CHALLENGE: My client and her
husband are in a quandary. We are working on a dining room that
can be seen from the living room and, of course, visa versa. Visually,
we are having a hard time choosing wall coverings and paint. Should
both rooms match? Can two adjacent walls share the same wallpaper?
Can the other two walls in each room be painted? Should different
colors or patterns be used?
SOLUTION: Let me start by addressing
your first question. Many homes that have multiple-room exposures
from the entryway or from other rooms or areas in the home pose
a challenge when it comes to color choices for wallpaper, fabric
and paint and for decorative choices such as accessories for the
home. You are definitely right in your concern about appropriately
blending colors that can be seen from many areas.
The key to success in choosing different colors for adjoining rooms
is to choose a color that is versatile enough to blend and mix with
the colors to be used in each room. For example, a living room could
be covered in a rich, gold paint and wallpaper. An adjoining room
could use a tint of gold (by adding white to the original color)
or a darker shade of gold.
However, you will need to choose colors with the same “feel.”
Do not mix cool and warm shades of the same color. This would disrupt
the continuity between rooms.
As to wallpaper patterns, let’s say you have chosen a large
floral pattern for the living room. To make the adjoining room work,
choose a smaller-scale pattern that does not compete with the large
floral. Wallpaper books will have many excellent examples of room
groupings with wallpaper selections that will work together. Be
sure to pay attention to and study the photographs in the wallpaper
books to see examples of how the pattern you are contemplating is
used. These photos will give you an idea of how the patterns will
The photo I’ve included here shows a room that transitions
into a staircase. Notice how the background color of the large floral
print wallpaper is picked up again in the coordinating stripe pattern
used on the outside wall. Also, a small-scale floral border is used
to maintain continuity as well.
A suggestion that has always worked for me is to order a sample
pattern of each wallpaper you are considering and place the samples
in the rooms you are working on. Place them in areas where your
client will pass by every day. This will give her a feel for how
the patterns will look in the room. It is worth the effort to order
By choosing paint colors, wall coverings and fabric that blend in
tones and pattern, you will be able to work with different patterns
in rooms that adjoin. Always remember to repeat the patterns and
colors in other places within the setting. This will provide continuity
to your overall scheme.
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. If you have a question
you would like Anderson to address, please send it to:
c/o Draperies & Window Coverings
1724 E. Grand Ave.
Lindenhurst, IL 60046
Fax: (847) 356-9013
L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the residential and
commercial areas of interior design. She is currently a faculty member
at two Southern California colleges. Anderson has been featured in
numerous books and publications.