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Reds and plums to enrich your home

From the Resene decorating blog

Epoch, mulberry and cherry – enriching, romantic hues don’t get much better than this.

These plums and brown-reds are taking the interior limelight with their deep, reassuring tones. As the prevalence of feel-good colours continues, these hues provide us with even more ways to create a calm, restorative and protective sanctuary in our homes.

A muted violet dining area

Muted violet and dusky mauve resonate to create an intimate, sophisticated dining area with an art deco feel.

Back wall in Resene RSVP (left) and Memory Lane (right), left wall in Resene Noir, floor in Resene Elderflower with geometric pattern in Resene Black and table in Resene Blackjack. Chair and vase from Backhouse, table/stool from BoConcept, artworks by Milly Watson from Endemic World. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

A wine red and pale pink bedroom

Deep, wine-like reds are balanced by the softest, palest pink in this soothing bedroom, finished with layers of luxurious textiles.

The walls are in Resene Pohutukawa and Resene Dust Storm (circle), the floor is in Resene Double Rice Cake, the bedside table is in Resene Sakura. Cushions, throw and pendant light from Adairs, artwork from The Warehouse, velvet round cushion from Shut The Front Door, quilt cover from Kmart. Project by Vanessa Nouwens and image by Melanie Jenkins.

It’s a reminder of how a simple choice in paint colour can significantly impact the atmosphere of our homes and how we feel when we’re in them.

You’ll find fine examples of these luxurious tones in violet-tinged Resene Memory Lane or red-based Resene RSVP, fruity Resene Plum or the dignified Resene Fandango. If you dare to go darker, opt for evocative and moody Resene Lip Service, the red wine-like Resene Vanquish or the elegant Resene Mulberry.

For the perfect partner, pair with softer shades such as the pale lilac of Resene Poet or the darker Resene Deluge with creamy taupes in Resene Half Joss or Resene Serene. They also look elevated next to warm whites, try Resene Elderflower, giving clarity and freshness. Other on-trend combinations include Resene Blackjack, the red undertones of Resene Pohutukawa or the dusky blue of Resene Memory Lane.

For the ultimate in sultry sophistication, make darker, more moody statements with partners in russet-tinged Resene Felix, earthy Resene Avant Garde or the strong taupe of Resene Kabul. Accents in Resene Finch's grey-green, the soft brick of Resene Crail, the pastel mauve of Resene Wonderland or the soft Resene Coral Tree will complete the setting.

Colour blocking is one way to incorporate multiple tones from this colour family, picking three of your favourites. The rich red of Resene Arthouse, the plum violet of Resene Pompadour and the lighter muted mauve of Resene Strikemaster resonate well. Or try the bright magenta of Resene Rouge, followed by the brown mauve of Resene I Do. If not on a wall, bring these together on a set of drawers, alternating one colour per drawer. A background wall in the pale beige of Resene Swirl will set the scheme.

A sumptuous red and lilac moodboard

Pair rich, sumptuous red with lilac and creamy grey for a palette that resonates and impresses.

The background is in Resene Pohutukawa with accessories in Resene Memory Lane (mid purple, bowl), Resene Time After Time (blue) and Resene Sixth Sense (dusky purple). Project by Leigh Stockton, image by Bryce Carleton.

A soothing pink study area

Bring soothing pinks – pale, dark and earthy – into your study area to help inspire creative thoughts.

The wall is in Resene Just Dance, the return wall is in Resene Smoulder, the floor is in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, the large rounded vase is in Resene Shilo, the tall carafe vase is in Resene King Tide, the small ribbed vase is in Resene Cleopatra, the pencil cup is in Resene Shilo with Resene King Tide painted feature, the magazine holder is in Resene Shilo with Resene Smoulder painted feature. Desk, chair, rug, basket from Freedom Furniture, cushion from Nood, rug and throw from Kmart, artwork by Alice Berry from Endemic World. Project by Laura Lynn Johnston, image by Bryce Carleton.

A dado in a hallway or bathroom will accommodate these sumptuous colours, with immediate impact and warmth. The result is deep and moody, yet restful – ideal for a living room or a reading nook. If you have an open-plan living area with panelling or varying vertical surfaces, this is a chance to apply a tone-on-tone approach, moving from dark to light hues.

Play around with the sense of cosiness, and stop your colour a quarter of a metre below the ceiling. Combine this with a warm, neutral such as Resene Quarter Napa above it, giving the room a heightened sense of protection and warmth.

These plum colours illustrate how the nuances of colour are being celebrated and encouraged. Not quite pink, nor red, these in-between shades continue to come to the forefront. Resene colour consultant Jackie Nicholls says that in the past, red tones were very straight forward and strong, but this has evolved in a positive way. “Now we are seeing them as undertones with twists of grape, coffee and charcoal,” she says. “These more complex and hazy shades are much softer and more timeless, making them easier to blend with other colours and finishes. They link well with earthy elements, plants and patterned fabrics, pulling a whole scheme together, adding richness and depth. They sit nicely as feature colours with contemporary whites or to accent a dining area or snug adding drama and style.”

“If you are feeling bold, try Resene Virtuoso, a moody plum that looks amazing with crisp white and the green of plants. Alternatively, layer with other interesting tones like Resene Chocolate Lounge and Resene French Grey, all linked together with grape undertones.”

Resene Merlot, which is a softer velvet red and Resene Wolverine, warm and interesting, will make the coldest room lovely to be in. Both are perfect for a reading room or nestled behind some wooden shelving. For a stylish dark accent with subtle plum undertones, try Resene Half Bokara Grey. This would be stunning as a bedroom feature wall or behind a TV with Resene White Pointer as the main colour.”

Used as an accent colour, this can have an equally regal impact on a home. A front door or even simply the skirting boards can be painted in a rich plum to pair beautifully with chalky creamy grey-whites such as Resene Black White on the walls. The result is a serene setting of pale walls, anchored by rich, sophisticated colour.

Other ways you can inject personality next to brown-reds are with teal and peach accents. A stool or wooden chair painted in the turquoise blue of Resene Guru or the deep water blue of Resene Blumine will inject new life into your scheme. The sunset rose of Resene Sunbaked and Resene Cleopatra become features in their own right when applied to bedside tables or mirror frames against walls in deep plum.

Combine these plums and mulberry paints with an Arts and Crafts-style wallpaper from the Resene Wallpaper Collection. Pick out a plum or red from your wallpaper and find its equivalent in a Resene colour chart. Apply it to the architraves and doorways in the room that features the Resene wallpaper for a harmonious blend of patterned paper and plain paint. To elevate the scheme even more, paint your wooden furniture in a colour that is complementary to the wallpaper and paint. Wallpaper and paint can both work together to enhance each other, their junction of colour and pattern add vibrancy and creativity to an interior.

These rich hues will suit any room in the home, be it a bathroom, living area or bedroom, bringing a rich elegance to anything from a feature wall to all four walls. They steer us further towards a renewed focus on warm tones of saturated colour, providing cosy and dramatic spaces. When our lives are busy, these luxurious and welcoming rooms simply become havens that we crave to be in, retreats in which to relax. Long may these regal hues continue to reign.


Resene Elderflower

Resene Sixth Sense

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

Resene Just Dance

Resene Memory Lane

Resene Time After Time

Resene Virtuoso

Resene RSVP

Resene King Tide

Resene Noir

Resene Cleopatra

Resene Sunbaked

Resene Smoulder

March 29, 2023

Get more purple decorating project ideas from other home decorators and red decorating project ideas. Then visit your local Resene ColorShop for all the products and expert advice you need for your decorating projects.

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