The Class – Chapter 2


Decorating Ideas that Work by Heather J. Paper

Last week I shared Chapter 1/Class 1 of my decorating class. We focused on finding your style so this week we will be talking about:



Red, yellow and blue are your primary colors and when mixed create every other color on the color wheel. Green, orange and purple are secondary colors and are created by mixing equal amounts of two primary colors.

You may remember from your youth, “yellow and blue make green.” From there, red and yellow make orange and red and blue make purple. Beyond that there are tertiary, complimentary, analogous and monochromatic colors.

Red is dramatic in large doses and is a good choice for eating areas as it is supposed to stimulate the appetite. Yellow adds warmth to a room and looks good in the kitchen. Blue is also a good choice for the kitchen as well as the bathroom. It brings a sense of serenity to a room.


Moving along the color wheel, green is restful and relaxing. The darker you go with your greens the more masculine feel you will likely create in the room. Orange will add warmth to a room. Keep in mind that “peach,”  which is in the orange family, is good for living spaces because it generally flatters skin tones. Finally, purple gives a regal feeling. On the lighter end, lavender, it will add a feminine touch. If you want to use dark purples, use sparingly – it is very strong and can overpower the room.


Fabric can add dimension to a room. Have you ever noticed that when you walk into a room some fabrics have more of a “presence” than others? Or at the very least, some of them seem more durable than others?

I have animals so for me, I like durable. If you fall into that category, then you are looking for canvas, wool and leather. Although be warned, if you have a leather couch, it will show scratch marks if your dog gets up there and does that nesting thing that dogs sometimes do. I speak from experience on this (The Southern Gent and Laddie were estranged for a brief period after this unfortunate incident).

In addition, chenille, mohair and chintz are also durable.

Close-up of furniture upholstered in chenille.

Close-up of furniture upholstered in chenille.

If your curious, chenille is French and translates to caterpillar – the critter of which the fabric is reminiscent.


I love paisley!

Chintz, a cotton fabric with a glazed finish, is most commonly found in floral forms.

Regal purple mohair chair!

Regal purple mohair chair!

Mohair, as well as being durable, also has a luxurious look to it – good for sofas and chairs.

Don’t forget about patterns in your particular fabric(s) you select. If you want a lot of color and pattern, look no further than your window treatments. Large patterns also look good on big pieces of furniture like your sofa. A medium scale pattern is good for chairs and ottomans. As to small patterns, good for pillows and other small items. If a small scale pattern is appealing to you, remember though that it will often “read” as a solid.


I really like white. I love it when I see a picture of a room that is mostly done in whites and/or creams and it still manages to look great. Somehow it does not look the same all over even though there is really only one color being used. It is the textures at play in the room that give it this visual interest.

telling the white story

Even the wood ceilings and floors provide additional texture in this room!

Textures add this visual interests because different textures reflect light from their surface differently. So, even though you have the same color on several different fabrics and surfaces, the different textures affect how you view those colors and surfaces.  If you are going to use a lot of neutral hues (or all white), texture is your friend.

Next week, Walls and Windows.


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