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Can I paint one of my dining room walls a deep red?

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The question

I want to paint one of the walls in my dining-room area a deep shade of red, but the rest of the walls are vanilla-coloured, so I'm worried that the red will stick out and look funny. How can I make it work?

The answer

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The deep-red dining room stems from the Georgian period, when a darker colour was often painted above the chair rail and sometimes in the panels below. Typically, the chair rail is two and a half feet above the floor and wide enough to catch the top of the chair when you push it back, protecting the wall from scratches. The modern approach of having one feature wall could be jarring if it isn't tied back to other aspects in the room. I suggest doing the chairs in dark red leather with nail heads or coffering the ceiling and painting the flat portions red.

The idea is to stir the colour into a seamless decorative cocktail, not shake up the whole look.

Sure, James Bond preferred his cocktails shaken, not stirred, but he was chasing criminals and beautiful women, whereas you, I presume, are simply after a good meal.

Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace on Twitter: @ddtaylorddd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail

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