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Summer Hues 

Dear Debbie,

My girlfriend and I have just graduated from college and are renting a really great apartment together. We have jobs, but decorating dollars are scarce. We know that you'll have a brilliant idea for our living room. Cheerful funky is the look we're after. — Mel and Mia

Dear Mel and Mia,

Congratulations on finishing school. That's a big step, and I'm sure you're both ready to have your own space. There are such great colors to choose from in the cheerful palette. Happy shades of turquoise, all shades of pink, tangy lime green, lighthearted lavender are fresh, feel-good colors guaranteed to bring a smile. Use two of these colors applied in a pattern, and you've got a winning combination. Oversize shapes are popular today, so why not paint your own geometric pattern on the walls?

The oval or lozenge design shown here was produced with a homemade stencil. The base color is the pale turquoise; the stencil pattern represents the dark space in between the four corners of the oval shapes. Make a template of the oval shape and cut out four ovals from a piece of paper or cardboard. Arrange the edges touching in a square on a large piece of paper and draw around the corners to the halfway point of each oval. Trace the pattern onto a sheet of Mylar (stencil plastic) and cut it out. Add registration marks at the top, bottom and sides. Draw a grid on the wall that matches the registration marks. Use a small roller to fill in the pattern. This project takes some time to set up, but the results will make you proud.

Dear Debbie,

I plan to paint our sunroom a pale terra cotta with white trim, and the tiles on the floor are cream. This room leads to the 10-foot square dining room through a 6-foot archway. We have wainscoting in the dining room and hardwood floors. I'm perplexed as to what colors to paint. —Dorothea

Dear Dorothea,

You have picked a beautiful color for your sunroom that goes with most colors, especially other earth tones. Your choice for the dining room should be determined more by how you'd like the room to feel. A fresh shade of leaf green or sky blue would work nicely on the upper walls with white wainscoting. If you'd like a more contemporary look, try medium stone gray for the wainscoting and top with the sunrooms' terra cotta covered with a metallic silver glaze. It's fun to experiment with the new metallic and pearlescent paints. If you aren't happy with it, you can easily paint again.


Debbie Travis' House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email your questions to house2home@debbietravis.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St., 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. Copyright — 2007 Debbie Travis.

click to enlarge The large lozenge pattern looks like expensive wallpaper, - but was produced with paint and a homemade stencil.
  • The large lozenge pattern looks like expensive wallpaper, but was produced with paint and a homemade stencil.
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