How to create the ideal outdoor entertaining space for the cooler months

There’s nothing like a good indoor/outdoor flow to give your home a sense of scale, space and freedom. But it can get tricky when the chilly, wet and windy weather strikes. A damp, cold outdoor seating area isn’t going to be very inviting on a cold day or evening.

Based on the Danish concept of hygge, which describes a blissful state of cosiness, here are some simple ways to transform your outdoor living areas so they’re usable all year round:

  • Like moths to the flame nothing draws us outside, whatever the temperature, than inviting light. Approach your outdoor lighting similarly to how you would indoors. Some will be functional to make sure people don’t trip or bump into things – or allow you to read, elsewhere it might be ambient to create intimate spaces and some lighting might be purely to surprise and delight, like quirky strings of fairy lights or sculptural torch stakes lit by either candles or soft bulbs.
  • Heat and light go hand in hand when it comes to luring people outdoors to gather in cooler weather. A good outdoor fire, whether it’s via a built-in fireplace, or – safety permitting – a fire pit, lends a gentle flickering light to night-time gatherings as well as essential heat, and even cooking facilities, even if it’s just to melt a few marshmallows with the kids.

    Plants, natural wood tones, and soft furnishings and textured walls add warmth at any time of the year. The back wall in Resene Aspiring with paint effect in Resene FX Paint Effects medium coloured in Resene Moon Mist. The right wall, breeze blocks and vase are in Resene Moon Mist. The bench seat is Resene Aspiring while the table and large plant pot are Resene Teak. The tray is Resene Flax and the small plant pot is Resene Siam. The deck is Resene Woodsman Uluru. Project by Vanessa Nouwens and photography by Wendy Fenwick.

  • Add a ‘winter layer’ to your outdoor space. Soft furnishings such as cushions, bean bags and throws add an essential layer of comfort and, of course, warmth. The upholstery on your outdoor furniture will need to be weatherproof unless you’re able and willing to pack it away when not in use, but you can add another layer of comfort with softer plush fabrics that are simpler to store. Think dark pinks, blues and greens, with accents in bronze or deep gold.
  • Adding colour is a great way to freshen up your outdoor spaces over winter. Use Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel or Resene Enamacryl gloss waterborne enamel to recoat it in a new colour. If your new colour is on the dark side, choose a Resene CoolColour version of your paint to keep the surface cooler once summer returns.
  • For shelter from the elements, pergolas or moveable wooden screens make great protection. They can also be stained or painted to suit the cooler climes and the rest of your decor. Most Resene testpots are made with Resene Lumbersider, designed to be durable for outdoor use without the need for a clear coat.

When it comes to choosing colours for winter, there are so many options to choose from. Classic darker greys paired with white and evergreen plants work all year round. Stained wood features using the Resene Woodsman range for outdoors allow you to keep the appealing and comforting features of natural wood grain, while allowing you to complement your decor colour choices.

For a warmer wood finish for example, instead of a whitewash think about Resene Woodsman Tiri or Resene Woodsman Driftwood keep things natural and will work if you want to switch out your furnishings for brighter shades when summer rolls back around.

It’s tempting to think only dark wall or screen colours will create inviting winter spaces, lighter shades add a bright, airiness than can be just as appealing as the days get shorter and greyer. You can still bring a layer of warmth into the space with accent furniture or plant pots in warmer tones such as Resene New Denim Blue or Resene Pohutukawa. It’s much simpler and cost effective to swap out colours on small furnishings and fittings instead of doing a full colour change between seasons!

If you have lighter, summer-toned neutral exterior walls in shades like Resene Alabaster or Resene Emerge, try warm accents such as Resene Permanent Green, Resene Red Berry or Resene Bondi Blue.

It’s easier to go bolder and darker with your colour choices on these smaller, moveable features, which will bring an immediate cosiness to your small space. Try a screen or divider in Resene Blue Night or Resene Indian Ink then hang it with fairy lights to mimic the clear night sky. For desert-themed visual warmth try graduated brick tones in Resene Shabby Chic, Resene Just Dance, and Resene Sunbaked.

