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DECORATING ADVICE : Salmon Paint Really Puts Room in the Pink


Question: We recently moved into a colonial home. I would like to decorate the dining-room area and change the color of the living room walls, but I'm on a small budget.

The chair rail in the dining room is painted butter cream, and half of the wall is covered with a small-scale blue, gray and white wallpaper. There is a bay window with curtains in fabric coordinating with the wallpaper. The floor is dark hardwood.

In the living room, the walls are painted butter cream, and the trim and ceiling are white. The floor is dark hardwood. There is a bay window with balloon shades made of a floral chintz of soft green, melon, blue and gold on a butter-cream background. I have a sofa and a love seat in off-white with very fine gray lines. I would like a warmer color for the walls. I also need to purchase a club chair.


Answer: Thanks for the samples you've enclosed. The paper in your dining room works very well with the colors in your living-room chintz. I would paint the living room wall a rich salmon color and keep the trim white. And if you have a good painter, ask him or her to put a light glaze over the color.

For that comfortable chair you plan on purchasing, select a butter-cream, white and rich salmon stripe. The upholstery of the club chair should be brighter than the gray and beige color samples you sent me.

Q: Years ago, I had Karastan shag carpeting in my living/dining area. It was called Golden Apricot, and it was just beautiful. It didn't need constant vacuuming, and it didn't show the dirt or areas of traffic. Sadly, I did have to replace it, and though many years have passed I haven't been able to find a carpet store that handles shag. Have they stopped making it?


A: My office did some investigating and discovered that no major mill makes shag carpeting anymore. One carpet dealer explained that shag was discontinued because there was no demand for it. But never fear, like everything it will probably come back. Perhaps you and some other shag lovers could write Karastan and tell the company that you want to see shag in the stores. You never know--perhaps you'll be responsible for the return of shag.

Q: What's high on the decorating preferred list in 1992?


A: In a word, pine. That means that stylish homes and businesses are installing pine flooring, pine paneling, pine shutters, pine wainscoting and pine beams to give their surroundings a fresh, contemporary look.

The pine can be old or new, scrubbed or weathered, knotty or polished. Architectural Digest shows the various ways pine is used throughout the country: the East, the Midwest and the far West.

Beautiful secondhand pine pieces can be found at antique centers and demolition houses. You might find a decorative cornice to place in your foyer, or perhaps you'll unearth a handsome armoire that can be redesigned and used as a family bar or as a television cabinet.

I've found some lovely pine pieces in Ireland that I've used when decorating country living rooms. And when I was designing my own home a few years ago, I found old pine boards from New England that I used for the flooring.

Light pine looks best against walls of deep colors such as hunter green, burgundy red, chocolate brown, navy blue and charcoal gray. Currently, I am decorating a young man's room with deep-charcoal walls, lipstick-red louver shutters and charcoal, white and black tweed carpet. The ceiling will be a racy shade of red.

Now for the pine. The room will have an antique pine sleigh bed, covered with a charcoal quilted spread. The quilting thread is made of brilliant red, providing a perfect accent. Cushions of a bright brassy gold will also accent the spread. And brass lamps and door hardware will provide that extra sparkle. I have also used pine for the chair rail moldings and the window shutters.

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