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Tonal Triumphs

If your current downtime reading finds you poring over paint brochures trying to find that elusive complementary colour scheme that will match and not clash, then make it easy on yourself, and on the eye, by thinking tonal hues. Going tonal not only makes rooms appear larger and more defined, but keeping it in the same family palette lessens the margins for error.



One way to achieve this is through the Monochromatic Scheme. Start by choosing your base colour – a colour you love and wish to predominate in your theme. Next, select your lighter and darker variations of your base colour, which might be used as an accent wall, trims, or accessorising accents. The rule of thumb is to have at least two hues off the base colour, but it’s important to ensure they’re different enough to give contrast and interest; think pale blue, sky blue and navy.

The Analogous Scheme delivers a monochromatic look, but has a bit more pizazz. Composed of groups of three colours next to each other on the colour wheel (irrespective of which end you’re working from), such as red, red-orange and orange, or violet, red-violet and red, for instance; when these neighbouring harmonious hues come together in a room, expect to be enchanted by the stunning transformation.

As with the Monochromatic Scheme, choose your dominating hue, then your supporting hue, and finally your accent hue (along with hints of black, white or grey – for a stroke of analogous genius!).


The ultimate wall-dressing

Once upon a time four walls painted Spanish White was the beige and boring norm in many a Kiwi home. We were terrified to express ourselves. Hallelujah for the 21st century then and the mighty sea of change that has swept away timidity, along with those abysmally bland Spanish White walls!




All the rage, once again, is wallpaper, but not as you remember it. Today’s wallpaper is beyond belief in terms of imagination and design, but the ultimate wall-dressing is the uber-chic mural wallpaper.

If your passion’s a Monet or Michelangelo, if you’re besotted with Botticelli or devoted to Da Vinci, these can be yours. What about a nightscape of New York, a lavender field in Provence, or an enchanting Tuscany vineyard?

There are kitchen murals, bathroom murals, children’s murals, and if you’ve long hankered for a view of heaven, check out the ceiling murals – trompe l’oeil at its most magnifique!


Cement to be

It’s edgy, industrial and proving to be an enduring design element in the home – the concrete trend is bringing New York luxe into everyday homes.




It might not seem like an obvious choice for your home, but the grey stone is not to be ignored as interior design trends continue to focus on natural materials rather than just colours and textures. From concrete sinks to cement tiles, there’s a huge influx of concrete accessories for the home that can bring a subtle yet sophisticated edge to your interior. Why not add concrete accessories for a striking aesthetic appeal or go bold with concrete walls or floors?

Concrete floors may seem like a daring option, but they are a natural choice and work well in an open space. You can emphasise the industrial style with design elements such a steel and wood, or you can use textiles like velvet furniture to add a soft, luxurious feel to your abode.


Open Source

Kitchen cupboards starting to look worn or dated? Here’s a novel idea: throw them away!



The spaces within our sanctuaries have gone from minimalist to maximalist in the past few months and, with it the need to pretend there is no ‘stuff’ has gone out the window. Inspired by hotel and retail spaces, open shelving is adding to the bold statements we are seeking to make in our homes.

That doesn’t mean we need to put all the clutter on display. Much like styling throw pillows on a couch, there’s quite an art to styling your open cabinets. Start with a palette determined by existing colour schemes then take the opportunity to be creative with the decorative process by adding boxes, jars, draped plants and other items.

Neutral palettes are always a great place to start. White dishes, wooden cutting boards and creamy or clear canisters provide a base that is easy to switch around for special occasions or when you get bored.

Art is an easy way to bring colour and personality to your open shelves. Glass storage jars of varying sizes and heights add both form and function. If in doubt, Pinterest and Instagram are a prime store of inspiration.

Combine cook books and kitchen items. Books can be neatly arranged horizontally or vertically. Top stacks with small objects and then throw in larger items, such as vases, for variety. Finally, open shelving is a blank canvas for careful and curated arrangements that give visitors an insight into you and your family, so make it yours!

