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Designer Advice

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We've recruited interior designers to answer some of the most common design questions. Check back regularly for more questions and answers.


Question: We want to do something inventive and jazzy in a small powder room off our entry hall--it's mostly used by guests, and seems a good spot to make a statement.

Answer: A punchy, colour-blocked effect is always good decorating advice in this situation. The idea is to paint a base coat, and then overlay it with random geometric shapes in a linked palette of colours. As for paint colours, you can get as inventive as you want. Try mixing some of the colours with Studio Finishes Glaze or metallic effects (imagine shimmering squares of copper and bronze floating over a smoky blue base).


Question: Is chocolate brown too masculine for decorating a guest room? I love the colour, but I thought it might be too tweedy for a bedroom.

Answer: Rich cocoa brown is a beautiful colour for a sunny room. But in poor light, it often looks black. To make this colour feel less masculine, you could try pairing it with an intense blue. Insert the cooler colour in bedding, rugs, or other accents. The blue/brown combination feels fresh, contemporary, and slightly retro, and keeps the deep brown from looking muddy.


Question: Should I paint the baseboards in our family room the wall colour or the trim colour?

Answer: Our decorating advice is to only set off baseboards in a trim colour if there's some compelling reason to do so. Unless your baseboards are particularly broad and handsome, paint them the wall colour so they blend into the background. Since baseboards tend to collect scuffs and scrapes, use a glossier finish than the one you use for the wall.

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