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wall work

From habitat magazine - issue 39, graphical walls

Get creative with your feature wall.

An eye-catching feature wall is a simple way to experiment with a bolder design aesthetic in your interiors, without having to go ‘all in’.

A feature wall with a touch of bold colour

Just one touch of bold colour is all that is needed to draw attention to this monochromatic painted design. Or for a different twist on colour, designer Kate Alexander suggests you could change the colour of the painted outline in a subtle way by starting with a dark colour on the outline, moving to lighter outline colours as you move across the wall for an ombre or fade effect.

Resene Bright Spark colours just one leaf and the bench seat. The main wall is painted in Resene Half Black White with mural leaves, skirting and front wall in Resene Nero, DIY artwork in Resene Half Black White and Resene Nero, floor in Resene Colorwood Breathe Easy, lightshade in Resene Neutral Bay and bookend in Resene New Denim Blue.

A bold, geometric feature wall features in this bedroom

A bold, geometric painted feature created with Resene Foundry and Resene Parchment adds a striking and personalised touch, livening up this bedroom and creating a unique focal point. The beauty is that it looks complex, yet it is pretty straightforward to paint. Try your hand at creating your own graphic wall treatment starting with just a few simple geometric shapes in bold complementary colours. Rotate the shapes to create a design repeat that suits your style and space.

Geometric mural in Resene Foundry and Resene Parchment, back wall in Resene Parchment, floor in Resene Half Parchment, cabinet and arched vase in Resene Triple Parchment, side table in Resene Foundry, painted books (on side table) in Resene Half Parchment, Resene Foundry and Resene Triple Parchment and round circle vase in Resene Black. Bedlinen from Adairs.

Top tip: Always test both your design and colour palette on a large piece of card to get a good idea of how the pattern, scale and colours will work before you start painting the wall. Use your test card as a reference as you complete your wall, to make sure your painting stays on track.

Top tip: Refresh your floor with Resene Walk-on flooring paint, then finish with Resene Concrete Wax for extra durability.

If you want to go beyond a simple block colour on your feature wall, why not try a dramatic graphic pattern? The only limit is your imagination.

Simple geometric shapes like stripes, triangles, chevrons and parallelograms are easy to achieve if you’re not confident in your freehand drawing. Mark out your design with a ruler and pencil, then mask off with painter’s masking tape from your Resene ColorShop, before painting the edges, overlapping, flipping and adding highlights in contrast Resene colours. Even with these simple shapes, you can be creative in how you work them together.

If you have plain wooden, tiled or even concrete flooring you may want to continue elements of your design onto the floor or onto the ceiling. By going over these visual boundaries you’ll give your design extra life and movement.

Interior designer Kate Alexander suggests keeping an eye on scale when you’re adding a drawing or design to the wall. “Do some drawings on paper and Blu-Tack them to the wall to get the right scale. You can photocopy the design multiple times to give you a feel for how far it will reach on your wall,” Kate says.

Going freehand

When it comes to a freehand design on the wall, Kate suggests starting in the least viewed areas first. “Often the drawing will get better as you go, so start low or in an area that won’t be seen as much.

“If you don’t feel confident draw the pattern on the wall in pencil first, especially if you want the graphic to reach a certain height or width, or relate to an item of furniture at a certain measurement.”

If drawing is not for you, Kate suggests using a stencil, either by printing your own design or buying one online. “The trick to using a stencil is to have several copies, as it will start to fail after being moved and used multiple times.

“You could also make a print. Go old-school manual and cut a potato,” she says. “The trick with prints is to make sure you get the right amount of paint each time. Paint the paint onto the potato so it’s even and not gloopy.”

Consider your colours

When choosing a colour palette for your graphic design think about what visual effect you want to create and how it will work with the rest of the space.

To keep the feature from overwhelming everything else, a palette of three Resene colours is a good place to start. Keep things pared back with a black and white base with shades like Resene Alabaster and Resene Nero with either a fresh splash of Resene Hypnotic or a muted blue like Resene Biscay.

This dark/light combination with a highlight colour can also work well to create a 3D effect in repeat geometric patterns, using darker blacks and greys like Resene Condor and Resene Possessed as a shadow to whites and brighter contrast colours.

For a more soothing finish, a tonal palette can work well to draw attention to your design while keeping the finish understated and almost neutral. Choose a selection of similar colours from one Resene palette card to create a tone-on-tone effect. Or if you’d like to try an ombre fade effect, try graduated sunset shades like Resene Tequila, Resene Just Right and Resene Cashmere.

Note:  Play with your paint's gloss level to add subtle touches of contrast. You can do this by using a higher sheen paint, such as Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss or Resene Enamacryl gloss, or use a Resene clear finish, such as Resene Concrete Clear in flat, satin or gloss, over your paint colour to adjust its sheen level. This is also a handy option if you decide your paint is too flat or too shiny after you have painted it – no need to repaint, just finish it in the Resene Concrete Clear sheen to suit.


Resene Breathe Easy

Projects: Kate Alexander, Vanessa Nouwens
Murals: Hannah Tapner
Words: Kerri Jackson
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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