October 11, 2016
Modern, stimulating and edgy, this acid yellow wall is softened by adding a white stenciled pattern.

Dear Debbie;
I’d love to use a strong yellow in my living room. We like an eclectic look with a mix of antique and modern furniture pieces. How much is too much of this bright colour?

Dear Richard;
Yellow has many personalities. A creamy shade signifies classic country, pastel yellows suit a nursery, sunny yellow works well in a kitchen. And then there is bright acid yellow that looks great in a modern setting such as a loft space. Strong yellows are intense, stimulating and can be aggressive. This edgy quality is perhaps too much for a whole room, but makes a statement as an accent wall. You can also break up the colour with white as I have done here by applying damask stencils randomly across the yellow wall. Black and white are both good partners for this bright yellow. The black table and chair legs are important elements that ground the setting. The white painted floor reflects the lively burst of yellow, keeps it light, and ensures an upbeat tempo. Experiment with your favourite yellow. Start with one wall and live with it for a while. The colour may energize you, but it may also tire you, so it’s worth moving slowly.

Dear Debbie;
Just moved into a new apartment with a fairly large full bathroom. The walls are high gloss white. What can I do to add colour? I have a shower curtain with pink, yellow and blue circular design.

Dear Laura;
You have the right idea by hanging a colourful shower curtain and displaying bright accessories. But perhaps it’s time to switch it up a little. The high gloss walls act as a kind of mirrored surface, reflecting any colour it’s paired with. Why not try apricot for the curtain, or one of the solid terra cotta shades? These colours are warm and sophisticated, and, as a bonus, they give our skin a lovely hue. Keep your accessories simple, matching brushed chrome or glass cream and cosmetic containers, and neutral natural soaps. They will look elegant.

I'm re-doing our master bedroom and have decided to use a blue paint. We have all white bedding and little blue accent pillows and our furniture is a light wood. Will it make our bedroom look small if I paint all 4 (white) walls blue, or should I just paint the wall behind the bed? I am leaving the base boards white. Thank you

Dear Nicole,
There are many blue hues that suit a bedroom. The palest shades, coupled with white, create an ephemeral feeling, almost like you are floating on a cloud. Darker blues are moodier and create a romantic nighttime atmosphere. Dark colours will make a room feel smaller, but this is a good thing if you are going for a cozy restful ambience. Medium blues such as cornflower blue, produce a pretty picture without a closed-in feeling. Since your walls are all white now, start with the headboard wall. Your other walls will reflect that blue and may be enough.

Another option is to use the blue on the lower third of all your walls. You can then leave the upper walls white or select wallpaper with a pattern that has touches of blue in it. There are many stunning wallpapers available in all styles from geometric and modern chic, to classic stripes and paisleys.

Blue is understandably a favourite decorating colour because it complements all materials. No matter what option you choose, your light wood furniture will show beautifully.

Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Please email your questions to You can follow Debbie on Twitter at, and visit Debbie’s new website,