You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2010.

Camden, by American Drew

There are his and hers sinks, towels, even furniture. So why not a master bedroom split down the middle… with his stuff on one side and her stuff on the other. The good news is that wouldn’t even need to be marital stife or separation preceedings in place… this could just be fun.

This bedroom shows how it could be done (though in this example, one could argue neither of these particular colors are especially his-ish).

Center the bed on one of the walls and paint the two halves of on each side a different color. Place a dresser or dressing table on her side of the room and a chest of drawers on his side.  Add a hers chair in her corner of the room and a more manly his chair in his corner… and you’re done.

To avoid this idea going very badly, a few tips: 

(1) use colors that are compatible. Colors should have something seriously in common with each other… both rustic colors (straw and denim), both chic colors (champagne and slate), both classic colors (amber and bordeaux), both romantic colors (old rose and olive), etc. Or his and hers colors could be drawn from a painting above the bed.

(2) use matching curtains or blinds over windows (if they exsit) on both sides of the room, or match them to the color of the wall they’re in front of.

(3) use matching lamps on the night stands.

(4) use one furniture style, though pieces could be chosen with a his and hers approach.  

(5) center an area rug and artwork between the two sides to tie the whole thing together!


Painting just one wall in a room a strong color is awfully tempting. If we’re reluctant to paint the entire room a color that’s just a litte too memorable, painting just one wall can seem like the perfect solution.

But changing colors between walls within a room is tricky. More often that not, the room ends up looking choppy and abrupt. But in the case of this dining room, the amber-colored accent wall  worked perfectly. Here’s why!

The accent wall color has something in common with the other walls. The amber color (right) and old gold color (left) are both warm… in fact, they sit right next to each other on the color wheel. They’re also similar in value – meaning the amber color is darker than the old gold color, which is only right for an accent wall…  but only slightly  making the transition less shocking.

The key furniture in the room is placed against the accent wall. The sideboard was placed directly in front of the accent color. It always works better to create a scene in front of the accent color – it sort of reinforces why the accent color is there.  In this case, since the sideboard wasn’t tall or big, artwork and accessories were added above to build up its size and importance, helping it stand up to (and even hide some of) the strong hue.

The accent color is repeated around the room. The amber color is picked up on the curtains on the adjacent wall. It has sort of a balancing effect. It’s also seen in the artwork and accents on the table.

The furniture can stand up to the accent color. One of the things we’ve got to love about all the dark brown furniture in vogue right now (since there’s so much of it!) is that it holds its own against bright colors. Case in point here; the furniture isn’t swallowed up by the wall color. It’s one step darker yet, and the accent wall simply creates a backdrop for it.

There’s plenty of daylight to offset the darkening effects of an accent color. A lot of light isn’t necessary if a dining room is used just for dining. But for most of us, the dining room can be a multi-purpose room; a large window helps balance a dark color.

Here’s a good example of how to use white paint in a classic dining room without it looking too stark or modern!

The classic look of this dining room comes from the design of the dining room furniture (especially that Greek klismos-inspired chair) and some pretty strict symmetry (the Greeks and Romans loved their symmetry…  everything on one side of the room mirrored on the other side). Notice the very definite center reinforced with the artwork and wall sonces centered on either side of the chandelier.

But the room gets a few updates that make it feel fresh and contemporary.

First, all that white paint is pure modern! But notice how carefully it’s used. The symmetry is reinforced with the center panel painted white to highlight the centered artwork. But the cafe au lait color (Benjamin Moore #1077) above the white dado warms up the room (the colors were picked up from the rug).

The furniture finish is also darker than most classic furniture (nearly black), giving it a more contemporary feel.

The only thing I’d have changed are the light fixtures. I like the centered chandelier with the wall sconces on either side, but I’d have looked for something simpler – an alabaster glass lamp (with coordinating wall sconces) would have been more classic and more contemporary (like the room), rather than the shaded lamps.  Here are two possible alternates that I like for this room.

On the left, this classic chandelier coordinates with the furniture, but adds a more classic feeling with the alabaster glass lamps. Source: LampsPlus, Valmont Collection. $299.99.  #67177.
On the right, definitely more modern! But the black furniture, contemporary artwork and white walls could handle it. Source: Lamps Plus, Possini Euro. $399.99.
For more home decor ideas, download our free magazine at