Jack and Jill United

I recently had a great design question from a client of mine, S. Ryan from Cincinnati. She writes: “We are emptying our nest and I want to redecorate two bedrooms that have a bath in between, Jack and Jill style. Any ideas for a calm look with a little snap?”

I am very familiar with the spaces in question, as I was the designer for 3 of the Ryan Family's homes. When I worked with her she had a young family and now the two oldest are on their own. I called S. and asked her two main questions—what will the spaces be used for (bedrooms, craft room, exercise area, etc.) and what is the budget?

S. elected to use both rooms as guest bedrooms for their frequent visitors. Our budget fits the economic times and is “moderate” and to a designer this means using ready-made bedding although I always try to add some custom touches so our end result doesn’t look like it just walked out of Macy's. Ready-made choices are limiting and a lot has to do with how you combine elements and what unusual touches you can add to the accessories.

I began my research exploring both department and linen stores as well as the discount types like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls. S. loves color. Her first floor features French country blues and yellows, but upstairs in the private areas, the rooms can be decorated individually and not necessarily in a flow. In my research I was stimulated by the bright combinations of turquoise blue and medium lime greens, with white as the background. This color scheme goes well with any type of bedroom furniture -light or dark woods, painted or rattan.

I was happy to find a quilt/sham combination at one of the discount stores. These are bright colors, but with the correct choice of paint color you can achieve a degree of sophistication and calm. It is important not to select a paint that exactly matches a bright color in the fabrics. Unless it is a child’s room, use a paint color that has been “greyed down” so the color is a background, contributing to the overall effect and not overwhelming it.

The turquoise and green combination will work for the Ryan Family and I suggest we do one room in the brighter, happier scheme and the other in a more subdued tone with the interconnecting bath painted a periwinkle blue. We are using the “watercolors” which are so soothing, yet clean looking with the white background.

In the second room, instead of putting the aqua with the green, put it with cream and use more sophisticated furniture styles. One bedding idea for this room is from Pottery Barn. The Sausalito Stripe Organic Duvet Cover & Sham is a pretty aqua with cream in a nice stripe.

The paint samples I suggest we look at are provided courtesy of Sherwin Williams. Hazel (SW6471) is a beautiful, soothing green. Majolica Green (SW0013) goes to the lime tones and a pretty, sophisticated periwinkle is Celestial (SW6808).

We will use the existing beds in each room, but S. was willing to add a few new pieces. I found a beautiful French dresser in a painted, distressed blue and an unusual table for a nightstand. Headboards are optional, but there are many types to use. If you have an older looking bedroom set, just losing the headboard can update the look. And please, if you have those big double mirrors that match everything else, donate those to Goodwill and replace with a pretty framed one. Later this week we will concentrate on accessories for the rooms.

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