We are getting ready to paint our two guest bedrooms. They now have off-white walls and Williamsburg gray-blue color on the trim crown molding, baseboards and chair rail. Carpeting is light neutral. Even though they have been this way for a long time, I think I would still like the look if the walls were a little lighter and the room freshly painted. I know today's trend is to paint the woodwork white. We did this in our bedroom and I like it.
My questions are: Is darker trim a decorating no-no? Does it really make a room look smaller? Usually by the time we change to a new trend it is beginning to reverse itself again. Do you think I should continue the blue trim with a lighter shade of walls, or go with a light color for the walls and use white trim? Cautious Judy
Dear Cautious Judy: You sound like the kind of sensible person who doesn't care if your home is trendy or not so never mind about trends. Nothing is a no-no and good design is always timeless and universal. Refer to the continued popularity of the 1964 Ford Mustang to prove my point.
In your case, however, since you liked the new look in your own bedroom, I would continue it into the two guest bedrooms. Depending upon the amount of natural light, your two guest bedrooms should definitely seem larger with lighter colored trim. One departure that you may prefer is to find an off-white trim color just slightly darker than your walls. This gives the wood trim a decorative punch yet doesn't visually diminish the size of your rooms or draw your eye away from the beauty of the entire room.
A little designer's secret: I think all the trim should be painted the same throughout to give your home the professionally decorated look and provide visual continuity from room to room throughout. The change will make an impressive statement without taking a big chunk out of your budget.
Dear Décor Diva: I have a black leather sofa and love seat and not enough money to buy new ones. Can you help me with some décor ideas that will liven up my apartment? Perhaps you could suggest some color schemes. In the Black
Dear in the Black: You want to soften and warm up your room creating a contemporary ambience that doesn't look like it is a throwback from the '60s. Start by incorporating earth tones in the range of beige, sage, rust and copper wherever you can. Add plush pillows with a fabulous copper-beaded fringe and a throw in patterns incorporating these colors over the black sofa and love seat. This will add color and texture to soften that solid field of black leather.
Faux finish the room with a splash of metallic copper as a highlight. Or, paint an accent wall behind the sofa in a darker earthtone shade, perhaps brown. Paint the other walls lighter. The feature wall will add interest and update your décor.
To balance your room, add artwork in mixed frame colors, some with black matte frames and some with gold and copper frames with black silk matting. Follow this color scheme with a few accessories such as candles, urns, silk greenery in beautiful vases, etc., in the same palette and you are well on your way to an interior look that is planned and balanced.
Perla Lichi is a professional interior designer and syndicated columnist. Submit general questions by writing: The Decor Diva, c/o Naples Daily News, 7127 N. Pine Island Road, Tamarac, FL 33321, or submit questions directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.