Ask a Designer™
decorating a teenage room
Q. My 16 year old daughter and I are redecorating her room. The decor will center around a fabric we bought that has huge black flocked flowers on a silky white. Bedding and draperies will have to be custom made which will use a lot of our budget. I would like your help with wall color, furniture, and art. My daughter is very artistic and wants too many things for her small room.
She wants French art on canvas, a chalk board paint that allows her to write in chalk, black, aqua, and white on walls. (I have no idea which color she can bear to see again on the fourth wall), small pieces of inexpensive black and white photography, her favorite scrapbook pages around a mirror, black doors, and a bulletin board effect for her own work. We have aqua accents on the bedding, but the overall room needs to be black and white with some pastel or muted color to tie in the French art which is apparently a must-have. The big cost is the furniture. She currently has very high quality but old, modern style furniture in a gold color. The drawers are deep which hold her extensive wardrobe. She likes mirrored furniture, black, and painted silver. Everything I can find and afford is much smaller and lower quality than what she has. I think she will listen to my guidance, but I’m torn in eliminating things she loves so much. What elements would work best? —M.M.
A. The wall decor can be simplified, but all teenagers tend to want to surround themselves with everything they love, so we will make more concessions for clash and clutter than for an adult room. First, I would assign aqua paint to the wall behind the dominantly black and white bed which will be an anchor for energetic designs.
Your daughter has a more thought-out version of scrapbooking than most teenagers employ using tape, pins, and gum, to adhere the most amazing things to the wall. Typically, we install a corkboard to contain ongoing changes. In this case, I would encourage a carefully planned out chalkboard (black) wall with writing (not much drawing) in the colors of the French paintings.
Place the paintings directly on the chalkboard wall. The bolder black-on-white drapery will go on this wall too and relate to the bed. Consider using the scrapbook pages as wall paper. To use them in this way eliminates haphazard hanging and costly framing. I would paper a whole wall with them or make a controlled border around the dresser. That leaves one wall which can be light grey or soft white. As for the furniture, the modern aspect of the current furniture is desirable.
It is very difficult to find deep drawers in a lower price point, so I vote Ms. Artsy gets to transform her furniture into a black and silver masterpiece. With the look you have going, the paint work does not have to be perfect. New hardware is all you need. It sounds gorgeous. I’m surprised she hasn’t requested a black chandelier! There is still time.
window treatment to show window, hide background
Q. We recently opened a Monell’s restaurant at the New Orleans Manor for hosting special events, especially weddings. We would like some elaborate draperies throughout, but have some concerns about the stairway window. Bridal photography will focus on the area. The window is beautiful but without much wall around it. The woodwork has been cleaned and restored to show its original beauty. The trim surrounding the large arch is stained, and all the other trim is white. Outside the window is a telephone pole complete with street light and wires we don’t want showing in photography. If you have to cover the arch window with fabric, it’s ok, but we would rather see the window trim. What design can you make that is full and elaborate that will let the window show some but still cover the view?—C.J.
A. There is some space above the window which can be maximized by eliminating hardware, using ordinary lumber, and mounting immediately at the ceiling. The sides will have to occupy a little space, but tiebacks will hold the drapery off the glass for your eye to follow the trim upward enough to perceive the window.
The mullions within the arch and the trim are so beautiful that we should do everything we can to allow them to show, however we need to be sure there is enough fabric to be “full and elaborate.” I would like to install a decorative or privacy glass so that the view is blocked and light is diffused. An outside installation will be an easy fit and much less costly than inside mounted work, however actually replacing each pane is the best option for long term value. The window is tight into the wall space so that we can’t go wild with draping fabric.
Framing it with swags and panels begins to give you an elaborate look. Jabots along the sides direct the eye downward while fringe provides formality. If we carefully choose a translucent fabric, we can make a treatment within the arch that will enhance the swags and provide interest inside so that the view doesn’t focus on the street light outside.
Sheer with pattern is appropriate for the era of the home. A bronze-brown color will relate to the stained portion of the trim and allow the white mullions to shine through. Pulling the sheer back and letting it fall with jabot-like ends adds style and interest lower down on the window approaching the area where a bridal party would stand. With this design, only a small portion of the outer trim is covered. Since the draping of fabric is restrained just a little, adding decorative holdbacks, rosettes (preferably jeweled), rope, and tassels in key locations gains historical ornamentation and opulence.
Editor’s Note: We welcome all questions related to home design—ask us about color, room arrangement, planning for a new home, selecting furnishings, lighting, flooring, and more. Questions are answered by Tanna Miller, allied member ASID, a well respected designer who has operated her award winning interior design practice, Trends & Traditions, in Nashville for 18 years. Visit http://www.shopdesignnashville.com/ or call 615-601-0552.