DECORATING ADVICE / CARLETON VARNEY : Tiny, Dark Bedroom Needs to See the Light

Question: I need help with my son’s room; it has caused me so much trouble. First of all, it has only one window, so it is dark. It is also small, 10-by-12 feet, and all but one of the walls is chopped up with something. The carpet is a nice caramel color.

He has a trunk bed set that can also be used with a nice dresser, but we need more storage for toys and games. He already has a toy box and shelves in the end of his closet. He loves to play cowboys and Indians, so I was thinking of wallpaper or a border in that motif.

He also could use a desk. My house has a country look, and I would like to carry it through this room also. His bedspread is a plaid of red, caramel, blue and green on white, and the walls are new white. The curtains are caramel color.


Jennifer Miller

Answer: Your son’s room is small, and it will not be easy to organize everything you want in that space. You might want to purchase a storage unit that contains a chest, desk and bookshelf in one piece. Or, maybe a desk could be placed at the head of a trunk bed and double as a headboard. The desk could hold a lamp for study and bedtime reading.

To bring more light to the room, install track lighting above one wall. Cover that same wall with tack board, so that it can be covered with banners, posters, school reports, and so forth. Your bedspread sounds colorful, and I would pick up one of those colors in the cowboy and Indian wall covering. At the window, hang a red roller window shade, edged in bright green.

Q: My apartment is an old building, and it is showing sings of old age and neglect. The bathroom is my major concern. The bottom half of the walls are covered with white tile. The top half of the walls are made of ugly blue plaster that needs repair. I’d like to cover them with wall covering that is waterproof, steam proof and inexpensive. What do you suggest?

Susan Joes

A: Paper the walls with a lemon-yellow textured vinyl wall covering. It could have a linen look, a striae look or a stucco look. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for installation.

A vinyl shower curtain with a black and white wide stripe would bring a modern look. At the window, use white wood louver shutters or a white metal slat Venetian shade. For the floor, select a black bathroom carpet. Black ceramic accessories would give the bathroom a sleek, updated look.

Q: What different little things can I do to bring a bit of spring into my house?

Barbara Dietrich

A: Now is the perfect season to bring a bit of springtime indoors.

A leaf-patterned wall covering will lend a fresh, out-of-doors look to your home without sacrificing warmth. Combine this with a coordinating fabric for curtains and upholstery, and you’ve got a winning decoration scheme.

This season look for leaf designs combined with stripes and trellises in bright new springtime fabrics. They come in a variety of color schemes.

In the library of a home, I am currently using a leaf design for the wall covering and fabric. The oak- and acorn-leaf pattern contains several shades of rust, so it has a subtle, textured look.

The draperies will have the same oak-leaf pattern and colors as the walls. The accent pillows on a sleeper sofa will don this pattern also, but in shades of green. With cream-colored carpeting and walnut wood furnishings, the library will be most inviting.

I have always enjoyed using leaf patterns in my decor, and sometimes I carry the leaf motif right up the walls and onto the ceiling. In my own bedroom, I have a garland of leaves painted around the room as a border trim above soft-yellow walls. Trimmings like this can be stenciled, freely painted, or they can be a wallpaper border. Think leaves when you begin decorating again. They are good for all seasons.