The Denver Post

Update your home and back yard for summer

- By The Washington Post Q : I love the look of wallpaper, but I’m afraid of making such a permanent commitment. Any thoughts on other ways to add pattern to a room? Q : I have noticed a lot more color in kitchens. I would like to brighten ours but I don’

Designer Marika Meyer joined staff writer Jura Koncius last week on The Washington Post’s Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.

A: I have a lot of clients who express this concern, but once they take the plunge, they never look back. Wallpaper not only adds pattern to a room but papering the walls brings in texture and warmth (especially a grasscloth style). Sometimes you can achieve some of that same feeling by using art. Frame and hang a tapestry or vintage textiles. I filled a wall with a collection of framed Hermes scarves at last year’s DC Design House.

A: Color is in for kitchens, especially cabinets and tile. But without making those big changes, there is still a lot you can do. Painting your walls is an easy option and wallpaper is becoming even more popular in kitchens. Or, why not swap out your counter stools for a more colorful option? For a smaller change, look for vibrant accessorie­s such as a fruit bowl or salad plates in an attention-getting pattern.

A: For clients who like warmer tones, we use Benjamin Moore White Dove on trim and walls. On projects where we want a clean, crisp white, my favorite is Chantilly Lace. I just painted my older son’s room Chantilly Lace paired with a blue and white chevron paper. It’s very fun and will last him years.

A: It’s all about casual, approachab­le materials and lots of texture. Linen is always a great choice for a tablecloth, napkins or place mats. Layer on some texture with rattan or bamboo napkin rings or place mats. If you want to add some color, I love a colored water glass. Also, try incorporat­ing metallic elements. I love that gold and brass are back. There are some fabulous options available in glassware and even silverware.

Q : My oldest child is 10, with a bedroom in desperate need of a rehab. It’s time to lose the safari animals and grow up a little bit. But I’m struggling with what to choose so that we don’t have to update it again in three years when he is a teenager. Help!

A: The key here is balance. Make sure the larger, more expensive furniture pieces are something he can grow up with. Drop the kid’s furniture store and look for simply styled adult pieces. Room & Board has great transition­al items, and Anthropolo­gie sells unique finds. Changing out bedding and accessorie­s over time will allow the room to grow with your child and won’t cost you a fortune.

A: I love that you use your dining room. My mother-in-law has a wonderful saying — “life is not a dress rehearsal” — and I always think about that in our home. For the dining room, lots of shades of green can work. I would do something in a midtone range, such as Farrow & Ball Pigeon or Lichen. They can be dressed up or down, based on your plates. I also would not be afraid to create some contrast to your plates. Contrastin­g colors can add a new dimension to the room.

A: Think about wall color first; painting in a bright neutral will help lighten the room. Window treatments in light, sheer fabrics also help dress the space without making it feel too heavy. I would keep the larger goods light so they do not darken the room.

A: I use hurricane candle holders on our outdoor dining table and side tables. They prevent the wind from blowing them out, and you can use a large candle for events that go long into the night. I also layer in color with fruit or flowers on the bottom for a colorful touch to the table.

A: We often use Dash & Albert rugs, which can take heavy foot traffic and are easily cleaned with soap and water. I even have one in my family room and so far my two boys (ages 5 and 8) have not been able to destroy it.

A: When I sit down to create a floor plan, I always ask, “How will this space be used?” Ultimately, a room will feel like a space you want to live in if it is designed with a purpose in mind. Also, scale is key. Some new homes with open floor plans have large common living spaces. Make sure your furniture is sized appropriat­ely so it doesn’t get lost. If everything is too small, the room will feel cavernous and cold.

A: Hale Navy is one of my favorite blues. I would paint the ceiling at 50 percent of the wall color so that it does not contrast too much but keeps the intimate feeling that you are creating.

A: I love using vintage and antique accessorie­s on projects. I pick up items whenever I travel and keep a closet full of treasures to use on installati­ons. Locally, I always search at flea markets and thrift stores. Etsy is a great resource but watch out — you can spend a lot of time online looking.

A: Thanks! I actually found the scarves on eBay and they were very affordable. We had them framed in a simple white-wood frame that was budget-friendly. Because of the size and weight concerns, the framer used a plexiglass, which also helped our budget. It is a great way to creatively and inexpensiv­ely fill a large wall.

A: If your summers are humid, I would avoid putting the bureau outside as it will likely swell a great deal and you may see splitting of the wood. I found an old wicker piece and painted it for our porch. We sprayed a protective coat on top and it has lasted years.

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