Simple but effective, open shelving allows you to add a touch of your own personality or store extra ingredients. It also comes with a level of accountability – with nowhere to hide mess, keeping the space tidy is a must and it does mean you should probably eschew that old chipped dinnerware.


Get it white

The days might be getting darker as we make the seasonal shift to the cooler months, but that doesn’t mean our homes need to follow suit. In fact a clean, serene white interior might just be the antidote to the winter blues.



White may seem to be a safe choice in comparison to bold colours, but it brings an understated look that can make a big impact when styled right. The beauty of white is also its ability to be regularly restyled with ease. So how do you ‘get it white’ when it comes to incorporating this fresh favourite into the home?

Firstly choose your tone by deciding whether your white will have a grey or blue undertone, or a more yellow tint to it. Cooler tones will give the room a serene Scandi-style, while warmer tones will provide a warmer, rustic ambience.

White interiors are easy to apply to your kitchen and can maximise your space. A great way to style it in the kitchen is to pair it with indoor greenery which is a trend that has exploded in popularity. Your bedroom is another room where the all-white look can be applied.

However, you want it to be serene without it feeling like you’re sleeping in a hospital bed. To avoid this, throw in some neutral tones such as beige and cream. This paired-back look is perfect for creating an effortlessly stylish space.


Blue Beauty

It’s the colour of a summer ocean and an expansive sky. The art world’s love of this inky, energetic cobalt blue is well-documented. And they’re not alone! Rich, deep and inviting, cobalt blue is the new power player of the homewares sphere. With its electric charge and ability to instantaneously uplift, the right hue of blue is as bold as it is beautiful.




This colour is lighter than its more formal cousin navy, but has a deeper richness than cheery sky blue. Its name derives from cobalt salt mixing with aluminium oxide – creating a fathomless beauty. Its undertones can range from grey to purple.

Throughout history, dating back 3,000 years, it has been used for porcelain, tiles and glass – and was then devoured creatively by many an artist such as Monet, Renoir, Matisse and Van Gough. Ceramics and surroundings through to artworks and interior homewares have instant impact with cool, emotive cobalt blue. And it can look quite French.

The sultry shade is in love with velvet – from cushions to couches and with delicious deep buttoning. It can have a metallic quality, so shimmer with a metallic cobalt vase or bowl against a light-wood coffee table. Copper brings out cobalt’s warmth. Gold elevates it to regal status.

The colour joins other moody dark hues in interiors this season, as primary colours are set aside for now. Even in lighting or kitchen splashbacks, this deep and decadent shade will lift a dull day. It is essentially a cool colour, but its brilliance creates warmth against a grey day.

It looks almost princely mixed with the new obsession – the shade of mustard. Mixed with terracotta, it emits the exotic of byzantine era and the bazaars of Eastern Mediterranean. Paired with green, it is nature in its finest combination. The rich colour is balanced and incredibly striking against the contrast of the palest dusky pink.

If you decide on a cobalt couch, light pastel cushions and throws will soften the depth. Whether it’s a lightning bolt of this shade from a treasured collection, or painting the walls cobalt, to relaxing under a midnight sky, its jewel-like qualities are heavenly indulgence.




Cue the curves

Anyone can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of rounded corners. Curves are said to be easier on the eye and take less cognitive effort to visually process. When American architect Philip Johnson first visited the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, it is said that he described it as “the greatest building of our time” and started to cry.




Johnson said, “Architecture is not about words; it’s about tears”. Something about the museum’s majestic curves moved him at an emotional level, and many visitors must have had a similar feeling as the building was hailed as a ‘signal moment in the architectural culture’.

There’s no denying that curves are eye-catching, and one of the biggest transformations taking place in interior design trends for 2019 is just that – curves. We are seeing scalloped edges, crescent silhouettes and graceful curved corners taking over both furniture and accessories in the home.

