How to... colour block

14 Mar 2016

Colour blocking is exactly what it sounds like – a design technique that groups blocks of colour together. It’s a simple way to not only dress up your walls but also your house exterior, ceilings and furniture.

Colour blocking tips

· When you’re starting out, stick to three colours, which is easier to manage. Also, limit yourself to simple shapes: squares and rectangles.

· For added dimension, you can add white or black lines between each colour, easily created with masking tape. Think Mondrian paintings.

· If you’re colour blocking interior walls, start with one wall of a room or you’ll end up with visual confusion.

· Use colours with the same saturation values, ie either all soft pastels, or all deep clear colours.

· Or, use varying shades of the one colour, like four different blues.

· Or for a more intriguing effect, use colours close to each other on the colour wheel, ie oranges and reds, purples and blues, yellows and oranges. 

· For a subtle take on colour-blocking, try varying the gloss levels and texture. For example, if you use colour-blocking, try varying the gloss levels and texture. For example, if you use Resene Enamacryl gloss next to a Resene SpaceCote Flat, the change in finish will provide the interest. You might then include an anaglypta wallpaper to paint over, for texture in another block. 

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

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Gerald Parsonson of Parsonson Architects gave this Waikanae Beach house a playful and casual feel with colours that relate to the blues and greens of both the built and natural beach environment.

He used Resene Dell, Resene Kaitoke Green, Resene Juniper and Resene Green Meets Blue along with Resene Quarter Spanish White and Resene Surrender (pale grey).

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Making the most of her already panelled kitchen, Karen Kyriakoudis kitchen used Resene Ziggurat (blue), Resene Glamour Puss (paler pink) and then Resene Havoc mixed with Resene Alabaster to inject some colour into the room. 

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To offset the predominantly raw, natural materials of this house designed by Tim Dorrington of DAA, he and homeowners Mark and Susie Easterbrook chose strong, sunny, vibrant colours – Resene Monza (red), Resene Supernova (yellow) and Resene Chilean Fire (orange) for the kitchen.

Says Mark: “This is the ‘active’ part of the house, so we wanted energetic colours. In summer, the house is full of warmth and sunlight, so we wanted colours that brought this through in the colder months as well.”

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If you’re not sure you want to colour block a whole room, try the trend on a smaller scale by with a set of shelves like these, crafted for Good magazine, and using Resene Black White, Resene Citrus, Resene Pelorus and Resene Chelsea Cucumber. 

pictures Photograph by Tony Brownjohn.

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Colour blocking with a twist – this Japanese-style dining area has colourful storage compartments hidden beneath the raised tatami mat floor. The colours are those used elsewhere in the house: Resene Raspberry, Resene Hero (yellow-orange), Resene Morning Glory (aqua) and Resene Grenadier (orange) while the walls are Resene Canterbury Clay.

The dining area is in a house designed by Nathan Edmonston of MOAA Architects for himself and wife Yuki Fukuda.

pictures Photograph by Angela Keoghan, The Picture Garden.

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Colour blocking is just as effective in the garden. This design won the 2014 Lexus Emerging Designs section of the Ellerslie Garden Show for student Jordan Hampson.

The sun-soaked courtyard used Resene Resitex Plastercote with Resene Golden Dream, Resene Geronimo and Resene Mine Shaft in a design that celebrates the client’s Mexican heritage but also embraced the true essence of the New Zealand summer.

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Resene Alabaster

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Resene Black White

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Resene Canterbury Clay

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Resene Chelsea Cucumber

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Resene Chilean Fire

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Resene Glamour Puss

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Resene Golden Dream

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Resene Green Meets Blue

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Resene Grenadier

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Resene Kaitoke Green

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Resene Mine Shaft

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Resene Morning Glory

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Resene Quarter Spanish White

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Resene Raspberry

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Resene Supernova

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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.

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Resene Alabaster

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Resene Black White

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Resene Canterbury Clay

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Resene Chelsea Cucumber

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Resene Chilean Fire

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Resene Glamour Puss

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Resene Golden Dream

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Resene Green Meets Blue

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Resene Grenadier

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Resene Kaitoke Green

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Resene Mine Shaft

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Resene Morning Glory

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Resene Quarter Spanish White

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Resene Raspberry

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Resene Supernova

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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.