Q: I am a mother of two boys, ages 5 and 7, and need some decorating advice about room planning. My house has two bedrooms--one used by me and the other shared by the boys. Can you give me some inexpensive decorating advice for the boys' bedroom? I need some practical help, as two boys in the house with their sports equipment and collections strewn about make a lot of busywork for mom. I'd like to make the boys' room interesting.
A: Paint all the walls with flat white paint and the woodwork with a washable semi-gloss enamel. White painted rooms are easy to repaint when touch-up time arrives. At the windows, choose white, inexpensive louver shutters that only need dusting and are very practical for boys--forget curtains and curtain rods that need cleaning.
For the bedspreads, a geometric print of red, yellow, blue and green dinosaurs would be an interesting touch. For lighting, use wall-mounted swing lamps. Select laminate furniture that is stackable. Keep loose lamps off the floor, so they won't be knocked off by a stray football.
Swing-arm lamps can be easily mounted on the walls and are so inexpensive. For boy's sheets, try a sunny yellow, and use yellow towels in the bathrooms. Sunny yellow works so happily with green, blue and red.
Q: The dining room walls in my apartment are covered in a vibrant wine-rose moire. The ceiling is champagne beige. Carpeting is a beige on beige sculpted rug against black ebony floors. There is one large window in the room that I would like to treat. Do you think beige sheers would be too understated for this otherwise dramatic room?
A: Why not carry out the drama of your room with a knock-'em-dead window? Have you ever seen "bishop's sleeves" at windows? They hang on either side of the window, crowned by festooned swag. Choose a luscious champagne velvet for the treatment, and accent them in black velvet.
Q: My husband and I bought a new home about a year ago, and we are ready to decorate the bedroom. We recently bought a watercolor floral bedspread of blue, rose and peach on a pale-green background. We are also going to purchase the valances and/or draperies for our two windows. What should we do with the walls? Our room is 12 by 13 feet.
Although I like the look of wallpaper, I don't want a lot of it. We have two floral oil paintings; the colors in it are blue, rose and peach on a pale grayish green background. The carpeting is a medium taupe. We are going to purchase an oak bedroom set and some polished brass. Also, the windows now have French-vanilla pleated shades that we are willing to change. We would very much appreciate any ideas you might have.
A: Since you are going to purchase the valances and draperies for your two windows, install green and white striped shades under them. Paint your bedroom walls a pale green that will match the background color of your draperies.
Since your room is small, and you have chosen a country floral bedspread, you might want to buy a couple of unfinished furniture pieces. You can paint the pieces soft green to match your bedroom walls and trim them in white. Accessorize with crystal candlestick lamps outfitted with pleated white silk shades.
Q: Will you please give me advice on selecting a color for my living room carpet, sofa, draperies and pillows? The walls are pecan birch, and the room is completely empty. I will have to purchase everything.
Mary J. Austin
A: With your pecan birch walls, consider using summer country colors in your decor. Cover your floor with a rich emerald-green carpeting. Your windows can be treated with a happy print, maybe a floral of daisy yellows, poppy reds, delphinium blue, cosmos pink and emerald greens on a soft-turquoise background. Upholster your sofa in the turquoise blue, and cover your club chairs in a print to match your draperies; the print should be quilted. For throw cushions on the sofa, try poppy red and daisy yellow.