Interior designer and blogger David Mitchell was the guest on the Washington Post's Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt:
Q: My living room has a camel sofa and two off-white chairs. Any suggestions for paint colors that would add some color, but not overwhelm the space?
A: I would highly suggest using a blue/gray color, such as Benjamin Moore's "ocean air." It makes a great background for neutral upholstery.
Q: I noticed on your blog, David Mitchell Uncensored, that you painted your front door a glossy black. My house is red brick and I think the intense black would be too much. Any other suggestions?
A: If you want a black door but not pitch black, I recommend Fine Paints of Europe's Flint Black. It is a softer black and would look great on a red brick house. Another suggestion if you are going to have a black door: Do not paint your shutters black. You want the black door to be special.
Q: My husband and I do not want to know the gender of our baby before he or she is born. What is a nice, gender-neutral color for the baby's bedroom? We would prefer something besides yellow.
A: I would select a classic green color. If you have a boy, blue looks great with it, and pink works with green for a girl. And although I said classic, something a little more current wouldn't be bad. Try Benjamin Moore's "pale sea mist."
Q: I live in an all-beige house. How can I bring in more seasonal accessories to give it a warmer look?
A: Wood bowls are a great way to bring in seasonal accessories. Pottery Barn has large vintage carved wood bowls. They are great for a sideboard or coffee table, and you can fill them with mini pumpkins to add a dash of orange to a neutral space.
Q: I am looking at building a house. I really like high ceilings — higher than 9 or 10 feet. What do you recommend? Is there a recommended ratio for how big the room should be in comparison to the ceiling height?
A: If you stick to a classic proportion, the width of your room should be half the length, and the ceiling height should match the width.