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From habitat magazine - issue 39, my favourite colours

Interior designer Shelley Ferguson has been keeping busy designing beautiful homes and creating a handy The Interior Edit tool to help budding homeowners bring their unique vision to life with the help of Resene paints.

Shelley Ferguson - interior designer

How would you describe your interior style?

This is a tricky one, I like quite a few styles! My style is a mix of contemporary and classic. I like modern interiors but with a lot of layering to give them more detail. I love the nostalgia of old movies, the history of fashion and the Art Deco era, but modernised with clean lines and simple shapes. I think you can be promiscuous and mix different styles to create your own unique look and feel.

How did you construct ‘The Interior Edit’ and who have you created it for?

The Interior Edit is a complete selection of interior materials, curated into different looks, to take the hard work out of choosing products for your renovation. I’ve chosen the tile, carpet, paint palette, wood flooring and more that combine to create a cohesive interior. It’s for people that love interior design and want a particular style throughout their home, but want to do it themselves rather than use a designer. People often lack the time to go hunting for products and there are so many that it can get confusing. This is for people who want the process simplified, getting a great design minus the second guessing yourself. There are also kitchen plans for each style and bathrooms are coming, so those tricky rooms to renovate are sorted too!

What are your current colour favourites?

I’m loving earthy neutrals instead of really bright whites. I’ve been using the half or eighth versions of colours like Resene Blanc, Resene Merino and Resene Parchment to paint rooms to get a slightly softer look. I’m enjoying working with greens and recently painted a client’s dining room in Resene Smoky Green. I always love a dusky pastel like Resene Dusted Blue, Resene Lemon Grass and Resene Periglacial Blue. And deeper, jewel-like colours are definitely on my radar right now – I’m deciding between wine reds like Resene Arthouse and Resene Mulberry to paint a client’s library room.

A bright and peaceful interior

Throughout her own home, Shelley has chosen calming colours from the Resene Whites & Neutrals collection. This room, featured in her book Live Luxe, is painted in Resene Eighth Blanc, offering a bright yet peaceful tone perfect for accessorising.

How do you recommend first-time decorators create a workable palette?

I like to look at items that make me feel happy. Look at your favourite pieces of furniture, art and fashion. There might be a natural colour scheme in a treasured antique rug, a statement painting or a favourite dress. Pull the colour palette out from that piece – often there will be a neutral, a main colour and an accent colour, which is a perfect combo for interiors! Also think about what activities take place in this space and how do you want it to make people feel. How much natural light does the room have? Is it cold and southfacing or warm and north-facing? Northern light contains more yellow so is warmer and southern light contains more blue so is cooler, both of which totally change the appearance of the same paint colour. I like to use a pale, mid and intense version of the same colour in a space, even if it’s a neutral. While a full strength paint version of a colour you love might be too much, the half, quarter or eighth version may be perfect.

What are you looking forward to seeing colour trend wise?

I love seeing what colours emerge each year as it’s such a snapshot of the zeitgeist of that time, how people are feeling and how colour can improve their mindset. I often look at technology, fashion and automotive for signs of upcoming colour trends and am seeing a lot of lilac, marigold, lime green, khaki green and earthy russet brown tones. While you may not paint all your walls in these colours, they are refreshing to use as an accent for feature walls, art and accessories.

What’s a great DIY tip for home decorators?

Use a paint sprayer! My husband and I have used these for interiors, fences and breeze blocks. You can hire them, they’re relatively simple to get the hang of and they save you so much time! Practise on a secondary area first though to get the technique right.

› Find out more about The Interior Edit at


Images: Helen Bankers, Andrew Coffey


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