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Interior Paint Color Schemes: Living Room, Bedroom, Dining Room, etc

After wallpapers we can consider paint and distemper. Color combinations are of endless variety, and the examples mentioned are only intended to indicate the possibilities of carefully-planned decoration.

Dining Room

A dining-room that breaks away from conventional associations in color must possess a freshness and interest that raises it above the commonplace and the ordinary without making it either startling or unrestful. The woodwork might be dove grey, with distempered walls in apricot, and a white frieze above the grey picture rail; the curtains in champagne; with a black-stained floor, and one big Persian rug on it. The furniture could be a mixture, a bold one such as would startle the orderly minds of collectors but which would prove exceedingly pleasant in such surroundings. The chairs could be Regency, the dining table Sheraton, and the sideboard perhaps modern, or even in its stead there could be used a chest as a serving table. A bow-fronted, French oak chest has been used for this purpose and proved very practicable, since the drawer space it afforded for the storing of cutlery was a great advantage. There could be an Empire, mirror overmantel, with glass and china arranged thereon, and pictures in broad, gilded frames.

Buckram Frieze for the Dining Room
Buckram Frieze for the Dining Room.


A smoking-room or small library could have biscuit-colored walls with white woodwork. Fitments for books might fill the recesses on each side of the chimney piece, these also being painted white. A buff carpet, and curtains and loose covers in Autumn leaf linen could be used; oak furniture; pictures in broad, oak frames; while blue and white china and brass candlesticks on the mantelshelf would assist in creating an effect of restful comfort. Blue and yellow flowers would be in harmony with the rest of the color in such a room.

Morning Room

A morning room in pale primrose, with mouldings applied to simulate panelling above the dado, could be very attractive, these mouldings being picked out with white, breaking up the solid tone of the walls and lending additional interest to the general design of the room.

Living Room

For a living room the walls could be distempered in lemon, with the woodwork in grey. Curtains of blue repp would introduce another note of color, and a black-stained floor with two or three Persian rugs would balance the tone of the walls. For furniture there could be modern easy chairs, and Regency single chairs, and a Hepplewhite sofa. There can be walnut and gold Queen Anne carved mirrors over the mantelpiece, and a pair of tall, gilt Georgian mirrors flanking the chimney breast, set back in the recesses, and in front of them a pair of Sheraton side tables in mahogany inlaid with satinwood. The fender can be of fretted design in steel or brass, and there can be a cast Jacobean fireback, with modern steel fireirons and coalbox. There can be prints or etchings mounted in wide white mounts enclosed by narrow black polished frames, or paintings and water colors in soft-lined gilt frames. A room of this type is a very adaptable background, although oak furniture would appear out of place in it.

A very simple, straightforward scheme is to use a buff-colored distemper for the walls and paint the skirting and woodwork dark brown. If polished oak doors could be fitted the effect would be better, for they would carry out the impression of an early style. This is the simple sort of setting most suitable for oak furniture, and it is in such a room that a bricked fireplace really looks its best. Tapestry or panels of needlework can be hung on the walls, for it is in this type of room that such work can be best displayed.


A bedroom with silver-grey distemper on the walls, and the woodwork painted a dark steel-grey, can acquire warmth of tone from blue curtains, and bright-colored rugs or string mats on the floor. Mahogany or painted furniture would be good in this type of bedroom, but if painted the furniture should be light grey or white.


After living rooms and bedrooms we come to the bathroom, which is usually found decorated in a fashion purely conventional. Why black and white and blue and white should have become the set colorings for bathrooms is a mystery, and although a bathroom with a dado of blue Dutch tiles is admitted to be very pretty, it is better to break away from convention wherever possible, because convention becomes stiff and uninteresting, without vitality or living movement. The bathroom can be distempered and varnished, and a shade of primrose used on the walls. There can be black lino or cork lino on the floor, and for furniture it is an excellent plan to paint an ordinary Windsor chair white. Wallpapers full of life and color can be used, and a panel of tiles beside the bath would be sufficient to protect the wall from the splash of water. There are many wallpapers manufactured in France that would be admirable, for there is a suggestion of futurism in their design, and their color is exceptionally attractive. A washable mat in vivid color can be used as a rug, and there can be more color in the curtains. Strong colors in the bathroom tend to give the place a less frigid appearance in the winter and increase its brightness in summer.


Staircases should be as simple as possible, especially in small houses. Buff paper or distemper on the walls, with woodwork painted a heavy cream, and the treads and risers of the stairs and the balusters of dark walnut color, give us a straightforward and easily-executed scheme. Ordinarily the decoration of the staircase is simply a continuation of that of the hall, and halls should always be unpretentious and restrained in their treatment.

If at all times we recognise and remember the value of judicious simplicity and clean color in decoration our rooms will attain not only charm but the distinctive dignity of real character.

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