Show Your (Decorating) Colors

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(ARA) – Because of recent tragedies, Americans are looking more to home and family this year and want to create a safe and comforting haven in their homes. We are seeing a resurgence of national pride, as the flag is being flown everywhere. For many, money allotted for travel and entertainment will be re-channeled toward creating a refuge for our hearts, bodies and souls this fall and winter.

Something as simple as changing a light bulb from bright white to soft pink can make a room feel cozier. Filling in the empty spaces of a bookcase with books and symbols of our country will help to close-in a room. Draping tables, chests and chairs with old shawls or chenille throws depicting our flag will soften the area. Extra cushions with stars and stripes placed around the room, on chairs and even on the floor can add warmth.

Country and folk décor has long used the American flag as a theme. Red, white and blue are a great combination to accessorize a casual, comfortable mid-American home, a beach house with a pale color palette, or even a log cabin with a rustic and darker color range. As primary colors, red, white and blue mix and match with any setting.

Remember to think in threes or thirds. Select three colors — in this case, red, white and blue — in tones that work in your home. You should choose a main color, a contrasting color and an accent. Use the accent color in three places in the room. Choose three patterns, making sure they are in different scales so they don’t compete — for example, a large plaid, a medium star pattern and a small stripe. Keep proportion in mind, using the main print on two-thirds of a large area such as the walls or a sofa, and a secondary, contrasting print on the remaining one-third such as windows or a chair. The accent print should be used in three smaller areas such as cushions, lampshades or window shades. Patterns can be mixed on the same piece of furniture or wall.

Using striped wallpaper with a coordinating border is a classic decorating scheme. But if you are looking for a more casual look, try mixing two patterns on the same wall, again dividing by thirds. Apply one print over two-thirds of the wall and the other print over one-third of the wall. On furniture, upholster a chair or sofa in a stripe and finish with a star back. When mixing patterns, remember to give the eye a rest by including several solid color fabric and textures.

The news in the coming months will provide plenty of fodder for group gatherings and conversation. Having a comfortable setting for family and guests to discuss world events is important. Good furniture configuration is the basis of all room design, making your rooms both welcoming and functional. Decide if you want an intimate or open setting, and be sure to consider proportions. If the room is square, limit yourself to one conversation area, perhaps around a coffee table. But try angling the sofa or loveseat into a corner, rather than against a wall, or float two love seats opposite one another.

Don’t be afraid to use large pieces of furniture in small areas. An oversized buffet or armoire can give the impression of space more effectively than several, small fragile-looking pieces that guests may hesitate to use. Even today’s larger-scaled rooms with high ceilings and great floor space can provide intimate settings. If the room is large or rectangular in shape, create two or more conversation areas anchored with rugs. A valuable idea for lowering high ceilings is to paint the ceiling in a dark, warm tone. Hang large, vertical pieces of art or the American flag on walls to add a depth to a room.

Ideas for patriotic decorating will show up in most home decorating magazines and newspapers in the coming months. Some will be elaborate and difficult for the average homeowner to execute. Hanging a wall border, however, can be done in an hour. If you decide to hang wallcovering, remember to prime the wall first for easy installation and removal later. If the paper has a dark background, ask your dealer to tint the primer to prevent any seams from showing through. Now is the time for showing our true colors. We all support our country; the place to start is in the home.

Chesapeake Wallcoverings has a list of its patriotic borders and sidewalls that can be viewed at local wallcovering showrooms or on its Web site, Three of their recent collections, Family and Friends, Beekeeper’s Inn, and Angels and Ivy, offer homeowners a valuable resource for decorating tips and room concepts using these patriotic themes.