decor Q&A's

May 11, 2008

Dear Debbie;

    I need help! I have a 60s style ranch house with a 20’ x 3’ hallway. This long, narrow hallway is dark. What can I do for wall decoration?


Dear Liz;

  Halls don’t get very much attention, but they can enhance your home’s décor and add a level of interest and style. I would start by building in some good overhead lighting, a few spots will make a big difference. Long walls are a blank canvas for hanging art and photography. Put some thought into what you’d like to show off. A series of family “action” photos is always fun, or if you love botanicals or have a collection of framed antique cars, you’ll enjoy a quick viewing as you move from room to room. Keep the wall colour within the same range as your other rooms; a white or pastel paint shade will help push out the walls. You can also add some architectural interest easily by painting in panels or dividing the walls with a dado.


Dear Debbie;

I’d like to know how to make a room that’s full of antiques not look too dated. Our living room and dining room are filled with heavy, dark wood pieces that are excellent quality and have sentimental value as well. Hardwood floors in the living room are covered with a dark oriental carpet; the dining room has an off-white wool area rug. How does one contemporize these rooms without changing the furniture?


Dear Janet;

Here are three elements that you can manipulate any way you choose, regardless of the furnishings, that will give your rooms new life– wall colour, upholstery fabrics and lighting. Start with your living room sofa and research the latest fabric trends. Oversized prints are in, or if you prefer, look for striped fabrics as they are timeless. The update comes with the colour and width of the stripe, go wide, 3 to 5 inches, in a combination of colours found in your carpet. I’m guessing jewel tones of blue and red. A light colour on the walls will also make an instant impression, try pale amethyst or any shade of blue is wonderful with dark wood. Finally, or perhaps this should be first on your list, update the lighting. A modern chandelier for the dining room, pot lights in the ceiling for both rooms to brighten the overall light, and one or two contemporary lamps for the living room won’t clash with your antiques. Have some fun, mix it up, and you will love the new old look.


Dear Debbie;

I have never been a rash sort of person, but after living through a nasty break-up and an illness I have sold everything, and I do mean everything, including bed, furniture, dishes. I’ve bought a small condo with a sensational view of the ocean. I’m a 55-year-old man eating on the kitchen counter and sleeping on a futon. I want peaceful. Any ideas to get me started in a new direction?


Dear Albert;

Decorating may seem trivial to many, but your surroundings are your life, and now you want peace and somewhere to recharge your batteries. First I would choose a colour palette that enhances this calm mood and also frames your incredible sea view. I’d paint the walls a delicate pale, pale green. This serene colour will make your view stand out even more. Then add a cheerful colour to one space; perhaps your bathroom could be a sunny yellow. Buy yourself a proper bed so you’re not feeling like a student. There are so many cool modern platform beds which are low and their Japanese influence again enhances the relaxing effect. Soft flowing sheers on your windows and a few candles and you will have a wonderful place to call home.

I have one more idea, it’s something I have just done. We are hearing a lot at the moment about ‘vision boards’. Take a notice board and put it somewhere that is always near you. Stick on pictures of what you want for the future, maybe a picture of a mountain stream, a desert sunset -- whatever you would like to aim for over the next few years. You may not be ready for this yet and may think it’s silly, but I love to look at my vision board and dream. Mine has a picture of the most beautiful farm in Tuscany – my dream.