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Designer’s insight: How to pull a room together

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Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013 4:30 am

Interior designer and blogger David Mitchell recently took part in an online chat. Here is an edited excerpt:

My living room has a camel sofa and two off-white chairs. Any suggestions for paint colors that would add some color, but not overwhelm the space?

I would highly suggest using a blue/gray color, such as Benjamin Moore’s Ocean Air. It makes a great background for neutral upholstery.

I noticed on your blog, David Mitchell Uncensored, that you painted your front door a glossy black. My house is red brick and I think the intense black would be too much. Any other suggestions?

If you want a black door but not pitch black, I recommend Fine Paints of Europe’s Flint Black. It is a softer black and would look great on a red brick house. Another suggestion if you are going to have a black door: Do not paint your shutters black. You want the black door to be special.

My husband and I do not want to know the gender of our baby before he or she is born. What is a nice, gender-neutral color for the baby’s bedroom? We would prefer something besides yellow.

I would select a classic green color. If you have a boy, blue looks great with it, and pink works with green for a girl. And although I said classic, something a little more current wouldn’t be bad. Try Benjamin Moore’s Pale Sea Mist.

I live in an all-beige house. How can I bring in more seasonal accessories to warm it up?

Wood bowls are a great way to bring in seasonal accessories. Pottery Barn has large vintage carved wood bowls. They are great for a sideboard or coffee table, and you can fill them with mini pumpkins to add a dash of orange to a neutral space.

I am deciding on what kind, or combination, of floor to use in a walkout basement apartment. It has new double French doors to the outside stone patio. Any ideas on what would be best — all wood, wood in the galley kitchen and by the entry with carpet in the rest, or tile in the kitchen/entry? So many possibilities. Can you help?

I was just out at Marble Systems (www.marblesystems.com) in Fairfax, Va. They have this amazing porcelain flooring that looks like exotic wood or petrified wood. Very affordable and a great look. It would be perfect for the basement apartment!

I am looking for a new king-size bed frame for my bedroom. I have in mind a platform bed with simple headboard, clean lines and made of wood. No footboard. I have looked and everything is too fussy. Any ideas where to look?

I would check out Thrive and Design Within Reach. Scan is also another place to look; they have a classic platform bed.

I need a loveseat for my living room. The room is too small to have a full couch. It needs to be comfy and have armrests. I’ve been having trouble finding one that is affordable (under $1,000). I also would like it in off-white or cream, but at this point, I am willing to not be picky.

Do you prefer a modern or traditional sofa? If you are looking for a modern one, you should check out Thrive. They have many selections and a lot of mid-century-inspired pieces and great fabrics. If you want a traditional sofa, look at Ballard Designs, which is affordable and usually has nice fabrics.

I am looking at building a house. I really like high ceilings — higher than 9 or 10 feet. What do you recommend? Is there a recommended ratio for how big the room should be in comparison to the ceiling height?

If you stick to a classic proportion, the width of your room should be half the length, and the ceiling height should match the width.

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