Q: Our master bedroom has a ceiling that slopes from less than 6 feet to more than 12. I've put the head of the bed against the low wall, but we lie there looking into "outer space." Is there a way to make the high end of the room feel cozier?
A: The traditional trick for lowering a too-high ceiling is to paint it dark, the modus operandi being that light colors recede before the eye, thus expanding visual space, while dark colors advance to make surfaces look closer.
The traditional trick may not work to full advantage in a room where the ceiling height varies so dramatically, since you'd be "lowering" the short side of the room uncomfortably close.
Interior designer T. Keller Donovan offers another solution in the room we show here from "Showcase of Interior Design" (Vitae Publishing).
Also dealing with a bedroom whose ceiling height varies dramatically, Mr. Donovan uses vertical furnishings and legerdemain to bring things down to cozier levels. To wit:
*The wall-hung display shelf between the windows.
*The brackets with plants and mirror reaching into the peak of the wall.
*The tall tree that takes advantage of good light between the windows at bedside.
*A small spotlight on the floor that throws an attractive pattern of leaf shadows on the ceiling by night.
Coupled with the overall play of super-scaled floral chintz, plus plaid fabrics and a vigorously textured rug, the soaring space looks well-filled and cozy, indeed, as befits any bedroom setting.
Q: I happen to love chintz, but I confess to having trouble choosing the right chintz for my living room. What makes a pattern appropriate for more formal rooms as opposed, for example, to a bedroom?
A: I'll let another great champion of chintz answer that. English interior designer Jean Monro (daughter of the legendary Geraldine Monro, or "Mrs. Monro," as she was properly known), has recently brought a collection of hand-blocked chintzes to this country, many of which have been re-created from prints popular on the Continent during the 19th century.
Ms. Monro, who has taken over her mother's thriving business and keeps busy decorating some of the National Trust homes, among others, has a word of advice about choosing chintzes. I quote:
"I think that when choosing a design, you have to think in terms of what I call 'Upstairs, Downstairs,' after the famous TV series. -- For me, the most successful chintzes are those that can be used downstairs, in libraries and sitting rooms, as well as upstairs in bedrooms."
Hinson & Co., the well-known American decorative fabric firm, has Jean Monro's new collection, so you can see for yourself her go-anywhere designs.