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Interior design: Beware of accent walls when giving rooms a fresher look

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Interior designer Michael Roberson was the guest last week on The Post’s Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt:

I’ve grown tired of my white, beige and tan furniture. I don’t want to purchase new furniture or reupholster because of the costs, but thought I could add color to the walls. What paint colors would you suggest?

Painting the walls is an option, but given your pale palette I would use a soft color that flatters you on the walls, then use a more intense color on pillows and accessories.

I want to paint my bedroom a Benjamin Moore gray with an accent wall in yellow. The room has a large window and gets morning and afternoon light. The room is currently painted yellow. Should I stay with yellow or go with gray? What color gray and what color yellow for the accent wall should I use?

Unless the architecture is very modern or the wall has a very clear separation, I’m leery of accent walls. Instead, why not use gray on the bedding or a painted piece of furniture? To find a gray that complements your yellow, take a sample of the yellow with you to the paint store. Then use that sample to select fabrics.

I’m planning to redo the upstairs bathroom in my house. The room is tiny and will remain that way. I’d love advice on flooring options that will stand the test of time. Tile?

Tile is always the best option in a bath. There are lots of options available to you. In a small bath I would suggest using either a small-scale one-square-inch tile or a 12-square-inch stone tile. One creates a pattern and the other could expand the sense of space. I wouldn’t use anything too bold or patterned.

Can a kitchen backsplash just be painted, or should I go with tile?

I think that’s a budget thing. Paint is affordable and could be fun. There are many options for a backsplash: tile, stone, stainless steel and some fabulous glass panel options as well as mirror.

What type of blind or curtain is fashionable today? Does it depend on the style of window?

Fashionable isn’t really a word I like to use when it comes to interiors. You don’t want to keep going in and out of style. You’re correct that the choice does depend on the style of window — also the function of the window covering. Is it privacy or to filter light or decorative? Deciding that can help you find the right choice.

I’m at a loss as to what to put on my walls. They’ve been painted, but there is no art hanging up. I will do a couple of wedding photos, and I have one or two unique art pieces, but not enough to fill a home. I’m not a fan of mass-produced artwork. I want my pieces to have a story. However, I don’t have the funds available to buy one-of-a-kind pieces. Where could I look?

If the pieces you have are all about the same size, I would hang them together as a grouping. I would also find a wonderful, large mirror and place it on an important wall. Mirrors do a great deal more than reflect your image. They bring light and motion into a room. It isn’t important to have something on every wall; blank walls are also nice. Most important, it sounds as if you are just married. Congratulations. You will have a lifetime to acquire art that you love.

I’m thinking about replacing my old linoleum kitchen flooring. I have kids and pets. Where to start?

Definitely not wood, as it scratches too easily. Cork is a wonderful option. The tiles are sealed and very easy to take care of. You also might consider Marmoleum, the modern version of my grandmother’s linoleum floor. It comes in great colors and is very “green.” It’s biodegradable, made of natural materials and doesn’t off-gas anything.

We have a two-bedroom apartment and have to use a guest room as an office. What do you suggest we use for a bed — a pull-out couch? A daybed? A futon?

If you have the room, I might opt for a daybed. Although sofabeds have improved, they will never be as comfortable long-term. A daybed with bolsters and pillows would be great for seating and sleeping.

Did you always know that you wanted to be a designer, or did something happen that triggered you to want to go in that direction?

Life is interesting. When I was 7 years old, I won the Scholastic Art competition in Houston with a linoleum print of rabbits. That got me a scholarship to a fine-arts school. At 16, I realized I wasn’t going to be a great artist, just a good one, and changed my focus. But that art training formed the basis of my success as a designer.

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