Q: Would you consider using a striped wallpaper with a floral fabric? My little girl's room has a yellow-and-white bold stripe on the wall. My mother just gave me lots of a floral fabric with reds, yellows and blues on a white background. Shouldn't I use a solid for her bed?
A: I think the floral fabric sounds just right to create a cheerful girl's room. Think about using the fabric for quilted comforters. For bed skirts, I'd choose solid yellow. Tint the ceiling in white or yellow to match the walls. Paint all furniture white, and then paint alternating knobs red, yellow and blue.
Q: How can I update my boring bathroom?
A: Your bathroom doesn't have to be a bore, not with all the new bath products on the market these days. In bath boutiques and showrooms, you'll find beautiful porcelain hardware, sometimes painted with delicate designs and borders. For those who prefer a more modern look, try bronze hardware or Lucite that is accented with semiprecious stones such as agate and malachite.
But if you want to create a traditional English bathroom, choose classical porcelain hardware. Those who don't care for porcelain should select hardware that doesn't get too lavish, because the traditional look should be understated (unless you're going all-out with the French approach).
I would treat the floor with blue and white ceramic tile in the standard 4-by-4-inch size. (Yellow and white or pink and white tile could also be used.) Use stripes of the tile on the bathtub wall, running horizontally or vertically, in the same blue and white pattern. Using the striped approach also defines the wet area of your extended bath.
In baths off a master bedroom, recessed lighting on the ceiling works best, because glare is not as sharp as surface-mounted fixtures. That way someone can turn on the light while another is asleep.
Those lucky enough to have both a sunken tub and a shower in their bathroom should treat the shower in the traditional manner with standard 4-by-4-inch tiles of beige with vertical stripes of white, blue, pink, yellow or chocolate. Make sure there is a corner shelf in the shower for soap and shampoo, as well as a railing to grasp in case you slip. Put 1-inch, unglazed ceramic tiles on the floor, so the surface will give your feet a little grip.
If you should have a double-sink counter of beige Corian, use chocolate brown bowls with anodized brass or gold-plated hardware. You might consider a sink with a decorative border of entwined jasmine flowers and green leaves with a beige band.
The wallpaper can have a flower motif of white jasmine flowers and green leaves on a beige background. Run the wallpaper up the walls and on the ceiling, and turn your bath into a trellis. Mirror the closet doors, if you have them.
Throughout the area of the bath and on the lower part of the wall, lay 2-by-2-inch unglazed tile in white or beige. But don't let the tile go all the way up: That would give your bathroom the look of a locker room. Put tile in the tub or shower recess but not behind the toilet or on other walls.