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How to evoke the palette of nature in your home

From the Resene decorating blog

What better way to evoke a peaceful, retreat-like environment at home than with the colours of nature?

A dark forest green teen study with a palm tree mural

Dark walls give this teenager’s study an element of drama, while the green colour – resembling the shade of a lush forest – ensures it is a calm and reflective place to be. Combined with the palm tree mural, this workspace is a nature-inspired dream. Wall painted in Resene Olive Green with hand-painted palm tree in Resene Celeste, floor in Resene Spanish White, shelves in Resene Olive Green, desk in Resene Element, chair in Resene Fawn Green, pencil cup in Resene Olive Green, small round bud vase in Resene Olive Grey, tiny bud vase in Resene Celeste, painted books in Resene Vis Vis, Resene Celeste and Resene Fawn Green, magnets in Resene Vis Vis, Resene Celeste Resene Fawn Green, headphones in Resene Element, rubbish bin in Resene Element and small round bud vase (on shelf) in Resene Element. Desk lamp from Citta, magnetic noteboard from IKEA. Project by Melle van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

The soothing tones of nature came to the forefront when the global pandemic made itself known to us. Suddenly, we were met with the uncertainty of worldwide change and a sense of instability. The result was us spending more time working and socialising at home. Many of us considered how we could make our environments better for our families and ourselves. Not only does creating a retreat at home make us feel good, it provides a sense of security when things are out of our control.

With paint being an accessible means to achieve a change in our interiors – compared with a complete renovation – this is an easy solution. And what better way to evoke a peaceful, retreat-like environment at home than with the colours of nature?

Sunset blushes, tranquil greens and earthy browns – nature-inspired hues bring a new lease of life to our homes and the freshness that we experience being outdoors. They allow us to zone in on those attributes that we thrive on in nature, such as peace, tranquillity and restoration.

Use these nature inspired tones to evoke a sense of calm and peace in your dwelling. Take the motivation from your natural surroundings when contemplating a new paint colour for your home; seek out the soothing tones of the sun lowering in the sky, the grounding colours of rich browns and refreshing green shades that invigorate and stimulate.

Let’s start with blush. Subtle salmon, gentle nude or soft-shell tones, these pinks are not your sugary sweet types, but more your barely there, understated and soothing shades.

Versatile, they’re uplifting and warm enough to use in south-facing rooms, yet neutral and gentle enough to paint the walls of sunny north-facing rooms.

“The appeal of blush colours is that they evoke the feeling of warmth and comfort, inviting you into the home,” Resene colour consultant Amy Watkins says. “Blush is a soft colourway that you can immerse yourself into. For example, paint the whole room in the one colour, more so than the cooler colour tones of the blues and the purples.”

“With blush tones, you’ve got light blushes such Resene White Linen and Resene Soothe. Both are bright, warm and inviting. Then you start going into bolder colour shades of terracotta, such as the popular Resene Wafer and Resene Sante Fe. Both could be used to paint a whole room as they’re not too dark.”

Blush colours with ochre undertones don’t have a true yellow base, but more of a muddier yellow,” she says. “This holds appeal because yellow can be too intense for a lot of people, whereas ochre tends to make the colour softer and more inviting. With blush tones you have the flexibility to pair them with warmer paint colours as well introduce cooler tones. Pair blushes with rich colourways and cooler tones such as dusty blue and sage green.”

“One aspect you need to be careful of with a blush colour is testing it out in your room,” Amy says. “Because blushes are a complex colour palette made up of at least two-colour hues, they can vary colour wise greatly within the room. It’s important to paint A2 large cards using Resene testpots then place them on the walls to trial the undertones in your space.”

A tonal soft green lounge

A tonal approach to soft green brings a refreshing energy to this lounge. The terracotta couch adds a layer of warmth, while the curved lines of the furniture soften the space visually.

Back wall painted in Resene Robin Egg Blue, Resene Half Robin Egg Blue, Resene Quarter Robin Egg Blue and Resene Smoky Green, left wall in Resene Quarter Robin Egg Blue, floor in Resene Half Robin Egg Blue, vases in Resene Smoky Green (left) and Resene Quarter Robin Egg Blue. Sofa, coffee table and Eames bird from Nood, pendant lamp, candleholders and tapers from Good Form, striped circle cushions and rug from Freedom. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

A green cottage style dining room

A gentle green covers the wall in this dining space, providing a fuss-free backdrop so the checkered floor can take the limelight. The space blends the past and present with a traditional cottage feel, but its playful approach using pops of red lends a contemporary feel.

