Home & Garden

On Design | Reinventing your rooms

A frieze or border makes a fantastic wall design to display distinctive elegance.
A frieze or border makes a fantastic wall design to display distinctive elegance. Knotting Hill Interiors

Question | How can I paint or design a wall in my home with customized, formal style?

Answer | A frieze or border makes a fantastic wall design to display distinctive elegance. For one of my interior design clients, I created the look and feel of panels on a sitting room wall. We decided upon a French theme to be reminiscent of a Parisian parlor.

The concept involved designing and hand-painting faux panels to appear as an integral part of the room’s architecture. Rather than renovating the room with carved-wood or plaster panels, I drew a sketch of the panel design I had in mind. From there, I worked with a local artist to paint my panel design onto the walls, creating classical impact and grandeur.

The best way to achieve formality in this type of design is painting the wall a light shade and using a subtlety darker hue for the painted panels or other wall accents.

Adding a fresco like this to your home may sound simple, but I suggest retaining a professional if you want refined and polished results.

Q. | Do you have ideas for decorating a small, awkward hall space between my dining room and kitchen?

A. | Two factors play roles in decorating hallways that are small in scale or have limited wall space for placing furniture – simplicity and balance.

Always leave a small transition area between rooms uncluttered. Minimalism can be vibrant and sophisticated with the use of one staple piece of furniture to create a focal point. For some hallways, I like to avoid the expectation of a hall table. My design staff and I often choose unanticipated furnishings for hallways based upon the space.

A single chair set on an angle can provide a sense of foundation as well as comfort for the hall. Perhaps most important, a hall chair distinguishes the two rooms flanking the hallway. White or neutral fabric for a hall chair lends to fashionable, understated style. In contrast, you may want to select a bold or bright accent color to add a touch of liveliness for a chair cushion and wall art.

Q. | Do you have suggestions for how to change my family room from plain and bland to colorful?

A. | A strong use of color along with functional seating arrangements help create cozy spaces that invite you to sit and stay a while. When it comes to color, be careful not to take yourself and your interior rooms too seriously. My own formal living room is arguably the most dramatic room in my home.

A bold color theme of blue, green, burnt orange and coral, three sweeping archways painted a lovey smokey blue and creamy white columns with capitals atop and bases below all converge in unpretentious and casual stylishness.

With a goal of keeping the room’s color spontaneous and comfortable, I had two wingback chairs upholstered in a zigzag-pattern fabric comprising the space’s overall color palette. Balance of color was accomplished by centering two tufted, solid-blue sofas in the room, each facing the other. Two identical blue Murano chandeliers brightly oversee the space and enliven the room.

As a designer, a lesson I have learned is that color is the most compelling and personal component of design. Big doses of color within a cohesive, well-planned framework can make a house a home.

Q. | How should I bring earth tones and animal prints into my home without it being too overwhelming?

A. | One of the best ways to create a welcoming space is by using earth tones, like a rich brown, tan or beige, deep orange and warm green. These colors help yield a down-to-earth impression of the outdoors.

The semiannual Pantone Fashion Color Report for fall has predicted popular hues will be displayed in earthy, neutral tones. One of the report’s colors, Dried Herb, is a light olive-green shade that has been transformed into a color we now perceive as sophisticated. It makes for a wonderful wall paint color to ground a room.

Pair this warm green wall color with the deep accent shade of chocolate or eggplant in the form of an animal-print chair fabric to create a mesmerizing design duo.

Myrtle Beach-based interior designer KIMBERLY GRIGG is the owner of Knotting Hill Interiors and specializes in designing, renovating and redecorating homes in the South and beyond. She also is author of “Secrets of Southern Design.” Visit www.knottinghillinteriors.com and www.itssofabulousblog.com. Email kimberly@knottinghillinteriors.com to submit a design question for consideration.