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April 22, 2014 > Interior Decorating Frequently Asked Questions

Interior Decorating Frequently Asked Questions

In this column, I thought IÕd share with you answers to questions that clients ask me all the time. IÕll focus on paint colors this week, and then tackle other topics in the weeks ahead.

Q. WonÕt this dark color make my room look smaller?
A. Our goal should not always be to make the room look as large as possible. The goal should make the room look as good as possible. While a dark color might make the room look a little smaller, it will also add a lot of drama and warmth to the room. If the color looks great with the furnishings and woodwork, then use it with confidence. Your room will only look smaller on the first day of painting. After that, youÕll get used to it, and your room will be gorgeous.

Q. Is white the best color for my baseboards and crown molding?
A. ItÕs true that most people in most situations use white for their trim work. It is a beautiful look that is almost never wrong. But, depending on the paint color and overall look you want, white might look too stark. For example, in one project, we used wallpaper in a burnished copper color. White crown molding looked too bright and stark next to it. So we softened the contrast by selecting Kelly MooreÕs Navajo White for the base and crown. It worked beautifully. For a dramatic look, try pairing tan or taupe walls with black baseboard and crown. ItÕs really striking and attractive.

Q. Should I paint my room first or buy my new furniture first?
A. Whenever possible, buy your furniture first. There are many more paint colors than there are upholstery colors, so itÕs much easier to match paint to fabrics than the other way around. When you order your upholstered pieces, ask to order a swatch of the fabric also; you can use this swatch to select paint colors, draperies, flooring, and other furnishings.

Q. What about an accent wall? Are those still popular?
A. Yes and no. They arenÕt quite as popular as they used to be, but that doesnÕt mean they wouldnÕt look good in particular situations. Painting the wall behind your bed, for example, is often a great thing to do. It can add a lot of punch to a space. But here are some rules of thumb for accent walls:
* Choose a color that truly is an accent color. What I mean by that is that the color should be quite different from the surrounding colors. For example, if the surrounding walls are a light tan, your accent wall should not be a slighter darker tan. Go with a dark chocolate brown, or burgundy, or navy, or rusty red. In other words, really make it an accent!
* Choose a large enough wall to accent. Some people get a little scared and paint accent color on walls broken up by large windows or door openings, for example. In this situation, there probably isnÕt enough wall space to accent successfully. Accent walls should already be feature walls in a roomÑsuch as a fireplace wall, or the wall behind your bed, or the wall behind the sofa.
* Consider the ceiling as an accent wall. Ceilings can provide a great area for bold color. For example, in my sonÕs room, his walls are gray, and the ceiling is red. And in my own bedroom, my walls are taupe and the center of my ceiling is navy blue. I love the look!

Anna Jacoby is a local Certified Interior Designer. Contact her at 510-490-0379 or or visit her website at

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