Decorating & Furniture/Stairways


I would like to have some advice on creating continuity in stairways. We have a split-entry house, i.e. standing at the entrance, one has to decide going either upstairs or downstairs. The entrance is fairly small and the floor is porcelain floor tile in creamy white. Upstairs floor is Brazilian cherry hardwood, but window and door trims are in dark walnut. We have decided to go with a color between(but closer to cherry) for the baseboard in upstairs to blend them. Downstairs is trickier, where it has a open floor, part of it is creamy white carpet and the rest is parquet wood floor in light walnut. Looking down from the entry way, you can see both, but the stairs join the parquet. The wall of downstairs is wood-paneled in red oak, which can also be seen from the entrance. What is your advice to sort this 'color mess' out with the stairways? Should we go for carpet that matches downstairs or wood stairs? For the wood stairs, which color? cherry, walnut or red oak? BTW, the stairways are kind of narrow though.

Hi Karen,
        I would use red oak stairs. This will tie in the stairs and the walls on the lower floor. The carpet on the lower floor will tie in with the tile entry and the walnut parquet ties the top and lower floors together since you have walnut trim upstairs. In a nutshell, as long as a material is repeated somewhere else in  room/house in different amounts it will look ok. In your case the wall area downstairs is greater than the stairway and the walnut parquet is greater than the trim upstairs; the white carpet is greater than the tiled area of the entry; the finishes and colours don't jar the eye, and don't look out of place as they are repeated throughout. Hope this helps, and good luck :)

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G. Norah Baker


My areas of expertise are color selection and accessories. But I have a general knowledge of all areas of interior decorating and would be able to answer questions in any area.


I have decorated over ten houses and apartments and have consulted on five outside projects. I have had an interest in decorating since my teens.

I graduated with highest honors (96%) from Thomson Education Direct in 2002

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