When planning to decorate a room, avoid leaving color choices till last


September 25, 1994|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Q: I am not in a position to consult with an interior designer, but I do need some help in selecting paint colors for my newly furnished bedroom and bath.

The furniture is painted white, the carpeting in both areas is also white, and so are the draperies in the bedroom.

Can you suggest some other colors that would look good in combination with all this white?

I like sophisticated and ethnic-type settings.

A: I don't want to sound like a scold, but I have to point out that color isn't something to be introduced into a room after all the other selections have been made.

The dynamics of color are just too complicated to permit such an afterthought approach.

But let's see what can be done to make the best of your situation.

You're fortunate in that sophisticated ethnic styles usually involve either a multicolored arrangement or a white-on-white motif that includes dark accents and a few neutrals.

Obviously, the latter option is the one for you to pursue.

You could start by painting the walls a wheat or sand color. Next, introduce accents of tobacco brown through the accessories and, perhaps, one or two small pieces of furniture.

In general, however, wall paint alone doesn't make a color scheme.

Next time, consider the size and shape of the room, the brightness of the daylight entering it, the type of lighting to be used at night, and the mood and effect you wish to create. Then make your color choices.

Also, don't be a slave to fashion. Be confident in expressing your own preferences.

That said, it is wise to gain some acquaintance with generally accepted color theory before you start breaking the rules.

Keep in mind that expert opinion is merely that -- opinion.

For instance, while a green, violet and gray color scheme may strike some authorities as cool and serene, others may find it depressing.

Don't rely on just a single source.

For basic information, you can start with a consumer pamphlet available from Glidden Paints, titled "Simple Solutions to Decorating."

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