Top trending colour schemes and how to use them in your home

Unsure what colour schemes to use in your home? We’ve decoded the trending palettes and how to use them, so you don’t have to

New Zealanders are finally embracing warmer shades, even when it comes to neutrals. All that time spent indoors during lockdown last year has us seeking comfort in earthier shades. Coupled with a greater appreciation of our gardens and a wider respect for the planet, the biggest colour trends this year includes warm terracottas that look beautiful paired with ocean greens or deep blues.

“I put it down to being stuck at home for a couple of months,” says Resene colour consultant Amy Watkins. Try a soft green such as Resene Bud on all four walls – or go for a feature wall or smaller space (such as a bedroom) in a bolder green such as Resene Rivergum or Resene Palm Green, a deep, near-emerald.

Greens look great with the addition of earthy furniture such as rattan bedside tables. Brushed gold fittings suit this scheme, as does light grey in couches and linen. Brown is another colour making a resurgence, as we seek out the comfort of simpler times.

Pastels are also making a comeback. Pink and green is an on-point combination last seen after the war in the 1940s, the revival of which makes sense given the fight the world has on its hands right now. And there’s good news for fans of bright and bold (or people who’ve accumulated a mish-mash of pieces that don’t necessarily fit with our neutral interiors): personal expression is trending. That means yes to vintage, statement and global pieces that reflect our zest for life.

Trending colour schemes, a user’s guide:

A riot of colour

Resene Sante Fe, Resene Machiavelli, Resene Deep Teal. 

The key to this seemingly ad hoc scheme is consistency, advises Amy. “If you want to do big, bold colours in different spaces, they need to connect.” Resene Sante Fe is restful enough to be painted on all four walls yet vivid enough to make an impact. Resene Corvette is a deep purple that looks dramatic in a bedroom. If you are confident enough to choose a vibrant colour for your living spaces, ensure it’s not one you’ll tire of. One way to inject a little colour in the home is to upholster a favourite chair. “If you want to be brave with colour but hesitating, start with something small,” says interior designer and stylist Stacey Gillies. She also suggests toning down bright block colours by introducing them in textiles that feature clashing patterns and prints.


Resene Blue Chalk, Resene Cosmos, Resene Green Apple

If ever there was a colour scheme that signified the impending spring, with its blushes and peaches and romantic lilacs, it’s pastels. “Pastels are a great option for those wanting to be bolder with their colourways,” says Amy.

She advises choosing one pastel and continuing it right through a room, much as you would a neutral. “You don’t want to do three or four colours as they start to compete.” Use white to contrast some of these trending shades: Resene Secrets (pastel green), Resene Spindle (pastel blue) and Resene Designer White (lavender). “Lavender is a unique shade that bounces between a warm and cool palette,” says Amy. “It’s easy to dress up.”

Tip: Lighter coloured woods such as bamboo complement pastel shades, or for an edgier look emphasise the difference with dark hardwood floors or monochrome tiles.


Resene Half Spanish White, Resene Black White, Resene Bastille

Technically this refers to just one colour and it’s generally considered the safest scheme, particularly when on-selling is a priority. But it needn’t be dull.

For example, you might think of that single colour in terms of a gradient, and therefore use a cool white in the main bedroom on the walls, with a charcoal on the headboard; your ensuite might feature charcoal or black tiles. Or you could play with lighter versions of your dominant grey. Soften this look with indoor plants – a bit of greenery will help to enliven the space.


Resene Double Rice Cake, Resene Double Alabaster, Resene Celeste

When adopting the warmer neutrals, opt for soft off-whites with a hint of earthy cream or ochre undertone to give it more warmth. “More people are branching out into beiges and creams,” says Amy. Resene Elderflower is an attractive off-white with a subtle yellow edge to keep it light and bright; and Resene Rice Cake has a hint of green to soften the yellow, suitable for that relaxed coastal vibe. Still keen on a cooler white? Go for the classic Resene Double Alabaster to eliminate the yellow and add a cooler grey base.

Words by: Carrie Bell.

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