People are growing tired of square and rectangular furniture with straight, clean lines and are now moving towards round shaped furniture. From rounded chairs to curved coffee tables, these interior design essentials are all about comfort and elegance. These shapes may resemble furnishings from previous decades like the swinging sixties, but this returning trend brings an inviting softness to our rooms.

To reflect the trend in your own home, look to everything from curved sofas and coffee tables, to mirrors, lamps and side tables. Even curved artwork can add softness to a room and create a more inviting and relaxing abode.


A Colourful Crusade

Colour is a complex phenomenon and theories about its effect on our minds and emotions range across the scientific and artistic realms. On the other hand, all it takes is a paintbrush and a pot of fresh paint to understand the powerful ability of colour to dramatically transform a space.




Which makes the Dulux Colour Awards one of the pinnacle events of the year, showcasing both the latest trends in colour and just what is possible in the realm of colour. A record-breaking 435 projects from New Zealand and Australian design professionals were entered in this year’s awards, with 114 finalists who displayed exceptional and inventive use of colour in built environments across both commercial and residential spaces making the final cut. Finalists were chosen across six categories: Commercial Interior: Public and Hospitality; Commercial Interior: Workplace and Retail; Commercial and Multi-Residential Exterior; Residential Interior; Single Residential Exterior; and Student.

Locally, the Rangiora RSA by Andrea Robertson Design is a finalist for the Commercial and Multi Residential Exterior, along with seven other New Zealand projects. “Architects and designers have really set a new precedent with their masterful and innovative employment of colour to create unexpected, lively, playful and refined interior and exterior spaces,” Dulux Colour Specialist Davina Harper says. Moody reds and maroon have emerged as dominant colours in retail and commercial interiors, paired with unexpected tones such as peach and clay in the form of accent walls, stairwells, doors and trims. Deep shades of blue were a popular choice in residential interiors – from azure through to dark navy – seen in cabinetry and trims through to feature walls.

Meanwhile, greens ranging from soft sage to emerald have lost none of their appeal adding sophistication, character and a sense of quiet luxury.“ There has been a shift away from greys and cooler neutrals which have dominated interiors in previous years, with nature-based warm hues, such as beiges, terracotta and caramels coming to the fore,” Davina says. “Classic all black and all white remains popular, particularly in residential exteriors – they are shades being used to contrast against red brick or being layered to create a modern textured and tonal look.“We were also impressed with this year’s student entries, which delivered brave and unique colour concepts and applications.”

The 33rd Dulux Colour Awards finalists will now be judged by a panel of leading figures in the design industry, with all category winners (excluding the Student category and Australian entrants), having the chance of taking home the New Zealand Grand Prix title and NZD $5,000. Australian entrants will have the chance of taking home the Australian Grand Prix title and AUS $5,000.Winners of the 33rd Dulux Colour Awards will be announced at a gala event at the National Gallery of Victoria on 8 May 2019.

For more information on the Dulux Colour Awards, visit


Purple Reign

Life can feel chaotic right? So, when it comes to creating the perfect abode, it’s no surprise that people want to simplify their homes and interiors to create a space of calm and comfort.




The colour purple is known to evoke a sense of calm, and if done right, it can be a distinguishing colour in your home. Interior colour schemes that include lavender, plum, violet and greyish-purple have become a perennial favourite in interior design trends – and now homeowners are catching on. Whether you’re looking for regal elegance, or seeking a subdued shade, purple tones can be beautifully infused into your home. Trying new paint colours is a practical and creative solution that can dramatically change the way rooms look and feel.

However, bold colours that are far from neutral can sometimes be hard to process. If you’re wanting to add purple into your interior, small steps like adding artwork, decorative vases or even flowers will help you acquire the taste to see if it’s right for your home. Purple hues can be paired with fresh white tones and brown upholstery fabric to create a pleasant and romantic interior design; or to tone down the purple haze, you can also mix it with other colours such as indigo blue, gold or silver, as well as neutrals. For the bold and the brave who want to take big steps – choose bright and sharp colours like citrus yellow and emerald green to pair with purple for a dramatic statement that will turn heads in your home.