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2007_02_02_01 A color-washed fireplace blends better with this room's decor.
Designing Dilemmas February 2007 - Second Edition

Update a Raspberry Bathroom with Color

Dear Debbie: I have a dated bath and cannot totally renovate at this time. There are raspberry colored tiles on the floor and a raspberry/deep mauve bath and sinks. What color could I use on the walls to accent and update this rather large master bath? Thank you! Peggy

Dear Peggy: I'm assuming that in addition to the raspberry and mauve, your faucets and bath hardware are chrome. That was the standard when raspberry and mauve were the latest in bathroom fashion.

Use gray as your accent color for walls, towels and other accessories. Anything from charcoal to dove gray will work well with the tile colors and help break it up a bit- so that all the berry tones are less overwhelming. In addition, the gray colors will work well with the chrome hardware you probably have in the room.

If the room is bright, with good lighting, and you want to go for high drama, use charcoal on the walls, a pale gray on the ceiling and silver/gray towels. If lighting is an issue, stick to a lighter gray on the walls to keep the bathroom bright and feeling airy and spacious.

Color Wash for Brick

Dear Debbie: I am re-doing a den that is 15x15. One entire wall is red bricks with a fireplace and dark mantle. The walls have paneling from the floor up to a chair rail. Above the chair rail the walls have been painted white. The carpet is beige Berber. I would like to change the color of the brick wall and hearth, but don't want to paint it. Do you have a suggestion as to how I can lighten the color but have it still look natural instead of painted? Carol

Dear Carol: You can definitely lighten up the brick on your fireplace with paint - using a ragging technique. First, pick a soft color that will that will complement your beige Berber carpet and white wall color. I recommend a light beige or light terra cotta/peach tone. The paint should be flat, acrylic wall paint, which will make it easy to work with and easy to clean up.

Using a brush, apply a light coat of paint, one small area at a time, over your brick. Take some rags and wipe it off, making sure to get into the grout in between each brick. Repeat the "brush on" and the "wipe off" steps- tackling small areas at a time until the entire fireplace area is complete.

The finished effect gives the brick area a color-washed look, meaning the brick still shows through, but it's been softened to blend in with the white walls and beige carpet. It's an easy, do-it-yourself treatment for any brick wall that needs a bit of softening to blend into your room decor.

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