Question: The wallpaper in my bedroom has a small-scale provincial print design with a peach background and light-green highlights. The draperies are made of a country print of springtime flowers on a peach background; the bedspread is made of the same floral print, and the headboard is also upholstered in that fabric.
At present, the carpeting is olive-green, but I would like to replace it. I'm considering carpeting with a tan-peach tone. Would that be overdoing the peach?
Answer: I think a peach carpet would be pretty, but, to anchor the room, make it a tone darker than the walls and draperies. (Be sure, however, that the carpet isn't so dark that it borders on rust.) If you choose a low-pile carpeting, you might want to accent it with a throw rug.
Q: Do you have any suggestions for slipcovers? We have a white sofa and love seat in a contemporary log home. The carpet is brown. I don't know where to even look for slipcovers, or what kind of choices would be available.
A: With your brown carpeting, accent the seating pieces with yellow, sky-blue and tangerine throw pillows. If you want to slipcover the white sofas, choose a yellow and white stripe.
Q: We have just moved into a new home, where the bathroom fixtures are yellow, and the floor is a ceramic tile of yellow and white. I'm not sure how to coordinate the paper. I was thinking of going with a dark hunter-green, at least for the curtains. Do you have any additional ideas?
A: If you use hunter-green curtains, trim them with a soft-pink and yellow braid. Find a wallpaper that features garden flowers of soft yellow, pink, soft blue and white on a hunter-green background. There are many papers with hunter-green backgrounds on the market.
Q: How can I make my kitchen more inviting for my guests?
A: Did you ever notice that when you go to an informal party in someone's home, the kitchen is the first room to fill up? I've been to gatherings where the living and dining rooms were practically barren, while the kitchen was standing room only.
It's really not so surprising. At parties, people often feel self-conscious, not knowing what to do or say. The fact that the kitchen is inherently functional makes it both the most vital and the most casual room in the house, so it makes sense that most of us feel comfortable there.
In everyday life too, the kitchen is the natural place to congregate. Dining rooms may be used for holidays and special occasions, but the kitchen is where most American meals take place.
So don't neglect the kitchen when decorating your home. It's a great place to display family treasures--attractive collections of jars, crockery, cast-iron pots and pans. If you're lucky enough to have a kitchen with exposed wooden beams on the ceiling, use them as a place to dry flowers such as goldenrod and herbs such as dill, thyme and rosemary. And for extra homespun appeal, hang a few baskets from those beams.
When planning your kitchen space, see if you can place a banquette, an upholstered bench, at a window area and decorate it with colorful throw pillows. You'll provide another lovely spot for your family and your guests to sit. Arrange your dining table so that it pulls up in front of the window seat, so the seating can be used for window dining.
Of course, when planning kitchen design, one must be practical. Your kitchen floors can be of a hard pine, coated with polyurethane for protection. Treat counter surfaces with the new Corian or laminate coverings. Laminates come in wonderful colors, and they can really pull the whole room together.