Design dilemma

Posted on Tue, 13 May 2008 by KiM

Tessa wrote us with a design dilemma hoping we could offer some help: “I am writing to you now with a problem of my own. We live in a beautiful 19th century mansion in Washington, DC. It is gorgeous and wonderful, but we rent it and are not allowed to paint any of the rooms. I am about to move into a different bedroom that is gorgeous, but painted one of my least favorite colors- burgundy. I hate burgundy! I tend to lean toward super bright hues (oranges, yellows, apple greens, etc.) when I decorate, and I am wondering (and hoping) that you guys might have some suggestions of what could possibly look good with this awful dark mess. Anything I have tried makes the room look like either a men’s smoking lounge or a cheesy Victorian salon. I haven’t seen you post many pics of burgundy rooms, so I thought you might have some cool ones hiding somewhere. Please help me out.”

I went through my photo stash and just as I suspected, no one paints a bedroom burgundy. 🙂 And I hate burgundy too!!! First, here are a few bedrooms that have dark walls (a couple burgundy-ish) that might inspire you to work with what you’ve got.

For alternatives, if you’re allowed to put holes in the walls, maybe you should consider finding some not-too-sheer sheers and hanging them from those wire systems (Ikea I think has it) around the room (if it’s not too big). Also, how about painting some really large pieces of foam core (if you can paint that stuff)/thin MDF and leaning it behind your bed, dressers etc. to hide as much of the burgundy as you can, or you can make a screen, like the one below.

And the following photo I thought was very inspiring and SO gorgeous. Now the walls are not burgundy, but imagine they were, and maybe the light shade of bluey-green that are used in the large upholstered pieces were a light pink. Sounds crazy but it could work to tone down the darkness, as they do in this photo.

I also suggest (along the lines of covering the walls) large painters canvas drop cloths painted with abstract forms or large script – wish I could send a photo, alas have none. The images you shared for this decorating dilemma are breathtaking!

Embrace your walls. Covering up always looks just like that, covering up. I do like the idea of a wall of sheers, very 80s! A massive screen/headboard will help too. I think there are a number of ways to go with colours. Kim was right on the money with that last photo but with pinks. White is another of my big suggestions. It will dilute the heaviness. Oranges pinks yellows and some yellow based greens will work as well. The other way to go is heavy – ethnic with dark woods, suzanis and kilims. Hang it this such a challenge I think I’m going to have to pull some pictures together myself 🙂

Yoli says:

Dark woods and one impressive element will help.

Anonymous says:

I had a room with wine colored walls. Very close to burgundy. Because the walls were so dark we kept everything else very light but NOT white. The color pallet I used was very pale pink (almost white), pale silver and pale grey-ish blue. It was really beautiful and felt light and airy during the day and cozy at night.

Anonymous says:

also check out this site for color tips.

Melanie says:

My current rental bathroom has burgandy walls. I used pink (decoupaged a shelf, towels) as an accent color.

I’m not a huge fan of pink or burgandy, but work with what you have.

Good luck!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are indicated by *