She would like some realistic and not drop-dead-expensive ideas on paint and fabrics. Can you offer any suggestions or other ideas to help me decorate the house and keep it flowing together, but not be all the same? The color scheme is dark greens, cobalt blue, tans and mauves. I was thinking about yellow and blue for the kitchen, but I do not want the room to appear any bigger than it is already.
ANSWER: I can give you some solutions as to paint choices and design ideas in general. Not knowing your client's style preference, I will not be able to suggest furniture choices. I also can give you some ideas on window treatments that will work with all the styles and fabric suggestions.
First of all, you have made a good choice in knowing the colors, shades and tints you would like to work with. Because of the size of the home, the space should be able to take the strong shades of green, blue, tans and mauves, but I would suggest you also add variety by using lighter tints of the colors you have chosen. In the larger areas, the bolder color choices can be made. By choosing the deeper shades, you will be able to bring the warmth of the room up to a livable level. The lighter tints of your color choices will open up and keep particular areas open, light and airy.
Choosing a crown molding along the ceiling or a wallpaper border about 10 to 12 feet up will help bring down the ceiling line to a more natural scale.
It is important to establish and maintain a theme with color throughout the home on the floor. By bringing in various textures and patterns with carpet or area rugs, you will be able to create interest. Choosing a carpet in neutral colors will leave you more versatility later when you bring in the other colors you have chosen. If you choose to cover the floors with a deeper shade, such as the deep green you mentioned, you will find it limits your decorating options later on. Again, the deeper shades will create warmth in the wide open spaces you have to work with in this home.
The concern of having four levels of the home visible at one time is another special consideration when planning color. Choosing a deeper accent color on one wall in a given space is the trend and choice of clients, designers and painters. Consider a specialty paint finish such as faux, marbleizing or sponging techniques.
A key ingredient to the success of any given space is the repetition of the chosen colors throughout each room in one way or another. An example would be the strong use of green in the larger rooms with accents in tan, blue or mauve. As you proceed to work on the various rooms and floors, you can modify the shades and tints of each color. You should stay with the maximum of three main colors, however. In your case, I would choose the greens, blues and tans or greens, mauves and tans. Let the fourth color be an accent in the rooms.
As for window treatment ideas, the windows appear to be large and choices for undertreatments such as sheers, shutters, verticals or wood horizontal blinds will work well. Depending on your client's budget, you may have more choices. But be sure to think about how the color of the window treatments will look from the outside of the home.
By choosing neutral colors for undertreatments, you will have a few more options later on if your clients decide to change the overtreatment. Depending on the style of furniture selected and the theme of the home, various overtreatments can be chosen. For a more free-flowing affect, a loosely twisted fabric on large decorator poles make a wonderful accent to any window. You also could incorporate a faux finish on decorative rods that coordinates with the paint choice on the walls.
With the various levels in the home, consider how the window treatments will look when viewed all at once. It is important to choose similarity in fabric colors and textures when coordinating groups of windows.
Your suggestion of a yellow and blue kitchen may create havoc. Toning down to tans and blues may be a better choice and you will stay with the theme of the three main colors you have chosen. These colors will add to the flow of the color choices throughout the home.
The Rule of Three is a great rule to follow in designing a space. Think threes when choosing color, texture and pattern for the fabric to be used for sofas, chairs, window treatments and accents. By creating a main color throughout the home, you will be satisfied with the flow or continuity in the design elements you have chosen.
Design elements combining the correct use of color to manipulate a space will create an interior that flows smoothly.
Editor's note: This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business.
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience as a professional interior designer in both commercial and residential design. She has taught at numerous colleges throughout California and currently is an educator at Moorpark college in southern California. She is a published author and frequent public speaker.