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A study in contrast

From the Resene colour inspiration – latest looks gallery

Decorating with complementary colours can be a challenging look to pull off, but when everything comes together, the results are memorable.

The key is finding the right tones that work together – instead of competing with one another – and then working in a mix of darker and lighter shades.

Project photo Mood board
Mood board Lounge
Mood board: Background in Resene Alabaster, large bowl and tealight in Resene Bluetooth, small bowl in Resene Japonica and A4 drawdown paint swatches in (from top) Resene Noir, Resene Bluetooth, Resene Jailbreak and Resene Wishing Well. View accessory list...

In this space, the sofa and the pendant lamp, vase, dish and small retro nesting table in Resene Wishing Well provide high contrast with the Resene Bluetooth walls and Resene Jailbreak console while the small bowl in Resene Japonica brings in a softer orange to balance out the look and play off tones in the artwork. Neutral floors in Resene Alabaster lighten things up and keep the bold tones from becoming overpowering while the floor rug adds another layer of visual texture.

Other colours that look great with high-octane orange are pewters, deep slates or midnight blues - try Resene Artemis, Resene Fast Forward or Resene Twilight Zone.

Hall table

Paint: Walls: Resene Bluetooth. Floor: Resene Alabaster. Hall table (behind sofa): Resene Jailbreak. Pendant lamp: Resene Wishing Well. Large tall vase (with tiger lilies): Resene Wishing Well. Small bowl: Resene Bluetooth. Flat bowl: Resene Wishing Well. Small coffee table: Resene Wishing Well. Large coffee table: Resene Bluetooth. Round bowl (on coffee table): Resene Japonica. Small cork tealight holder: Resene Bluetooth. Hexagon pattern vase painted: Resene Jailbreak. Hooks painted (in hallway setting): Resene Wishing Well, Resene Noir and Resene Japonica.

Accessories: Hugo Corner Sofa in Petrol Blue Velvet from Me and My Trend. Orange velvet rectangle cushion, teal small square cushion and orange velvet square cushion, orange core flat shoes all from H&M. ‘Girl with Parrot’ art print by Dada22 from Pop Motif. Akram Floor Rug from Freedom Furniture. Freya side plate in white, Be Bold book (on coffee table) from Shut the Front Door. Speckled coffee mug, Navy suede bag (in hallway setting), Ribbed Rug (in hallway setting) from Kmart. Sunglasses and scarf, stylist own.

Resene Bluetooth

Resene Jailbreak

Resene Noir

Other colours that look great with high-octane orange...

Resene Artemis

Resene Fast Forward

Resene Twilight Zone

Styled by Vanessa Nouwen. Images by Melanie Jenkins, Flash Studios. 2019

Colour inspiration gallery

Get inspired with colour and the latest decorating and colour trends! Select just the right look and mood for your space.

View more colour inspiration articles


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Decorating with a single colour.

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