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Birds of a feather decorate together

From the Resene decorating blog

Birds are ruffling up the interior decorating world. Try these ideas for feathering your nest.

A light blue lounge with tui artwork

Blues from this Tui artwork by Margaret Petchell (available from Endemic World) have been brought out into this sitting room space, setting the tone. Wall in Resene Half Duck Egg Blue, lampshade and console in Resene Fast Forward, console doors and plant pot in Resene Mystery, side table in Resene Artemis. Resene Styling by Kate Alexander, photo by Bryce Carleton.

Is there a sound more soothing than the resonant hoot of a ruru on a dark night, or more enchanting than the sunlit warble of a tui? Could the shimmering blue of a kingfisher be any more beautiful, or the bronzed green of a kererū more magical? We love our feathered friends and have long harnessed this soft spot as inspiration for our interiors. It’s a look that’s both centuries-old and on-trend, with brands pulling bird patterns and references from their archives from all sorts of different periods.

Wall tweetments

As a décor motif, birds conjure opulence, femininity, luxury and sophistication. From glass doors decorated with frosted etchings of avian forms, to homeware depicting feathered fantasies, it’s an enduring aesthetic that can take any number of forms.

Wallpaper is at once a contemporary and classic way to introduce bird motifs at home, and several of Resene’s latest releases are exquisite representations of the look. From the herons in the Resene Helium Wallpaper Collection to the parrots in the Resene Tropic Exotic Wallpaper Collection, wallpapers with bird motifs are a portal to a current trend that never falls out of favour.

Meanwhile, the Peacocks print in Resene’s handcrafted Mason wallpaper collection reinterprets in today's colours (including exquisite Resene Pure Pewter metallic paint and Resene Resolution Blue) the mid-century designs of Bill Mason, an internationally acclaimed artist whose Wellington studio became the first Resene ColorShop.

Avian accessories

Beyond the birds themselves, feather-printed fabrics and other accents are an ever-popular way to embrace the look – and ideal if you’re renting and unable to paint your walls. “If you’re up for a bit of DIY, you’ll find YouTube tutorials for lightshades you can make using inexpensive feather boas,” says Auckland interior stylist Megan Harrison-Turner. “Paint the shade itself with a coordinating Resene colour – a testpot should be more than enough. Then just add cushions in the same colours. Accent colours repeated at different heights help pull a room together.”

Use swooping birds to augment the energy in a space – arranging ceramic or glass versions in a flock-like formation on the wall or hanging a collection of painted paper cranes (at different heights for a dynamic display) from the ceiling. Other extras to consider include avian-inspired wall decals for children’s rooms, bird paintings and prints. “A number of artists are doing interesting work with birds, including Wellington pop-surrealist Rieko Woodford-Robinson, who has painted portraits of native birds in the style of Charles Goldie and Gottfried Lindauer,” says Megan. “Or check out Margaret Petchell’s works at Auckland’s Endemic World.”

Outdoors, forage for fallen nests you can display other curios in or paint a vintage birdcage in quiet lilac-grey Resene Birdcage or loud tropical-yellow Resene Bird Flower and place a potted plant (climbing ivy would be enchanting) inside it, after painting the pot the same shade.

A lovely wall mural

A light bedroom with a peacock inspired headboard

Room with wall mural: Three different panels make up this lovely wall mural: Resene Wallpaper Collection DGIUM1021, DGIUM1022 and DGIUM1023. It looks particularly effective as a feature wall in a tonal lounge next to a large floor-length window to highlight the outside greenery. Go with flooring in Resene Half Atmosphere, a sofa in Resene Half Pravda and velvet cushions in Resene Wilderness. An eye-catching lampshade in Resene Half Gravel plus long, luscious drapes in Resene Coriander will inject some glamour into the space.  Bedroom: Thanks to its subtle shimmering peacock pattern, Resene Wallpaper Collection E378003 is a gentle, elegant way to bring birds into your home without overwhelming the overall look. Try it in your master bedroom with surrounding walls in Resene Double Villa White, trims in Resene Half Villa White and flooring in Resene Half Ash. A delicate cashmere throw in Resene Ebb with a cushion in Resene Coral Tree will help to brighten up the space.

Flying colours

A less literal but equally elegant expression of the look, bird plumage is a trove of inspiration for colour combinations. Resene has created a host of paints that directly pay homage to our natives, among them brown Resene Kiwi, lilac-grey Resene Morepork, bush green Resene Kereru, energetic green Resene Kakapo, rich violet Resene Pukeko, malted beige Resene Fantail and spruce green Resene Kea.

When using paint, specify a pecking order by making one shade your hero and the others its supporters. Megan advises sticking to the interior-design 60:30:10 rule, which states that 60% of the room should be in a dominant colour, 30% in a secondary colour and 10% in an accent.

Consider what you really love and the effect you’re hoping your hues to have. “For some, kingfisher and parakeet colours might be a bit overwhelming to live with; for others they could be fun and cheerful,” says Megan. “Kererū colours can be very restful, while darker tui and blackbird shades look great with New Zealand greens.

Create a relaxing tone with Resene wallpaper

A stylish home office

Room with green wallpaper: For a restful space, try Resene Wallpaper Collection HAN100317010. Pair it with flooring in Resene Half Nomad and surrounding walls, trims and ceiling in Resene White Linen for a refreshing touch. This relaxing tone would also look great on lampshades and vases throughout the room. Add some warmth with bedding in Resene Lichen with cushions and throws in Resene Sante Fe and Resene ReservoirHome office: The North Island Saddleback in this artwork by Emma-Kate (available from Endemic World) sets the colour palette for this stylish home office. Wall in Resene Wishing Well with to coat painted wall feature in Resene Influential (yellow) and Resene Time After Time (blue) over two coats of Resene Magnetic Magic to create a noticeboard capable of holding up strong magnets. Side drawer in Resene Half Tea with vases in Resene Soulful, Resene Cleopatra and Resene Time After Time. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

“Taking your cue from Mother Nature’s combinations is a sure way to get a colour scheme right,” she continues. Riffing of the hues of a kererū feather, she combined clean Resene Permanent Green, serene blue-green Resene Sorrento, charcoal Resene Zeus and off-white Resene Half Merino with oak timber stained with Resene Colorwood Equilibrium to create a colour palette you’d be right at home with. Consider introduced species too and create an earthy palette inspired by a pheasant feather using mink beige Resene Stonewashed, light beige Resene Sisal, redwood brown Resene Hairy Heath and charcoal Resene Bokara Grey with oak timber stained with warm Resene Colorwood Natural.

If you're a magpie for colour, consider a palette lifted from a parakeet feather, using blue-with-a-hint-of-violet Resene True Blue, smoky blue Resene Echo Blue, atmospheric blue Resene Astronaut, warm Resene Hint Of Grey and stone grey Resene Half Chicago, with oak timber stained with a mix of Resene Colorwood Pitch Black and limed white Resene Colorwood Rock Salt.

Blue is a forever favourite embodied in our kingfisher that’d be amazing in an entryway that offers a sense of transformation as you pass through it. Try pastel Resene Kingfisher Blue or lively violet Resene Kingfisher Daisy. Or channel the peacock’s unabashed allure in a bathroom with hints of showy green Resene Niagara.

Top tips

Resene Soulful

Resene Mystery

Resene Artemis

Resene Time After Time

Resene Fast Forward

Resene Influential

Resene Cleopatra

March 28, 2020

Visit your local Resene ColorShop for more colour ideas and all the expert advice and products you need for a superb finish on all your decorating projects.

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