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December 08, 1990|CARLETON VARNEY

Question: I want a very modern look for my living room. The floor is white ceramic tile, and the walls are white too. The ceiling has one large skylight and two smaller ones. There are windows on three of the walls, so the room gets lots of light. What do you think of black-leather upholstery and a lipstick-red rug?

Dorothy Sanders

Answer: While I like black, red and white together, I feel it was a formula overused in the modern settings. Why not play up the light, airy quality of your room with lucid, pastel colors of aqua, lavender and white? Instead of lipstick red, place a white-on-white textured rug on the floor. All of the seating can be the palest shade of lavender accented by aqua Turkish corner pillows. Seating should be armless and sleek.

Q: What is your advice for preparing for the holidays?

Betty Ditmar

A: With Christmas just around the corner, it's time to start cleaning the silver and polishing the glasses. That harried season will be here before you know it, so here's a simple checklist of things to do before the goose is placed on that shimmering candle-lit table.

What is the state of your dining room walls? Do they need repainting? Can you find a pretty new wallpaper that will make the walls and the season more jolly? You might consider painting your walls a rich peach color and the ceiling a soft cream beige. A wallpaper border of peach and green garlands entwined with peach ribbon would be the crowning touch.

Do any of your carpets need to be cleaned or replaced? Now is the time to get the job done. A bright, clean carpet will light up your whole room, especially if it's a dashing color such as emerald green or fire-engine red. Other great color picks are forest green, delphinium blue, scarlet red and daffodil yellow.

Now it's time to examine window treatments. To give your dining room a lift for the holiday, install a frilly swag and jabot treatment in the windows. A pink and apple-green flowered print on a royal-blue background would work particularly well here. Lined in apple green, the curtains will look smashing against walls of pink. Frame the windows with louver shutters; this classic window treatment is always in style.

Let's get to the center of attention--the dining table. Perhaps you'll need new white organdy place mats and napkins to give your table new life. Or perhaps you're counting on new glassware, such as pink stemware or aqua-blue water glasses, to add that festive touch.

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