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posted: 3/22/2014 5:45 AM

Looking for chandeliers and sectionals to update your look?

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  • Interior designer Michael Hampton says there are many outdoor fabrics perfect to upholster furniture for a beach home.

    Interior designer Michael Hampton says there are many outdoor fabrics perfect to upholster furniture for a beach home.
    Courtesy of

The Washington Post

Interior designer Michael Hampton joined staff writer Jura Koncius last week on The Post's Home Front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.

Q. What are some of your favorite lights or chandeliers to use in a dining room?

A. I always like to find vintage or antique pieces. But I love the fixtures from Dessin Fournir and Circa Lighting.

Q. I am having my kitchen renovated and opened up to the living and dining room area, which gets bright light all day long. My granite is Verde Laura and the cabinets are off-white. There is parquet flooring in the living and dining room. Can you suggest a paint color for the living and dining rooms? I like Benjamin Moore paints.

A. I'm not sure what the Verde Laura looks like, but I'm assuming it is in the green family. What if you did the walls in a pretty, soft green like Peaceful Garden or Pistachio Ice Cream from Benjamin Moore's Color Stories line?

Q. I'm looking for a kid-friendly sectional that looks great and won't cost more than a small car. Any suggestions of where to start my search?

A. West Elm or Pottery Barn would be my first stops.

Q. I'm looking for ideas on decorating a rental beach house. I want to update the look but not spend too much money. The house gets a lot of wear and tear, so durable decorating ideas would be best. Painting is not an option, but lamps, pictures, etc., would be good.

A. There are so many incredible outdoor fabrics available on the market now for upholstering, making pillows, etc. Think of materials that will take the abuse. Metals and durable woods such as oak. I love the outdoor sisals that are available through Sisal Direct. They look almost like real sisal and you can hose them off.

Q. We have a moss-green sofa and a muted cream/burgundy/navy/green tapestry armchair in the living room. Light hardwood floors and light wood coffee table. I would like an area rug to anchor that part of the room, but I am not sure if I should look for something solid-colored or if a patterned rug would be okay. How can you tell if different patterns are working together or fighting each other?

A. It's important in this case to consider the scale of the patterns. If the scale of the pattern on the chair is larger, you might look at doing a more neutral-colored rug in a soft green and cream that's in a smaller-scale pattern. To connect the colors on the sofa and chair, perhaps you could bring some pillows on the sofa that pick up colors from the chair.

Q. I live in a new home with 12-foot ceilings. We need large wall art for some big walls, but we can't afford to pay $5,000 per canvas. I am not a fan of reproductions. Any suggestions where to look for affordable, original art?

A. That's a tough one ... check out local art schools to see what their students are doing. They often have shows that feature their work, and usually they're for sale. There's some great talent out there.

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