You're primed and ready to paint, and have the perfect shade in mind… but your partner has different ideas. So how do you settle on the perfect colour for your next DIY project?
From on-trend hues to classics, understated neutrals to bolds and brights, Resene has thousands of colours to choose from, which is great when it comes to having an amazing array of options to suit any project, but can also lead to some serious debate if you and those you live with don't quite see eye to eye when it comes to colour choices.
If you find yourself in this scenario, your first stop should be a Resene ColorShop, for a colour consultation with a Resene Colour Expert.
"Resene offers virtual, instore and at-home colour consultations," says Resene expert Rebecca Long. "A Resene Colour Expert will be able to take both of your ideas and put together a colour schedule that will suit you both and your home."
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
While we live in a very colourful world, men and women are still typically attracted to different colours, which can prove difficult when choosing colour schemes for interiors. One way to balance an interior for couples is to choose a two-colour scheme.
'Masculine' colours tend to lean towards dark, heavy hues such as greys, charcoal, blacks and browns. When you mix in elements such as steel, leather, dark wood, wool, stripes and plaids, you begin to create a space that's usually thought of as masculine.
Feminine colours are usually softer and lighter: pastels and pale colours, muted dove blues and greens, and soft metallics and pearlescents. Match those with florals, pretty prints and softer textures, and you have what society would call a 'feminine' room.
But a darker, masculine colour such as charcoal or navy can be combined with feminine accents to balance the design.
Take dark inky charcoals, warm chocolates, battleship greys and army greens for wall colourings to create a masculine base and add feminine touches with duck egg blues, warm caramels, soft creams or dusky pink accents.
Think a deep blackened brown such as Resene Kilimanjaro (a deep blackened brown), accented with Resene Coral Tree (a dusky coral red), Resene Cougar (a feline taupe) and Resene Eighth Thorndon Cream (neutral white with a hint of green). Or try Resene Baltic Sea (dark charcoal) with accents of Resene Hermitage (a stony blue green), Resene Gunsmoke (warm grey) and Resene Alabaster (near white).
A good way to create a scheme that merges the two looks together is to use a masculine colour for the walls, such as Resene Kilimanjaro, a neutral colour for trims and ceilings, like Resene Eighth Thorndon Cream, bedlinen or furniture in Resene Cougar, with cushions and accents in Resene Coral Tree.
Like it or lose it
When you’re trying to narrow down options and just can’t agree, try playing the ‘like it least’ game. Each person gets a turn to remove the colour they like least. While you may not end up with your favourite colour this way, you won’t get stuck with your least favourite. If you’re at a stalemate on colour decisions, this may be the best method to get strong willed people to agree on a middle ground.
This is another great way to balance masculine and feminine styles, says interior designer Robyn Mickleson of The Design Depot.
"Men may not like a floral pattern, for example, but a stitched bedspread with a hint of texture in it will help to break up a masculine feel, and therefore it feels a lot softer."
Strong primaries, geometric patterns and the use of vertical and horizontal lines instantly impart a masculine feel, but the occasional curvy piece added in will soften the look. Furniture with rounded edges (thought of as feminine) will help break up the hard lines. For example, a rounded coffee table or ottoman can be brought into a living room; in a bedroom round or oval mirrors may do the trick.
Conversely, the more curves in a room the more feminine it will feel. Make it more masculine by replacing some of your pieces with straight, hard-edged ones.
Regular, symmetrical lines make a room look more masculine, whereas asymmetrical designs lean towards femininity. Display collections and pictures in asymmetrical or random groupings to break up an otherwise orderly, masculine looking room.
Subtle accents can work either way: a throw rug, accessories or paintings (large-scale ones for a masculine feel and small ones for a feminine touch) can help balance rooms that lean towards a particular gender.
Just add charcoal
Robyn also suggests adding in colours and accents that are crisp and somewhat elegant but not overly polished or 'pretty'. A palette of charcoal – typically a masculine hue – and crisp whites – which appeal to both tastes – can look quite edgy. Metallic furniture can add a touch of elegance as well as a slight industrial feel.
"A client I am working with has Resene Oilskin (a complex brown with a green edge) running through their living areas, so the colours in the master room tie in with that. We did a feature wall with a dark charcoal wallpaper which has a metallic pattern through it, so it has a little elegance to it as well as masculinity. The rest of the walls are reasonably light neutral white, and a nice embossed white linen adds a crisp look and slight feminine touch with the dark charcoal."
Popular charcoals include Resene Double Mondo, Resene Double Masala and Resene Tuna. Which one you choose depends on the job and what else is happening in the room.
"You tend to see a lot of people go for the warm brown bases because they prefer a warmer feel, though grey-blue bases can look effective too. Resene Double Masala, for example, has a nice warm undertone to it, like an olive-brown undertone, whereas a hue like Resene Double Tuna is very blue. It has quite a cool feel," says Robyn.
Get the blues (and greys)
When it comes to choosing paint, consider the space and how it feels. If it's a dark southern room that feels cold, then why not be bold and go with a dark rich warm colour on the walls and create a moody snug room. Lighten with soft bedding and cushion accents in warm shades of colour.
Softer 'masculine' greys include Resene Eighth Masala, Resene Delta and Resene Quarter Tapa.
"All these colours and more along those charcoal grey lines work well in masculine type settings and sit nicely with the industrial finishes of concrete, steel and recycled timbers. Use of colour in features can look stunning in these types of settings and can be a real showstopper," says Robyn.
A warmer grey can be used with more feminine colours to create a modern, slightly feminine environment, though this can also work with inky blues, such as Resene Paua.
"Resene Paua is more of a masculine look, though it depends how you use it," says Robyn. "If you combine it with a lot of white and steel – your industrial look – it could look quite contemporary. But you could get away with that in a master bedroom with white lace too. You can twist it both ways. You can do that masculine sort of look or you can do that feminine look and it would be quite edgy either way."
When blending masculine and feminine styles, interesting colour palettes and textures, including painted anaglypta wallpapers, can help to marry the two different taste aesthetics. Often the more masculine colours are ideal for walls whereas the softer tones are good for accents. Bold versus soft can work together very well in a colour scheme and can help to balance a room in general.
"We are seeing a lot of people open to quite bold colours now. A lot of people who come to us doing renovations really just want to give their home a new lease of life. That real contrast can look quite smart and quite balanced," says Robyn.
Rebecca suggests thinking beyond just your Resene paint colours. "Choose a Resene wallpaper that's fun and conversational. With the trend to wild style and tropical designs, there are plenty of Resene wallpaper designs that combine dark and broody colours with softer colours to appeal to a wide range of tastes."
Keep it neutral
Rebecca suggests "if mixing and matching masculine and feminine styles isn't your thing, another option is simply to keep things neutral, gender neutral, that is – with shades that sit in the middle of the spectrum of the sexes, and have universal appeal”.
Some of the most popular 'gender neutral' Resene hues at the moment include Resene Peace (a soft pastoral green), Resene Biscotti (an elegant biscuit beige), Resene Truffle (a soft, warm light beige), Resene Lemon Grass (a smoky grey-green) and Resene Duck Egg Blue (a pale shell blue).
Again, Resene has you covered, with literally thousands of neutral hues on offer.
This article was created for Resene.