Adjacent areas can be coordinated by color, pattern


January 17, 1993|By Rose Bennett Gilbert | Rose Bennett Gilbert,Copley News Service

Q: We're planning to break through a wall and turn a small bedroom into a dressing area. My question is this: Should I use the same carpet and wallpaper in both rooms?

A: A lot depends on the size of each space. If they're small enough to be "read" in a single glance, you'll want them to relate, if not match exactly. I'd continue the bedroom carpeting right into the dressing area, but you can easily effect a subtle change in the wall treatments.

They don't have to be the same color if you paint -- New York interior designer Margot Gunther once mixed pink, peach and apricot in the same bedroom. The gradations were so subtle they were elusive: The walls had visual life, but you couldn't pin down why.

Another way to go is with coordinating patterns of wall coverings. Since the colors carry from room to room, the patterns can vary, as they do in the bedroom we show here, where the breakthrough idea you have in mind has actually been accomplished.

The larger sleeping room is dressed in an open floral pattern with a border that complements the pattern and border in the smaller area beyond (all wall coverings come from Wall-Tex's Nottingham Place collection).

Underfoot, the same carpeting runs wall-to-wall in both rooms, making the space expand visually.

Q: I want to make swagged cafe curtains for the dining room, but I need guidance. The ones I've seen are cut straight across the top and hung from fabric straps or ties. How much do I have to allow for a graceful swag between the straps?

A: Not being much of a seamstress myself, I asked an expert, Raymond J. LeCuyer, ISID, who used swagged cafes in the sitting room he and partner Robert W. Clark, ISID, designed for a show house in New York.

His answer: Allow 14 to 16 inches between straps or ties "for a pretty droop."

Q: My uncle has given me three small Oriental rugs that I love. The problem is, my apartment came with wall-to-wall carpeting and I don't know how to use his rugs. Would it look funny to put them on top of the big carpeting? It's beige so the colors will work.

A: Not funny at all, but very traditional -- provided the colors in the rugs cross-reference each other. You could use one rug to anchor the seating group: sofa, coffee table and side chairs. Another might work in the dining area, near the front door, or in any spot of secondary importance, say a window bay or by a piano.

And don't worry if you have more rugs than room -- you can even lay one crisscrossing another, a look the Victorians delighted in.

Q: I'm having my husband's favorite old easy chair reupholstered as a birthday surprise -- it has been hidden in the attic since I insisted we "get rid of that shabby thing" two months ago.

The problem is, I can't decide what fabric to use. It's for his den, which has beige painted walls and a brown tweed rug -- all very masculine. Help quick! His birthday is soon!

A: I love your surprise. When it comes to easy chairs, I see eye-to-eye with many men who believe that beauty is more than skin-deep.

For his new-old chair, take a cue from his den's theme: Cover it in a menswear fabric -- why not a Harris tweed? Or in corduroy, perhaps a rich rust color or even tomato soup red. Any which way, I'll bet he'll be tickled pink to have his old buddy back.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the author of five books on interior design and a contributing writer to other publications in the field. Send questions to Inside Advice, Maryland Living, The Sun, Baltimore 21278.

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