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Match the rich wood finishes in your furniture with rich wall colors, bedding and curtains.

Baltimore, MD kid friendly designer, Debbie Wiener There's no need to fight with your child! Incorporate his or her favorite things into a design scheme you can both live with.
Designing Dilemma July 2005

How to Choose Paint Colors for Master Bedrooms and Kids' Rooms

Dear Designing Solutions: I have cherry wood furniture in the master bedroom. I am going with all new comforter set and accessories. I also have a sitting area in my master bedroom which then I step down into the master bedroom. I want to paint the walls but don't know what color to paint. I was thinking of having the entrance to the bedroom, the sitting area, and master bathroom a different color to contrast the rest of the step down bedroom. But what colors should I use and then what color scheme should I use for the decorating and comforter set? I also have another dilemma. My four year son's favorite color is purple and wants purple painted in his room. I don't really care to have too much purple in his room but also want him to be able to personalize it a bit. He has oak furniture. What should I do to humor him but still keep the room bright and something that will grow with him? Dora

Dear Dora: You've encountered the biggest problem do-it-yourselfers face- what color(s) to paint! Rather than have you paint your master bedroom suite in my favorite colors, here's some advice. Look for inspiration, starting with your cherry furniture. The rich undertones in cherry tend to lend themselves to rich colors more than pastel colors, so let deeper colors be your starting point. Next, is there a favorite photograph, wall hanging, toss pillow or piece of upholstery that you are also keeping in your master suite? Have you already picked out your bedding and/or curtains? If so, let those furnishings inspire your color selection.

If you haven't gotten this far and you've no favorite furnishings, think about the effect you are going for- warm and cozy, cool and sophisticated or country charming? Certain color palettes lend themselves to different effects. Warm colors include reds and oranges. Apple greens, soft yellows and creamy white make rooms look fresh and spring-like. Light blues, periwinkles and greens mixed with white give an informal, country appeal. Medium blues, taupe and beige are easy to live with and are popular with men. Purple, burgundy, navy blue and chocolate brown give a dramatic, elegant sophisticated look to interiors. Gray, blue gray and pure white make a room feel cool and open. Color and effect are partners. Let the effect you are going for guide you to the correct color partner.

And by all means, mix up the wall colors so that each area of master suite stands out from the other. Try to keep the intensity of the different colors the same so that no single color looks pale or washed out against another. And to keep the flow between sitting room, sleeping area and bath, match the trim color throughout.

Don't forget the ceilings in your master suite area. There's no reason to leave such a large area in stark white or to match the ceiling color to the wall color when a contrasting color will add a decorative punch instead. A little bit of cool color paired with warm walls makes a great contrast. I often use a pale, cool blue on ceilings when walls are red, orange or gold. Strong, dark colors, like browns, navy blues and forest greens come to life when paired with a warm ceiling in pale peach or pink. Keep rich tones, like deep red, burgundy, and purple, elegant with golden yellow on the ceiling.

Finally, the amount of light in your master suite will dramatically influence color and effect, so make sure you test all of your chosen colors in the room under existing light conditions before painting all the walls. You may need to adjust the intensity of your chosen color(s) so that it gives the desired effect with your room lighting.

About your child's room. It's reasonable to let your child choose a dominant room color, but you can reserve the right to temper it. Do just one wall in purple and choose a color you prefer for the other three. It's much easier to repaint one wall in a few years, when your child's favorite color is no longer purple, rather than the entire room. Add some bedding, toss pillows or a simple window valance in purple to make your child feel his color preference matters. Think compromise. Certainly you want your child to love his room- otherwise he won't want to be in it. Look for small ways to incorporate his favorite things so that you end up with a bedroom you can both live with.

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