For extra assistance, ask a Resene expert at your local Resene ColorShop, submit a query online at or book a Resene colour consultation, Then use Resene testpots or A4 drawdown paint swatches to trial your colour choices at home in all lights.

How to create warm minimalist spaces for winter

More or less characterised by its foundational maxim ‘less is more’, minimalism’s reach extends into all manner of realms: architecture, art, furniture, interior design… even low-impact lifestyles.

The virtues of clean lines, utility and physical and mental breathing space combine to create simple elegant spaces.

In a minimalist interior, the absence of unnecessary bits and pieces can really make the heart grow fonder, and it’s a look often associated with white on white. But how do you make that work in winter when you want more ‘comfortable and calming’ than ‘cold and clinical’?

Try these expert tips for creating warm minimalist spaces for winter:

  • The ultimate in pared back, with clear connotations of cleanliness, white is the cornerstone of classic minimalist décor schemes, and hallmark hues such as grey-based Resene Black White are a pleasingly cool prospect in the height of summer. What to do in cool climates, south-facing spaces or those with little natural light? Opt for a white with warm undertones instead – it’ll achieve the effect you’re after without seeming stark.

  • There are many variations of white, from popular Resene paints such as Resene Rice Cake, with a warm, yellow bbase, or a crossover white, such as those with a green base that reads warm or cool according to factors such as the light and other colours in the room; serene Resene Half Thorndon Cream, pale bone Resene Half Titania, limed stone Resene Quarter Ash and creamy off-white Resene Cararra all fall into this category. You could also select a white with neutral undertones, such as umber white Resene Wan White. You’ll find these paints and more minimalist contenders in the Resene Whites & Neutrals fandeck. For extra assistance, ask a Resene expert at your local Resene ColorShop.

  • Another tip for creating minimal spaces, is to use single shades in smaller rooms, such as the bathroom. Bathe your bathroom walls in a colour like Resene Cornflower, dialling up the interest and heat with mosaic tiles and aged-brass highlights. A tonal palette also creates a minimalist effect; get this look by selecting a base shade, then hues lighter and darker than it, such as warm French beige Resene Canterbury Clay and its Half, Quarter and Eighth counterparts.
  • The trick when taking a more colourful tack with paint is to reduce your fittings, fixtures, furniture and frivolities to a bare – you guessed it – minimum. Anything you do introduce into a minimalist space should be visually cohesive.
  • Wallpaper is another understated way to add texture. Check out the Resene Anaglypta 2020 Wallpaper Collection, which offers a striking arrange of tactile options you can paint with your preferred Resene colour.

    Textured wallpaper is a way to add a feeling of calm and comfort to a minimal room. This neutral pattern of Resene Wallpaper Collection 219423 has a fibrous texture and textured painted wall on the bottom half of this wall, create the look with Resene FX Paint Effects medium coloured with Resene Moon Mist. Add extra comfort and positive feelings to the room by adding touches of pinks try Resene Soother and Resene Just Dance. Photo Aspiring Walls

  • Incorporate furniture, soft furnishings and decorative objects in textural materials, such as on-trend bouclé, velvet, wool, linen and ceramics; blond timber also works well with white for a Scandinavian vibe. Avoid introducing prints and patterns unless they’re graphic, uncomplicated and the hero of the room – a striking large-scale artwork, for instance.

  • Move away from the cold glass, angular forms and straight lines of too-cool-for-school minimalism and embrace organic shapes and simple furniture that’s also inviting and comfortable. Items that do double duty can be helpful in reducing everyday excess – stools that are both seating and side tables; a lidded coffee table or ottoman you can stash stuff in; built-in storage below a window seat; a bedside table with built-in electrical jacks so your wall can stay plug-free; or a ledge behind your bed that’s both headboard and shelf, eliminating the need for a nightstand. Visit op shops for pieces you can customise with paint. Resene testpots make upcyling second-hand finds from chairs to lamps inexpensive and easy to achieve as a fun weekend creative project.

For extra assistance, ask a Resene expert at your local Resene ColorShop, submit a query online at or book a Resene colour consultation, Then use Resene testpots or A4 drawdown paint swatches to trial your colour choices at home in all lights.