Checkered floor pattern painted in Resene Dingley and Resene Quarter Spanish White, wall and seat in Resene Pale Leaf, table in Resene Fahrenheit, chair in Resene Eighth Spanish White, larger vase in Resene Spanish White and smaller vase in Resene Apple Blossom. Market basket, tea towels, linen napkins, throw from Blackbird Goods, striped pillowcase and tablecloth from Foxtrot Linen, card (used as wall art) from Garden Objects, plates and glasses from Città. Project by Gem Adams, image by Wendy Fenwick.

When it comes to accessorising, finish off with shiny metallic items such as light fittings that are dimmable for the right ambience.

Emerald, sage or shades of grass greens help create an inviting and welcoming space, which is important. After all, home is where we should relax and feel our most at peace.

“If bringing green into your home, you can start by going with sage green or head into a warmer version with slightly ochre undertones,” Amy says. “Popular choices are Resene Coriander, Resene Aspiring or Resene Zen.”

“When it comes to partners, usually these colours go with deep green, almost emerald, tones. It’s more common to go tonal when using green, as opposed to bringing in a contrasting colourway. Green is one colourway made of a few different undertones so to keep colour consistent keep within the colourway, doing variations of the tonal spectrum. The same rule applies if you’re choosing a white to go with green – go off-white with a green edge, such as Resene Eighth Thorndon Cream.”

For the ultimate chic combination, pair your green with a coral or dusky pink in playful stripe or a statement piece of furniture for a dynamic space.

An earthy terracotta bedroom

Bring your space down to earth – literally – with a terracotta base topped with layers of sunset hues and soft pinks. The result is restful and warming.

Walls painted in Resene Wild West with Resene FX Paint Effects Medium mixed with Resene Sante Fe, floor in Resene Sante Fe, taller plinth in Resene Triple Merino, shorter plinth in Resene Merino and smaller vase in Resene Sand. Bedlinen from Foxtrot Home. Project by Gem Adams, image by Wendy Fenwick.

A refreshing green and orange interior

By bringing the outside in with your colours you’ll create a feeling of a retreat when you step inside.

Crisp white is a clean partner for the deep green on this striped wall, and with pops of luscious orange the result is invigorating and refreshing. Floor painted in Resene Rice Cake, base of wall and skirting in Resene Clover, dado rail trim in Resene Chenin, stripes in Resene Clover and Resene Rice Cake, small side table in Resene Chenin, cabinet in Resene Smoke Tree, large tall vase with lemon branches in Resene Chenin, candle stick holder in Resene Dingley, pink vase in Resene Paper Doll and bowl on books in Resene Green Leaf. Volute candle from Superette, chair from Danske Mobler. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick/Flash Studios.

Cosy up your home with shades of earthy brown, creating a toasty cocoon which you’ll want to nestle into. Tan, taupe or chocolate are all variations of colours found in landscapes that bring depth and richness to a room.

“Go light and bright with earthy browns, pairing with colours such as Resene Parchment or Resene Sandcastle, or stronger with Resene Navarone,” Amy says. “Or go dark in bedroom or formal living room/dining room areas, bringing in something with more spice such as Resene Irish Coffee. Such colours are stronger and deeper but because they’re in a sitting area its ok as it creates a warm cocoon and a vibe.”

“Earthy browns provide the flexibility not to be dictated to by one colourway. You could pair brown with berry, a dstrong orange, mustard tones, sage greens and coastal blue. Just make sure you use a colour that is of the same depth and is lighter or darker than your main wall colour.”

Embrace the natural imperfections of wooden furniture, bring in organic rattan, wool or linen to layer up textures. Your painted walls, flooring and furniture will provide a stylish base upon which to add opulent layers of softness in cushions, throws and curtains.

While the rainbow of decorating colours available to us these days are endless, there’s something so alluring about the pure simplicity of nature’s hues and their natural beauty. Their timelessness and the emotional peace they bring is what ultimately resonates with us and will no doubt continue to do so.

July 11, 2021

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