DECORATING ADVICE : Floral Tile Provides Contrast to White Bath

Question: How should I tile my bathroom? The fixtures are white and the floor is white tile. I have to tile the shower area, and I’d like to use a pattern tile to get away from all the white. It is a modern bath, and I think it could stand some dramatic contrast.

Gale Norris

Answer: If it’s contrast you want, then go with a bright floral tile in the bath area. Use a pattern of bright red poppies with green leaves on a white background. Use the floral tile as a border near the ceiling line and tile the remaining walls white. For towels, choose bright red trimmed in white.

Q: I would like to liven and lighten up my dark-walnut paneled den. The room is a high traffic area with many doors and two floor-to-ceiling picture windows. The floor is covered in terra-cotta wall-to-wall carpeting. Two love seats are covered in a beige and brown tweed. I also have a brown leather chair with chrome trim and a white Formica built-in table with chairs of chrome and brown leather. The end tables are wood and glass. I also need ideas on window treatment. In our hot climate, the picture windows let a lot of heat in.


Martha Cooper

A: Wood paneling is usually a sure way to darken a room. I am all for giving it a whitewash of paint. Then, cover the love seats in a tropical print of sea-green, turquoise and yellow with a touch of salmon--all on an off-white background. At the window, consider placing Roman shades of a green and yellow fabric with sun shades in white under them.

Q: What can you suggest to add to the Southwest look?

Cyndra Colin


A: For many people, the look of the old Southwest is a quiet look, characterized by earthenware pottery and rooms painted in delicious shades of pink and aqua blue. But there’s more to it than that.

The old Southwest has a rugged side, and terra cotta, as a color for walls, lampshades and accessories, is an important feature of this look. Real terra-cotta tile floors make a room truly Navajo, and an Indian throw rug or two will bring just enough warmth and color.

Antique Indian rugs in rich beige, rust, purple and red add a lot of character to a room with a Western motif. The rugs can be used on floors, hung on walls, or you can even create throw pillows from Indian rug remnants.

That’s what a friend of mine did. For next to nothing, he purchased some old Indian rugs at an auction. To most people, the rugs probably wouldn’t have looked usable, but my friend, who is super-creative, cleaned and then cut them to make throw pillows. They were magnificent.

When shopping for the look of the Southwest, think about twig furnishings, such as twig-framed settees and chairs, preferably with rust seats.

Check out all those beautiful new Santa Fe wall coverings in combinations such as camel, rust and pink. A wallpaper scheme of russet with blue, purple and red will have all the warmth of a Western sunset. And if you are truly a Southwestern enthusiast, a Georgia O’Keeffe print on the wall over the fireplace will pull the look together.