Decorating Den’s Sue Pelley has been busy answering some Ask a Decorator submissions. Here is some of her latest advice:

A reader asked Decorating Den: “I have dark built in bookshelves in my living room. I put huge resin pottery barn sand dollars on top..they touch and go over the mom said they look horrible and definitely shouldn’t be touching/going over the moulding. What do you think? They fill the empty space nicely. There’s a fire place in the middle with built ins on either side.”

Sue commented: “Those are rather large for the space you have available. Perhaps you could angle the sand dollar in the corner on the top of your bookshelf? Or finding a large bowl/plate holder, and put it on the floor by your fireplace.”

Kariann asked Decorating Den “My sofa and love seat are antique made of wood and burgundy and green floral cushions. My question is what color do you suggest painting my living room. I’m trying to make it a brighter-happier room.”

Sue said: “Your sofa and love seat sound beautiful.  I’d suggest a soft green shade to brighten and lighten the room, and complement your furniture fabric.”

Sue asked Decorating Den: “Recently put in a new warm beige tile floor and cream colored subway tile with a dark chocolate brown liner. My walls are a light cream color and the cabinets are the traditional 1990 ‘s med. oak stain with dr. Bronze hardware on towel bars handles etc. The mirrors are an oil rubbed bronze color . The vanity top is a cream colored marble. I have an expensive rug that is predominately black and cream with a little accent of French blue and it looks great on the floor in there and I would like to use it but have no idea what color shower curtain and curtains to use in there? It is not a big bathroom and there is not a huge amount of light in there. Perhaps I should paint the walls a different color? Any help will really be appreciated!”

Decorating Den’s Sue had some advice: I think your wall color is fine – especially for a space that’s not too big.  Sounds like you have a beautiful area rug – perhaps you could capitalize on the soft French blue color in your area rug for your shower curtain, towels, and other accents.  I think adding this color in this way will finish off the room beautifully.

Reader Leonette asked Decorating Den: “Trying to decorate using pictures on built-in around fireplace & TV in family room. What type picture frames would you suggest I use?”

Sue suggested: “I suggest you use a variety of different picture frames – different in size – different in frames!  Your photo display will be much more visual interesting if it’s not all matchy-matchy!  Good luck!

Reader Catherine asked Decorating Den:  “My couch faces the door as you enter into the lounge/dining room. The television is on the opposite wall. The wall behind the couch has become a feature wall with three large framed paintings of Parisian ladies. The frames are like vintage bronze. Further along the same wall is a very large vintage bronze clock, the diameter being about the same length as the grouping of paintings. The opposite wall, however, is bare, other than the television on a cabinet and two small round tables on either side, one with the telephone and the other with Indian brass plates on the two levels of it. The wall on this TV side though is bare, and as it is not the feature wall, I don’t quite know what to do with it. I worry that if I do something with it, it may detract from the moving pictures on the television somehow.”

Sue said: I understand your concern.  It sounds like you’ve created a wonderful focal point wall opposite your television, and since each room needs one focal point – you have it already.  If you desire to put anything on your TV wall, I’d suggest some sort of simple, open design  metal art that will add just a bit of texture to this wall.

Reader David submitted: “Our family room is a large rectangular room of 13.5ft wide x 20ft length. The room has two windows centered on the 13.5ft wide back wall. As part of recent renovations, built in bookshelves and storage were created on the left wall that runs the length of the room. Additionally, a coffered ceiling was created that is equidistant from the new built ins and the right wall running the length of the room. Essentially the coffered ceilings are centered based on a 12ft width. The original windows, however, are centered based on the original floor space (13.5 ft width).  My question is when placing a dining table and over head chandelier in the room, should it be centered based on the 13.5ft width (wall to wall) or 12ft width (center of coffered ceiling/built in to wall)? If we center based on the coffered ceilings the table and chandelier are off center from the windows on the back wall. If we center based on the original floor space/center of windows on back wall, the table and chandelier are off center within the coffered ceiling and current open floor space. Where is the correct location for the table and chandelier?”

Sue’s tip: I would suggest you place your dining table under the coffered ceiling.  It sounds like this is a pretty dramatic architectural feature in this room.  Have you thought about treating your windows as one?  Perhaps with a traversing drapery that could help unify them a bit more, so as not to distract from your dining table placement.

Reader Teresa asked: “We had our bedroom closet reconfigured and had to reduce the door frame from a wide one (had accordion doors at one time) to regular door width. Before the work I used curtains (instead of doors)
hung at the top of the doorway by a pressure rod. But now that the doorway is so much smaller, I think that may look silly. Should I hang curtains from the ceiling (98in) and just a tad wider than the door to give a wider look? Or should I just hang curtains on the inside of the door way?”

Sue: “I would suggest that you hang the rod 5″ about the doorway and extend the rod on both sides 4”.