Q We have just moved into a lovely home that has a large, year-round sunroom that extends from the family room. Do I continue my modern interior-decorating style into this area, or should I revert to traditional wicker furniture?
A: A sunroom is a special place. With the traditional architecture of three walls of windows, it is visually open to the outside, but sealed and protected from the weather. You experience the best of both worlds. Because you feel that you are outside, decorating this space is generally a casual affair. Furnishings are chosen to create a more outdoor mood, but you do not have to be too specific with regard to material. If wicker isn’t your style, then look for other options. Today’s synthetic weave garden furniture has year-round style. Check out the contemporary lines of Dedon’s Panama or Tribeca series at www.dedon.es. These have linear forms with gentle curves that create a welcome comfortable style. Use cushion fabric to link up your rooms by pattern or color.
There’s an exciting array of contemporary lighting options that share the versatility of indoor and outdoor living features. Bover has a series called Fora Mesa shown here that is an elegant weatherproof electric lamp with a modern esthetic. Finishes and lampshades come in white, gray and brown (www.bover.es).
Q: Previous owners decided to convert the two-car garage into a family room. It is sunken with three steps up to connect with our long, ranch-style bungalow. Lighting is very poor with only two strip windows, and there’s wall-to-wall mud-brown carpet and ceiling tiles. We are finding this large room difficult to decorate. We have started by painting the walls pale gray/green, which does brighten it up. In the furniture arrangement, the wide-screen TV and desk seem to get lost. We just don’t know what to do.
A: The solution to your decorating dilemma is primarily to install some proper lighting. Divide the space into an area for lounging in front of the TV, for working at the desk and for any other activities you would like to include, such as a crafts table or a kids play station. Pot lights distributed evenly in the ceiling will provide good general lighting.
Use dimmers to give you optimum freedom. Uplighting is a good source for highlighting a focal wall and creating a mood. Check out the new designs in LED lighting. You can install recess lights along the bottoms of the walls.
Then select task lights for the desk and the reading or craft space. The right lighting will bring the room alive and makes all the difference in how you enjoy the room.
Q: I have a split-entry home, and made a terrible mistake by having slate tile installed in my 4-by-6-foot entryway. The finish is dull, the color reminds me of a sidewalk at night, and even the size of the tiles looks wrong. The carpeting leading to the entryway is light blue with gray undertones. I don’t want hardwood, and marble is too expensive. What can I do?
A: Mistakes happen; it is not always easy to imagine what a new floor or wall color is going to look like, and while it is easy to repaint a wall, it seems such a waste, and expensive, too, to replace a floor. The most economical way to address your problem is with an area carpet. You can go as plain or as fancy as you like, with pretty modern florals, jazzy geometrics or simply a sophisticated monochrome weave.
Carpet tiles will work well, too, and you can create your own pattern. The carpet does not have to fit perfectly; the gray slate will make a good frame.
Another option is to paint the walls in a color that has no blue in it, such as an orange or peach shade. This will brighten the space.
Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow Travis on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis, and visit her website, www.debbietravis.com.com.