Dividing lines: How to create shared spaces using paint

14 Jan 2021

Sharing space can be hard for many of us, but these clever paint ideas will make it easier to create office spaces, study zones - and keep the peace.

Left wall in Resene Raptor, right wall in Resene Leather with triangle in Resene Rolling Stone, pegboard triangle in Resene Emerge, floor in Resene Neutral Bay with circle in Resene Blast Grey metallic paint (left) and Resene Castle Rock with circle in Resene Half Washed Green (right), table in Resene Alabaster (left) and Resene Jaguar (right), stool tops in Resene Rolling Stone (left) and Resene Emerge (right), shelves in Resene Jaguar (left) and Resene Alabaster (right), magazine file in Resene Rolling Stone, organiser in Resene Armadillo, ball ornament and vase in Resene Alabaster and books in Resene Nocturnal (top) and Resene Paris White (bottom). Stools from Kmart.

Fair is fair
When you find yourself in close quarters, even when it’s with people you love, sharing a space like an office, bedroom or playroom is not without its challenges. If space is particularly tight, you could even find yourself having to share a desk space with a partner, sibling or room-mate. To keep your study buddy’s stuff from spilling over to your side, you may need to literally ‘draw the line’ to stake out your territory. Use your favourite Resene hues to decorate your area. Relying on design principles like symmetry and repetition of shapes or motifs will help keep things cohesive while still allowing each of you to express yourself.

Shared interests
One child is crazy for dinosaurs, the other is obsessed with butterflies. When decorating a kids’ bedroom or play space, there is no need to play favourites if you use a cohesive colour palette to tie together two or more seemingly conflicting ideas. Shades of dusty pink and silvery sage blend beautifully on walls. Use fun stencils so you can make sure both kids’ interests are enjoyed in a shared space.

To create the look pictured below: Use your stencil to trace shapes on to paintable wallpaper from the Resene Wallpaper Collection, available at your local Resene ColorShop. Paint them with Resene testpots, cut them out and tack them up to take your wall mural from two to three dimensions.


Left back wall in Resene Pewter, right back wall in Resene Otter with dinosaur mural in Resene Gecko, butterflies in Resene Serene, Resene Half Washed Green, Resene Paris White and Resene Double Sea Fog, floor in Resene Double Sea Fog, door in Resene Middle Earth, table in Resene Sante Fe, stools in Resene Half Washed Green and Resene Middle Earth, bowl in Resene Otter and toy dinosaurs in (from left to right) Resene Permanent Green, Resene Pale Leaf, Resene Half Washed Green and Resene Alabaster. Drawers from Mr and Mrs Ward in Resene Rivergum, rug from Slow Store, table and stools from Mocka, art by Ruth McGill, dinosaur from Republic Home.


Adding a stylishly curved corner to your colour block adds a touch of contemporary flair while echoing the shape of the desktop and the lines of the chair. Walls in Resene Cashmere with curved paint feature in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Nocturnal over two basecoats of Resene FX Magnetic Magic, floor in Resene Half Chicago, desk, shelves, pendant lamp and coat stand in Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel in Resene Nocturnal, bin and picture frame in Resene Rebel, magazine file and pencil cup in Resene Cashmere and painted accessories on shelves in Resene Rebel, Resene Cod Grey, Resene Half Chicago, Resene Swiss Coffee and Resene Nero. Chair from Mood Store, rug from Freedom Furniture.

Full circle
Even something as simple as a painted circle can be all it takes to define and bring character to a corner where you can curl up with a book within the context of a larger shared room.

To get the look, you’ll need a small nail or tack, a length of string (that doesn’t have any stretch to it) and a pencil. Figure out where you want the centre of your circle to be and hammer the nail gently into the wall there. Then, cut a length of string slightly longer than the radius of the circle you’d like to paint. Tie one end of the string to the nail and the other to the pencil, then keep the string taut and the pencil perpendicular to the wall to draw your circle. Remove the nail, patch the hole and sand it smooth. Work slowly and use a high-quality brush to paint a nice clean edge along the inside of your circle, then fill in the rest using a small smooth surface paint roller.

In this reading corner, inspired by classic film noir, layered tones of grey create a sophisticated desaturated look that’s as much a live-in piece of art as it is easy on the eyes. Walls in Resene Half Stack with circle in Resene Silver Chalice, floor and coaster in Resene Silver Chalice, tabletop in Resene Half Friar Grey, vase in Resene Blackjack and bowl in Resene Grey Friars. Chair from Me & My Trend, lamp from Città, console table from Kmart.

Breaking boundaries
When using a block of colour to create a ‘zoned’ area within a larger open plan space, there’s no reason why it can’t eschew traditional boundaries.

Make a stylish statement by bringing your colour block around a corner, on to your floor, over architectural details like architraves or panelling, on to a piece of furniture – or even a combination of all four.


Starting with a base of Resene Ravine on the walls and floor of this living room, this sitting area has been defined with a block of Resene Pumice which both crosses over a corner and pours over onto the floor. Combined with the strong vertical lines of the artwork framed in Resene Duck Egg Blue, the cabinets in Resene Blue Smoke and the coffee tables in Resene Pewter and Resene Harp, it helps to make the room feel taller and more spacious. Vases, bowls and smaller accessories in Resene Yucca, Resene Pewter, Resene Haven, Resene Pumice, Resene Armadillo and Resene Eagle. Sofa and chair from Freedom Furniture, cushions from Città, Shut the Front Door and  Allium Interiors, throw from Allium Interiors, downloadable art from www.etsy.com/shop/noamaart.

Block it out
With more people working remotely than ever before, it’s a smart idea to eke out a corner or nook where you can set up your own home office. Unless you’re lucky enough to have a room to spare, chances are you’re going to have to get creative.

If the area you’ll be taking over is in a multi-purpose room where it wouldn’t make sense to erect new walls, separate it visually from the rest of the space with a block of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to a darker colour than the rest of your walls. Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen works just like a chalkboard –  simply wipe it clean with a damp cloth whenever you want a clean slate. 


Adding a stylishly curved corner to your colour block adds a touch of contemporary flair while echoing the shape of the desktop and the lines of the chair. Walls in Resene Cashmere with curved paint feature in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen tinted to Resene Nocturnal over two basecoats of Resene FX Magnetic Magic, floor in Resene Half Chicago, desk, shelves, pendant lamp and coat stand in Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel in Resene Nocturnal, bin and picture frame in Resene Rebel, magazine file and pencil cup in Resene Cashmere and painted accessories on shelves in Resene Rebel, Resene Cod Grey, Resene Half Chicago, Resene Swiss Coffee and Resene Nero. Chair from Mood Store, rug from Freedom Furniture. Paint Resene FX Magnetic Magic beneath your coloured Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen topcoats and your wall will work both as a chalkboard and a noticeboard capable of holding strong magnets. 

 styling Greer Clayton, Laura Lynn Johnston, Vanessa Nouwens
images Bryce Carleton, Wendy Fenwick

Do you have a home full of wonderful Resene paint and colour? Send us some snaps by emailing [email protected].

the look

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the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.