Q: I would like to change the decor in my master bedroom. I have two windows and want to know if I can replace the old custom-made draperies (that now match the bed cover) with ready-mades by using a valance to cover the upper portion.
My walls are light blue and I have gray carpet. The adjoining master bath has a blue-and-lavender-stripe design. Could you give me other decorating ideas to use?
A: You'll be delighted at the variety of styles, patterns and colors you have to choose from in ready-made curtains today. You will probably even find the valance you need, ready to install, and perhaps even a matching bed cover, if you want to stick with that look.
If not, consider repeating the drapery pattern/color elsewhere in your bedroom -- on a round table cover or on throw pillows, for instance.
I'd look for a pattern that introduces the lavender of your bath walls into the bedroom. And consider adding a touch of strong color -- perhaps a bright navy, purple or even warm yellow -- to punch up your blue-gray scheme a bit. It sounds a little soporific, even for a bedroom.
Q: I have a cheap old bookcase left over from my graduate school apartment that I'd like to jazz up for my new study (I have lots of books to store). It's in sad condition, so I guess paint is the only answer.
A: Try painting the insides of the shelves a light color, then make the front edges something exciting that works with the rest of the room. If you have a rich old Oriental rug, red edges would be smashing.
Rose Bennett Gilbert is the author of five books on interior design, associate editor of Country Decorating and a contributing writer to other publications in the field. Send questions to Inside Advice, Maryland Living, The Sun, Baltimore, Md. 21278.