resene Silver Chalice, Resene Half Stack, Resene Double Stack, Resene Grey Friars, small ball in Resene Blackjack, vase (top) in Resene Surrender, vase (bottom) in Resene Half Stack and coaster in Resene Cape Palliser. Linen from Adairs.

While this look works perfectly in a lounge setting, it can also be employed for a cosy bedroom setup too. Use the painted circle on the wall to act as a feature to delineate the space for the bed or as an alternative to art. You could also paint a headboard in Resene Silver Chalice for an affordable piece in keeping with the theme.

If the greyscale look is too saturated for your style, the spell can be broken as soon as you add another colour in the room. We’ve added in the red-hearted warm brown of Resene Desperado. In the lounge, it takes the form of a throw and a small painted round vase, instantly injecting life into the room. In the bedroom look, bring this hue in with bedding and pillows in similar shades to Resene Desperado and Resene Cape Palliser. The richness of these warmer tones will offer a beautiful contrast to the harder greys and will work to some extent to soften them.

A greyscale lounge

Walls in Resene Half Stack with circle feature in Resene Silver Chalice, floor in Resene Silver Chalice, coffee tabletop in Resene Double Stack with circle detail in Resene Silver Chalice, console top in Resene Half Grey Friars, door in Resene Surrender with circle in Resene Half Grey Friars, beside table in Resene Double Stack, tall vase in Resene Blackjack, bowl in Resene Grey Friars, tealight holder and vase on bedside table in Resene Cape Palliser, small round vase in Resene Desperado and round ball in Resene Blackjack.

For a less contrasting look, try softer hues such as dusty pinks in Resene Wafer, Resene Soothe and Resene Ebb or add in some warmer blue tones like Resene Matisse, Resene Wanaka and Resene Pattens Blue. Either colourway will combine well with the space’s simple greyscale palette for a room that’s chic but comfortable.

Rounded shapes are a repeated feature within the room. A circle painted on the corner of the adjoining walls in Resene Silver Chalice is repeated on the door and on the floor painted in Resene Half Grey Friars. Smaller rounded shapes can be found in the room, from the curved sofa to the arched lamp and the rounded vases. These softer shapes contrast brilliantly with the sharp, straight lines of the coffee table and console – and the overall sharpness of the black, white and grey colour scheme. The console top is painted in Resene Half Grey Friars and the coffee tabletop is painted in Resene Double Stack with a circle motif painted in Resene Silver Chalice. If you’re bringing in the aforementioned pinks and blues, you could also try continuing the circle motif in these colours.

A greyscale bedroom with brown/orange accessories

Accessories: Waffle pillowcases from Allium, printed pillowcases and throw from Homebody, rust throw from The Warehouse, duvet cover, pillowcase and black and pale grey cushions from Adairs lamp from Citta.

Top tip

Beyond visual interest, geometric shapes, particularly as painted wall features, can be used to highlight an area in your room, frame small or large artworks (depending on the scale of your shapes) or break up a dominant colour scheme. Keep this in mind when deciding where you want your shape or shapes to go.

Project by Vanessa Nouwens. Images by Wendy Fenwick. 2021

Colour inspiration - latest looks gallery

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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.