H O U S E C A L L S
i t h
t e p
t - O
C o n t r i b u t i n g e d i t o r S t e p h e n
S a i n t - O n g e a n s w e r s y o u r
t r i c k y d e c o r a t i n g q u e s t i o n s .
\ • HIGH CEILINGS AND COLOR CHOICES
W % I ’m stuck on our walls! Our ceiling is
18 feet 7 inches tall and the height is
intimidating How do I create a warm and
inviting design for this cavernous living room?
I’d love to include the colors of nature and bring
the outdoors in.
Cathy Chambers, York,SC
STEPHEN:Adding an architectural element like
molding halfway up the wall would make the
room’s height seem less imposing. You could
paint the lower half of the room one color
(maybe a light tone of yellow to enhance
natural light) and the upper walls and ceiling
another. Paintingthe ceiling a color softens a
room. I’d suggest a pale green for a natural
look, but you could also choose a palette based
on the time of day you love. I like twilight, so
I’d use the colors in the sky, trees, and grass at
dusk to make my palette.
We live in a lovely new
townhome. The main living area has a lot of
space, bu t what’s a good way to arrange the
furniture around the comer fireplace? Five feet away from
it are triple doors leading out to the deck.
Mardell Ahnen, Norwalk, IA
STEPHEN: Usually I would decide furniture placement
based on a centrally located fireplace, but this case doesn’t
allow it. Because it’s a large room, try more than one
seating area. Place a few small chairs close to the corner
fireplace for a cozy reading spot. Then, create a separate
seating area away from the fireplace, either around a
media center or the view out the doors. When you have a
wall of windows or doors, not every one needs to be used.
Don’t be afraid to place a chair in front of an unused one.
homes have a TV, but I ’ve never seen one in
decorating pictures. How can I arrange a family
room to include a TV plus space for other activities?
Joan Sharp, Irving, TX
STEPHEN: Flat-screen TVs are more affordable now and
blend into a room’s design, so the TV no longer has to be
the focal point of the room. If space allows, place the TV
in a separate area and surround it with built-in shelves or
bookcases. Define the zone with a rug and a sectional. A
large table and chairs are a great addition to a family
room. They make a spot for creativity-boosting
activities. Add a cabinet for art supplies and games. Or,
build a desk area with loads of storage by topping
store-bought cabinets with precut countertops.
7 8 SEPTEMBER 2008 BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS
ILLUSTRATIONS: STEPHEN SAINT-ONGE