Question: Several years ago we bought a 20-year-old "fixer-upper." Everything except the master bedroom is in good shape now. In the bedroom, we will keep the Drexel medium-dark distressed-wood bedroom set, which includes a queen-size bed with a headboard, two night stands, a man's chest of drawers and a triple dresser.
The walls are papered blue, a color I dislike. I have pictures of my children--from infants to brides--on the wall. The custom-made bedspread, which I must keep, has beige, brown and a touch of black. It was designed to go with three African animal prints, which are now in my son's house. Please give me ideas for the window treatments, carpet and wall colors.
Answer: Although I'm sure that your family photos and custom-made quilt bring a lot of life to your bedroom, a beige, brown and black spread on a medium-dark distressed-wood bed sounds a bit dreary. Spark it up with a bed skirt of rich, tangy melon. Enliven your walls with a happy wall covering of soft green and white vines on a melon-colored background; hopefully the pattern will have a dash of yellow.
For the windows, find yellow curtains, trimmed in melon, and a valance in a print that matches your wall covering. Paint your bedroom ceiling soft melon, and paint your trim with a white semi-gloss enamel. Accent your bedspread with beige pillows, piped in yellow, and brown cushions, piped in melon.
Q: The bath off my master bedroom is small but adequate. There is no tub, only a shower. Because the fixtures must be repaired, the walls will be completely stripped to the studs. I'd like to change the basin to a corner unit with a medicine cabinet above. There is a small upright wood cabinet. The towel bars are oak. I have white vertical blinds at the one window. Please give me ideas for the tile, floor and wall colors.
A: For your small bathroom, your corner unit with a medicine cabinet is a good idea. For the floor, use yellow and white four-inch-square tiles and lay them on the diagonal. A white border tile would also be attractive. Use the same yellow tile in your shower. Your base tile and the cap tile in your shower can be white. Select a wall covering you like, maybe a print of poppy red with green and yellow on a white background. Leave the white vertical blinds at your windows, and accent your oak towel bars with poppy red and chartreuse towels. A poppy-red shower curtain would be the perfect final touch.
Q: I love blue and white. Can it work throughout my home?
A: Just about every nation in the world has a blue and white decorating motif. Portuguese and Spanish decors are often centered on their blue and white pottery and floor tiles. The Chinese love blue and white Cantonware jars and tableware. And the classic look of navy and white has always appealed to Americans. If you are a blue and white lover, here are three schemes that might suit your fancy:
For a blue and white kitchen, paint the walls a rich skipper blue or cover them in a washable wall covering. For contrast, paint the beams and cabinets white, and then paint the ceiling surface between the beams light blue. On white-painted chairs, place blue and white plaid or windowpane-check cushions. Use that same fabric for the curtains and hang them on white poles with white rings. For flooring, select a rich terra-cotta Mexican tile, one that is washed and sealed for durability and easy care. Accessorize by hanging blue and white platters--willoware perhaps--on your walls.
Create a modern blue and white dining room by covering the dado with a rich white semi-gloss enamel and the walls above the chair rail with wide blue and white stripes. Then paint the ceiling a rich navy or skipper blue. On a whitewashed floor, place a glass-top table with a stainless steel base. Find dining chairs in an Oriental style, with rich navy-blue frames and seats upholstered in a navy and white tweed. Hang a Venetian mirror over a white lacquer buffet or cabinet. And for the perfect dramatic touch, find a chandelier with glittering crystals, some blue, some clear.
Finally, here's a blue and white living room for the Americana decorator--the person who enjoys pine and quilts and duck decoys. Paint the walls pale blue, the trim white. Cover two easy chairs with a blue and white homespun upholstery, and find a blue and white rag rug for the floor. Accent a wheat-colored sofa with indigo blue pillows. In this setting, pine is the best material for bookcases, end tables, etc. A blue and white quilt hanging on the wall above the sofa would lend a personal touch, as would a series of antique prints.