Renovation & Design

A Washington designer's top tips on decor

Designer Michele Evans, of the Georgetown neighbourhood in Washington, D.C., joined staff writer Jura Koncius on the Washington Post’s Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.

Question: Do you have any tips on installing an Ikea kitchen?

Answer: When you are doing an Ikea kitchen, hire their people for the installation. They have experience, and in the long run, you will save money. Kitchen installations come down to inches, and you don’t want to make a costly mistake.

What is a good, affordable alternative to sisal? I am sick of it.

A painted floor is terrific, or a dyed area rug. You can find them at every price point.

Can you use pink paint in any room?

I am a big fan of pink and just did my master bedroom and bath in Sherwin-Williams Blushing at 30 per cent strength. The trick is to get it the correct hue for your room and to look at it many times during the day so that you can see how it reacts all day.

I have a spare bedroom that I would like to brighten up with some yellow paint because it only has one window that is shaded by a tree. Any suggestions on a shade that would be sunny but not neon?

Yellow is one of the hardest colours to get correct and the most stunning when done right. My go-to answer about yellow, except for a front door, is to keep it the colour of a stick of butter, no darker.

I need a fresh look for my front door. I have a brick house and white trim. Any ideas?

I feel like this is the new "happy place" for everyone, and you can have a fun time picking brights or doing the softest pastels. I am right in the middle of picking a marine blue for my door this week. Go bold, and if you hate it, you can repaint in a day!

Two years ago, I bought an 1850s Second Empire townhouse. It was updated, but the dining room is tan grass cloth, old and faded in spots, with putty brown trim. I am neither a grass cloth nor a brown person but have lived with it due to other priorities. The room is dark, yet gets a lot of natural light. I want to lighten and brighten it with a bright white trim (there is a built-in bookcase on one wall so there’s a lot of trim) and colour. I’m considering chinoiserie wallpaper in pinks, aquas and blues. What about the rest of the walls? How about fuchsia or raspberry? Would that be too much?

Choose a paper that has both fuchsia and aqua to link it to your adjoining rooms. I would test both colours on the trim to see what works best with the paper and the light in the room.

I see a lot of rooms now have no curtains at all. How do you determine whether this more modern look will work in your living room?

The first thing to consider is whether you want privacy in that area. If no one can easily look into the room, going without curtains is a good option, as it will allow the maximum amount of light into the room.

In the old days, a room was not considered finished until it had curtains. These days, people seem to like a cleaner, simpler line that lets accent pieces shine in the room.

— Washington Post


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