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Minimalism, but make it warm for winter

From the Resene decorating blog

More or less characterised by its foundational maxim ‘Less is more’, minimalism’s reach extends into all manner of realms: architecture, art, furniture, interior design... even low-impact lifestyles.

In all areas, the aesthetic preaches the virtues of utility, clean lines, quality over quantity, physical and mental breathing space, and elegance plain and simple. In a minimalist interior, the absence of unnecessary bits and pieces can really make the heart grow fonder, and it’s a look often associated with white on white. But how do you make that work in winter when you want more ‘comfortable and calming’ than ‘cold and clinical’? Read on...

A warm minimalsit space

Add warmth and cosiness to a minimal space by layering white tones and pairing with natural materials such as rattan, cotton and hessian.

Wall and architrave of this living room painted in Resene Black White, chequered floor pattern in Resene Black White and Resene Triple Black White, coffee table in Resene Westar, shelf in Resene Black White, large basket (with plant) in Resene Double Sea Fog, woven pendant lamp in Resene Despacito, large bowl in Resene Gumboot and Resene Salt Pan, geometric plant pots in Resene Salt Pan and Resene Quarter Chicago and ombre plant pot on the shelf in Resene Celeste (top), Resene Terrain (middle) and Resene Cobblestone (bottom). Project by Annick Larkin, image by Bryce Carleton. Sofa and cushions from Contempa, jute pouf from Mocka.

A cosy and warm minimalist lounge

This minimal room feels cosy thanks to the warm yellow tones of Resene Spanish White painted on the top half of this wall paired with Resene Canterbury Clay on the lower half and Resene Brown Sugar on the dado batten.

Cabinet and brown circular ornament painted in Resene Brown Sugar, coffee table in Resene Putty, tall vase in Resene Calico and Resene Canterbury Clay, large bowl painted in Resene FX Faux Rust Effect and shapely vase in Resene Wood Bark. Artwork is Harvest Bunch by Kirsten Katz. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

All whitey then

The ultimate in pared back, with clear connotations of cleanliness, white is the cornerstone of classic minimalist décor schemes, and hallmark hues such as grey-based Resene Black White are a pleasingly cool prospect in the height of summer. What to do in cool climates, south-facing spaces or those with little natural light? Opt for a white with warm undertones instead – it’ll achieve the effect you’re after without seeming stark.

Popular Resene paints with a warm, yellow base include sharp white Resene Rice Cake, fleecy white Resene Half Bianca, quiet white Resene Quarter Albescent White, bleached off-white Resene Eighth Fossil, dusty beige Resene Eighth Parchment and milky beige Resene Eighth Tea. Crossover whites are those with a green base that reads warm or cool according to factors such as the light and other colours in the room; serene Resene Half Thorndon Cream, pale bone Resene Half Titania, limed stone Resene Quarter Ash and creamy off-white Resene Cararra all fall into this category. You could also select a white with neutral undertones, such as umber white Resene Wan White.

You’ll find these paints and more minimalist contenders in the Resene Whites & Neutrals collection. For extra assistance, ask a Resene expert at your local Resene ColorShop, submit a query online or book a Resene colour consultation. Then use Resene testpots or A4 drawdown paint swatches to trial your colour choices at home in all lights.

A minimalist bedroom with textured wallpaper

Textured wallpaper is a way to add a feeling of calm and comfort to a minimal room.

This neutral pattern of Resene Wallpaper Collection 219423 has a fibrous texture. Create visual texture on the lower half of walls with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Moon Mist. Add extra comfort and positive feelings to the room by adding touches of pinks try Resene Soothe and Resene Just Dance.

A peaceful blue bedroom

Bring about peaceful slumber with Resene Bismark, the main colour in this bedroom. Its tone-on-tone look lends an intimate feel.

Battens painted in Resene Ziggurat, side wall in Resene Cut Glass, outside and legs of drawers in Resene Norwester and drawers in Resene Ziggurat, Resene Ming and Resene Botticelli. Duvet, pillowcases and cushion from Adairs, artwork from Etsy/themiddlevillage, faux succulent plant from The Warehouse, book from The Warehouse, blanket from H&M Home. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Single status

Even for an aesthetic that knows its limits, you’re limiting yourself if you think white’s the be all and end all. In fact, minimalism in its purest form is actually about a monochromatic palette, and that could mean any colour you like. Bathe your bathroom in a single shade of sunset pink, say, to turn a colour like Resene Cornflower away from cute towards truly chic, dialling up the interest and heat with mosaic tiles and aged-brass highlights. A tonal palette also creates a minimalist effect; get this look by selecting a base shade, then hues lighter and darker than it, such as warm French beige Resene Canterbury Clay and its Half, Quarter and Eighth counterparts.

The trick when taking a more colourful tack with paint is to reduce your fittings, fixtures, furniture and frivolities to a bare – you guessed it – minimum. Anything you do introduce into a minimalist space should be visually cohesive.

A touch of texture

Texture’s your next tool for making a minimalist colour scheme more welcoming. You can create it in a literal sense by going for a matte rather than a gloss paint finish; the less glossy, the less light is reflected, resulting in a cosier feel. Tint Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen to your preferred colour – its durability makes it ideal for living areas, and wet areas such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Wallpaper is another understated way to add texture. Check out the Resene Anaglypta 2020 Wallpaper Collection, which offers a striking arrange of tactile options you can paint with your preferred Resene colour.

Incorporate furniture, soft furnishings and decorative objects in textural materials, such as on-trend bouclé, velvet, wool, linen and ceramics; blond timber also works well with white for a Scandinavian vibe. Avoid introducing prints and patterns unless they’re graphic, uncomplicated and the hero of the room – a striking large-scale artwork, for instance.

Minimum clutter, maximum effectiveness

Think streamlined not empty, peaceful but personality-plus by taking a thoughtful yet practical approach to your décor. Champion pieces that tick both the form and function boxes, favouring those that are meaningful to you to avoid this aesthetic feeling impersonal. When arranging, pay attention to balance and the spaces between things – whether furniture or objects on a shelf, you’re aiming to usher out clutter and in a sense of serenity.

Move away from the cold glass, angular forms and straight lines of too-cool-for-school minimalism and embrace organic shapes and simple furniture that’s also inviting and comfortable. Items that do double duty can be helpful in reducing everyday excess – stools that are both seating and side tables; a lidded coffee table or ottoman you can stash stuff in; built-in storage below a window seat; a bedside table with built-in electrical jacks so your wall can stay plug-free; or a ledge behind your bed that’s both headboard and shelf, eliminating the need for a nightstand. Visit op shops for pieces you can customise with paint. Resene testpots make upcycling second-hand finds from chairs to lamps inexpensive and easy to achieve as a fun weekend creative project.

Speaking of lamps, lighting is crucial to a minimalist interior feeling warm when it’s cold outside. Combine overhead, wall, table and floor lighting with candles to add a golden glow.

Two top tips

  1. Start slowly by room by room, clearing surfaces as you go and seeing how it feels to live with less. If you love the effect, sell or give away your surplus – then you can enjoy the best bit: selecting fresh paint to really bring the look to life.

  2. Living with only the essentials will ease your environmental conscience, and you can take it a step further by using Resene Environmental Choice-approved products, returning your unused paint and packaging to the Resene PaintWise recycling programme, and hiring a Resene Eco-Decorator from the nationwide directory of environmentally responsible contractors committed to sustainable practices.

Resene Just Dance

May 31, 2021

Visit your local Resene ColorShop for expert advice and all the products and accessories you need to make the most of your home.

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