DECORATING ADVICE : Use Tile Diagonally for a New Slant


Question: We live in a 24-year-old ranch house, and I’m getting ready to decorate our living room. It is 20-by-17 feet, with a raised double-door entry covered with tile.

The draperies need to be replaced. The front wall and side wall have pine wood siding. The other walls are painted beige and are very heavily textured. The room is very dark. The carpet and entry tile need to be replaced. We have a dark-wood upright piano, a walnut wine rack, two teak end tables, a round coffee table and a one-piece semicircular sofa that needs to be re-covered. There is also a fireplace.

We have four small children, and we want the room to be casual. The living room opens to the family room, where we’ve installed a whitewashed oak floor.

Cathi Walker


Answer: Why not cover your raised floor with beige and white tiles, either ceramic or vinyl, laid on the diagonal? If you chose ceramic tile, use bright-green grouting with it. For carpeting, select a bright-green and dark-green tweed-like design. A sectional sofa upholstered in a royal-blue, dark-green, red, white and soft-yellow plaid would be stylish and practical. At your window, hang soft-yellow linen draperies, edged in red. Accent your sofa with a combination of red, green and yellow toss cushions. Accessorize your fireplace with brass andirons. Any occasional chairs and ottomans should be upholstered in bright red.

Q: How can I make my guest room more inviting?

Jennifer Parkson

A: The holidays are the time to get your guest room in order for visitors. When sparkling up your guest room, take a tip from a great hostess I know: Spend a night and a day in your own guest room. Look out for the following:


* Are your beds comfortable, or do you need new mattresses? You’ll find out if you sleep in the guest room one night. Before you drop into dreamland, inspect the sheets, blankets, duvet covers and, most importantly, check out the pillows. They should be plump and full.

* Does your guest room have pretty walls, covered in a cheerful color? Pink, peach, soft yellow and aqua blue are my favorite colors for guest rooms, as they are bright, and delightful to wake up to.

* Does the night table have room for a magazine, a reading lamp, eyeglasses, etc.? A clean, polished night table with a drawer and a place for a small flower vase is ideal.

* How are the floors in your guest room? Are they cleaned, polished and accented with a soft rug? It’s important that bare feet have something warm and soft to step onto first thing in the morning. A soft scatter rug works nicely.


* Don’t forget the closet! Does it have ample room and empty hangers? Just recently I was in a guest room where I had to hang my suit jacket over the owner’s dress. I’m glad I only stayed one night.

* Bath accessories are also a must. Big, fluffy towels, a bottle of shampoo, fresh soap and a tissue box are all necessary if you want your guests to be comfortable.