You’ve got design questions. We’ve got the answers. Designer and Style at Home contributor Karl Lohnes solves your decorating challenges.
• DECORATING Q&A
Q➊ My large living room, dining room and hallway have textured wallpaper that I would like to update. Removing it would be daunting and the plaster walls – the house was built in 1963 – could be damaged in the process. Is it possible to put wallpaper on wallpaper?
--A. Eastwood, Toronto
PHOTOGRAPHY, LIME LACE WALLPAPER
S@H You can layer wallpaper on wallpaper if the existing layer is strongly secured with no bubbles or frayed or loose edges. The walls need to be primed, skimmed with plaster (to smooth out the existing textured surface) and then re-primed before applying a fresh layer of paper. The process would be the same if, instead of papering, you opted to paint over the existing wallpaper layer.
Q➋ For the past 15 years, we have lived in a bungalow that has parquet flooring (chosen by the previous owners) in the living room, dining room, hall and bedroom. It is top of the line and is in beautiful condition. It’s a yellowish oak colour. We would like to update it, but I do feel like I am destroying a perfectly good floor by throwing it into the landfill. Should we bite the bullet and do it? Or is there some way we can change it – or would this negatively affect resale value?
--V. Hudson, Stittsville, Ont.
PHOTOGRAPHY, GAP INTERIORS
S@H The simplest way to update wood flooring is to change its colour. Good parquet flooring can be sanded and stained. Use a professional who will do a quality job so that the floor looks great for many years to come. I suggest (as always) a walnut/chestnut brown stain, as it’s a decorator favourite that will go with many other wood colours you may have in your furnishings. Ask for a low-sheen finish for a modern look.
Q➌ We just bought a house that has two garage doors and four doors on the front facade. Do you think it would be a good idea to paint the garage doors black and the [main] front door white? Also, should the trim around the garage doors be white or black?
-- L. Marcouillier, via email
PHOTOGRAPHY, GAP INTERIORS
S@H Here are the basic rules when painting garage doors, front doors and trim.
• The garage door should be a slightly lighter or slightly darker tone than the colour of the body of the house. I prefer to paint the garage doors a shade or two darker than the siding on the house, which allows them to recede a bit.
• Trims are trims are trims! The trims around your garage doors, front door and windows should all be the same. If you like a lighter colour, look at a much, much lighter version than the siding of your home.
• Your main front door should be a different colour than anything else on your house. It’s what stands apart to show people where to go when arriving.
• The easiest way to choose a front-door colour is to pick one that is opposite on the colour wheel from the body of your house. For instance, if you have orangey-toned cedar wood siding, a green door or teal green door would probably work best. If you have grey or pale blue siding, then a yellow door (there are many yellows to choose from!) would work well.
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