Question: I will soon be moving to a condo with my two teen-agers. The living area is small and open. It has one natural light source, a slider at one end of the room.
How do I create a sense of areas--office, living, dining, etc.? I like Shaker and modern furnishings, and I'm not afraid to use color.
Answer: In your living area, mirror the wall to the left of your corner fireplace. The mirror will reflect the light coming from the sliding window, and your room will appear to have two large windows, one to the left and one to the right of your fireplace.
At your windows, hang light sheer draperies on white poles with white rings. Paint your living room walls a bright jonquil yellow; paint the trim white. On your kitchen walls, use a print of yellow and orange flowers with green leaves on a white background.
For your flooring, stencil 18-inch Shaker-style square blocks on the wood surface (dark-walnut squares on a bleached wood might be a good choice).
A pair of wing chairs, upholstered in a rich tangy orange, yellow and white stripe, should flank your fireplace. The upholstery on your sofa should be practical, a rich-green woven fabric would be my selection. Place a table with Shaker dining chairs directly outside your kitchen area. Chair cushions could be jonquil-yellow vinyl.
Q: I have inherited beautiful walnut chairs, a table and breakfront for my dining room. There is also a beige rug. What colors would you suggest for the walls, curtains and chair coverings?
A: Paint your walls pumpkin and the trim white. Hang a pumpkin fabric roller shade at your window. Cover the seats of your dining chairs with champagne-beige and pumpkin tweed fabric. Fill your breakfront with china in an ivy-green and white pattern. Hang a valance over your windows of a rich stripe of pumpkin, ivy green, creamy white and burgundy.
Q: How can I decorate with blue?
A: Color me blue. Color me periwinkle, sky, royal, navy, azure, peacock, turquoise, baby and delphinium.
Although my decorating style can hardly be called neutral, I do appreciate muted tones when they are used in the right context. And of all the neutral shades, sky blue is my favorite. It works with almost any color or scheme.
So consider painting a room soft sky blue (light blue with just a hint of green). Hang draperies of bright-red and orange poppy flowers entwined with green leaves on a white background.
On the floor, lay a carpet of vivid emerald green. Use the poppy print on the upholstery, and accent the sofas with throw cushions of green, white and poppy red. Place poppy-red vase lamps on a pair of end tables.
Sky blue goes with brown and yellow, too. Why not cover your walls in a sky-blue, yellow and white plaid? Cover the floor with a rich sable-brown rug. Your sofa can be upholstered in an aqua-blue tweed, accented with toss cushions of a yellow, white and sky-blue mix.
Bright-yellow club chairs would add a cheery note. So would a pair of brass lamps on a pair of walnut end tables.
Sky blue with red and lavender?
Find a wall covering striped sky blue and white. For flooring, lay 18-inch black and white squares on the diagonal. The drapery should be made of a handsome print featuring shades of lavender, red and green on a white background.
Chintz fabrics look best when they have white grounds. For your sofa, choose an upholstery of vivid-green tweed, accented with lavender throw cushions. Pictures with white frames and bright-red mats will add an extra sparkle. Small touches such as lamps, pictures, planters, accessories and chandeliers are what really make a room come to life.
And for the serious sky-blue enthusiast, consider painting the ceiling that color. You won't be disappointed!