Elegant, formal dining-room furniture requires formal wall treatments


June 05, 1994|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: I have inherited some dining-room furniture that is a high-quality reproduction of both Hepplewhite and Sheraton styles. Now I'm puzzled about how to treat the dining room itself. It's a fairly large space with a 9-foot ceiling and two narrow but not-so-tall windows.

Any suggestions?

A: I assume that you want the room to look elegant and relatively formal.

That shouldn't be too difficult to achieve, though you will have to sort through a number of choices relating to your taste, budget and the availability of certain items.

The many possibilities for decorative wall-covering include: reproductions of American classical scenes, Asian-style florals or large-scale medallion designs.

In a less exuberant vein, you may want to consider vertically striped wall-covering or large-patterned silk moire paper-backed fabric, possibly in a deep gold or green color. Any of those options could provide a suitably rich background for the two styles of furniture you have inherited.

If you do prefer to use paint and molding, my advice is to go with a lighter to medium color. I personally love a marigold that is more orange than gold, and I'm also quite partial to certain melon colors, especially when they're set against dark wood. Whatever color you choose for the walls, a deeper tone of it should probably be used for the decorative moldings. They can also be rubbed and glazed to emphasize their ornamental properties.

As for your windows, try to make them appear taller, creating a more elegant effect than can be achieved by relying on typically short windows. Faking a so-called head treatment might be the best strategy in your case. A deep swag and jabot design with simple curtains would be sufficient as long as the fabric and its pattern does not deflect attention from the room's overall design.

Remember, in a room like the one you describe, it would be a mistake to accentuate any individual element. What you must strive to create is a unified setting made up of an unpretentious and seamless blend of furnishings and decorative touches.

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