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From habitat magazine - issue 39, section

We all love a home that maximises comfort and style, but why not add green values at its heart too?

Using cork floors in your home

After you’ve chosen your pattern inspiration and palette, seal the cork with Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K to allow the cork texture to show. Once dry, apply the design to your cork floor, before repeating the aesthetic elsewhere in your space. Wall painted in Resene Eighth Bison Hide, cork tile floor with a decorative painted border in Resene Top Notch, chairs in Resene Vantage Point, table in Resene Half Bison Hide, pendant in Resene See The Light, bowl on table in Resene Scoria, sideboard in Resene Vantage Point with decorative painted cork tiles in Resene Quarter Bison Hide and Resene Top Notch, planter on sideboard in Resene Fluffy Duck, candlestick in Resene Top Notch and large planter on floor in Resene Thunderbird. Cork tiles from Mitre 10.

With that in mind, have you considered cork? Durable enough to sustain the pitter-patter of a busy household, cork is cushioned underfoot and also adds visual texture and warmth. Cork is derived from oak trees with a lifespan of 200 years. The tree is not cut down to access the cork as the bark can be removed by hand from the outer layer every nine years. The tree will continue to grow healthily after the bark is harvested.

If you want to use cork on the floor and leave it a natural colour, Ashleigh Strange from Resene’s advice team suggests simply coating the cork with four coats of Resene Qristal ClearFloor 1K, an Eco Choice approved finish. “This will provide protection as the varnish will form a surface, also meaning the surface can be easily wiped and cleaned.”

You can also use Resene Colorwood stains on cork or washes like Resene Colorwood Whitewash. These will tint the cork to your chosen shade but still allow some texture to show through. “Just remember cork can soak up a lot of stain, so you might get a darker colour. It’s always best to test first before doing your whole floor,” Ashleigh says. For painted cork tiles on a floor, Ashleigh recommends priming first with Resene Quick Dry, followed by two coats of Resene Walk-on in your chosen colour. Finish with Resene Concrete Wax to seal. “Resene Concrete Wax is a tough waterborne satin glaze. Scratches are easily repaired,” she says. “The top tip for a long-lasting cork floor is to make sure you have a durable coating and don’t allow water to pool on the surface for a long period of time.”

When it comes to colour and design for your cork floor, take your cue from a chair or bookshelf and extend that colour on to the floor. For just a touch of colour paint a 3cm perimeter line back from where the floor meets the wall.

Another fun approach is to lean into the cork tile square shape and paint a checkerboard design. Try mid-toned brown Resene Americano with soft Resene Cashmere, alternating diagonally from board to board. Of course, cork needn’t be restricted to floors. Create a handy wall organiser, painted in fun designs that match your surrounding palette. Resene colour testpots are ideal for this job.

Resene Fluffy Duck

Resene See The Light

Resene Vantage Point

Resene Top Notch

Project: Annick Larkin, Moneuan Ryan
Words: Catherine Steel
Images: Bryce Carleton


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Printed copies of habitat highlights are available from late March 2024 at Resene ColorShops and resellers, while stocks last. You can view back issues of habitat magazine online.

If you have an idea, project or story that you think would suit habitat, we’d love to hear from you. Please drop us an email with your details and include photos if submitting a project.

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