California designer Shiree Hanson Segerstrom's weekly tips for decorating, gardening, and stylish living
DESIGN DILEMMAS Q & A, your design questions answered
I received questions from as far away as Texas and Florida. I am pleased to have a reader from England, but apparently she didn't have any design questions. A couple people asked about interior design as a profession. I won't be answering those today. The topic today is on design, not the profession of design. Next time I will try and be clearer about my topics. One question that popped up four or five times was regarding updating your house with color. Update your interior with color by changing your:
Choose as many or as few of the five items I've listed above and incorporate one to two new colors into your already existing scheme. Some of the hottest new colors right now are magenta; turquoise;
pale pink; and bright Kelly green. Here are my suggestions...remove your old blues and replace with turquoise. Remove your old clarets (shades of wine) and replace with magenta or fuscia. Remove your old taupe's and replace with pale pink. These new colors will instantly update your interiors and easily fit into your schemes. Shelly from Culver City, you seem to be saying you're tired of the pale blue you have in your kitchen. Turquoise would be perfect for the chair cushions on your breakfast set and it would still go well with your blue curtains.And you could have the butcher block painted a shiny turquoise to tie in your new shade. Andrew, (nice to have a male reader!) your place sounds fantastic. When can I come for a visit? Teasing. How you update your living room with color depends on how much effort you want to put into it. Replacing the celadon pillows with something newer like a bold, icy yellow would look great with the greens already in the room. When you add bold chunks of color in your fabrics, don't try and add busy prints. Use solid colors or simple graphic prints in two colors.
For quick, inexpensive updates change out throw pillows, pottery, and vases. These are particularly pretty in bold colors when placed next to your other neutrals.
I received a few questions about painting in open floor plans. Open floor plans are ever present in new construction. Personally I find open floor plans a little impersonal. I prefer the definition that rooms and doors create. However, the questions mostly pertain to "how do you decide where to stop and start wall color in open floor plans?" The answer isn't always easy. If your corners are bull nosed it is almost impossible to have your paint job look professional. Sharp corners, ceilings, and wall texture requires a steady hand. Keep color values (dark to light) to a minimum so the change of paint color won't be so obvious. Open floor plans ideally have one color throughout the main living spaces. In my experience, it's best to choose a light paint color or neutral for walls in open floor plans. Two colors besides beige that are workable in open floor plans are pale cool yellow and pale green. Warm green is more olive and cool green is more sage. They have distinct personalities. Pale blue is good in smaller spaces but can look cold in big ones. The same goes for gray. Pale peach, providing it's not too sweet can be pretty particularly if you have a lot of dark wood to give it a masculine/feminine balance. Zebra print pillows, by the way, would nicely update a peach and dark wood interior. I hope this helps. Color is a time consuming topic.
Lastly, I had two questions regarding sofa purchases. Madelaine asked if she should slipcover her sofa or re-upholster. Either work well Madelaine. There isn't a significant difference in my slipcover prices but I don't know about other designers. They both require the same amount of fabric, but slipcovers are made from cheaper fabric than upholstery. Upholstery labor is a little more expensive but isn't as easy to clean. Oh and make sure you don't wash your slipcovers. They need to be dry cleaned! I know you were told differently but trust me. I like to do a mix of upholstery and slipcovers in my projects. I love the personality slips have. They're imperfect and they have adorable little contrasting welts and ties. I'm a slip fan. I hope I have adequately answered your questions today!