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Interior Designer Debbie Wiener

Designing Dilemma February 2005

Wall Colors That Go With Gold

Dear Designing Solutions: My husband and I recently had our family room/kitchen painted a beautiful gold color. Now, my next project would be to paint the living room and dining room. These two rooms are directly across from each other, so I do want to keep the color the same. My design dilemma is this: Shall I carry that same gold color to the living room and dining room? Personally, I think it would be too much gold. What color do you suggest I paint the living room and dining room? Sincerely, HELP!!

Dear Lisa: Defintiely DO NOT use the same gold paint currently in your kitchen throughout your living and dining rooms. It's like breaking down the walls that separate the kitchen from the more formal rooms in your house. Instead, let's make each room distinct.

Almost any color goes with gold- the tricky part is matching up the intensities so that all the colors you work with complement one another. What colors are the furnishings in the living and dining rooms? You can pull out blues, reds, browns, pumpkins or greens from the fabrics and flooring in your rooms and as they meet your gold kitchen walls, if the intensities are right, the colors will look good together. How do you balance different colors so that intensities match? Go back to the paint deck you worked with when you chose the gold for your kitchen. Was the gold you chose the second or third color on the deck page? As you choose new colors, stay within that same range. For example, if you decide to go with blue, choose the second or third blue on the deck page to go with the second or third gold already in your kitchen. This is by no means a hard and fast rule, but merely a guide.

Still baffled with wall color and want to incorporate that gold? Why not paint the ceilings of your living and dining rooms in gold? If you have double crown molding or chair rails, use the divided drywall to fill in with gold as an accent color in the living and dining rooms. Yet another option is to incorporate gold in your furnishings. Dining chairs or toss pillows in gold fabric would tie in the formal rooms to the gold color you love in your kitchen, whicle still keeping these spaces separate.

Choosing Carpeting For Family Spaces

Dear Designing Solutions: We have a wall to wall rug dilemma: We are having our upper level (attic) space finished. There is a full set of stairs. It will be a game room (ping pong etc). We have a tutor-style home so there will be 2 new windows in each arch (front) and there are windows on each long end. It is going to be an open space. About 15'x 30'. It is above our bedrooms so we are making choices for the sound barriers. We will have beams on ceiling and recessed lights. Paint will bring in the color. But the rug is a concern. I have looked at berber and tan since we have a long-haired blonde dog. We are considering an indoor/oudoor rug with good pad/rug squares. (I expect to have lots of floor seating so I want a comfy rug). I was also considering a fun color for the rug but even the kids think a neutral rug is best. Maybe the stairs can have changes in color? Do you have any suggestions for us to consider before the big decision? Thank you, Lisa

Dear Lisa: I think your plans for a third floor game room are well thought-out and sound very functional. I agree that you should choose a durable, synthetic flooring that will camouflage the dog hair and the normal wear and tear that occurs in heavily-used, family-friendly spaces, but that doesn't limit you to using neutral beiges and tans. Run the same color throughout the stairs and the room for a better look, but do consider a medium color. Medium blues, greens and browns make excellent color choices for a game room. They'll add a less-formal look, add a punch of fun color and provide great camouflage for spots and stains. And since you plan to use the floor for seating, choose something soft and thick- not flat, thin and commercial.

Residential carpet has experienced major technological change over the past several years and the selections are vast. To help you make the best choice, start with density and nap. Density refers to the amount of yarn (usually measured by the inch) in the carpet and the closeness of the yarns. The denser the carpet, the better the carpet and the higher the cost. Nap height measures how high the yarn stands above the backing of the carpet. The shorter the height, the more crush resistant the carpet. For your game room, a low to medium density carpet with a low nap height will be soft enough for sitting on the floor and it will camouflage traffic patterns (those annoying foot prints that can appear on the surface of taller nap carpeting). Next, for long-term cleaning ease and stain resistance, consider which fiber- a carpet's basic ingredient- will work best for your needs. There are four basic synthetics used in residential carpeting:

  1. Olefin: Or polypropylene- a strong stain and wear resistant fiber thatís easy to clean and resists moisture and mildew. Suitable for indoor and outdoor installations. Not as resistant to matting and crushing as nylon. Lowest price range.

  2. Polyester: Easy to clean and resistant to wear and stains, polyester has a soft feel when used in thick, cut-pile textures. Medium to high price range. Not as hard-wearing as nylon.

  3. Acrylic: Moisture and mildew resistant. When solution-dyed (color is added during fiber construction), great for homes with chlorine traffic from swimming pools. Most closely resembles wool, but at a lower cost. Can mat over time.

  4. Nylon: Most popular fiber with best stain and wear resistance available. Excellent softness and widest color range of the synthetic fibers. Comes in all price ranges.

While each fiber has its own advantgaes and disadvantages, almost any choice will work for your game room. Your personal preference and budget will guide you through the maze of choices. Finally, don't overlook the padding. It is the padding that determines most how luxurious your new carpet will feel once installed in your home. It acts as a shock absorber- keeping your foot from feeling the hard floor underneath. And since padding is critical in helping to muffle the sounds of foot traffic, you should spend a little more to upgrade from standard padding to eight or ten pound padding. Most importantly, good padding can extend the life of your carpet. It protects the carpet backing from friction that will wear the backing down over time and padding makes your carpet easier to clean. For all these reasons, consider the padding as carefully as your carpet choice.

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