All photos/art by Lynn Karlin
One of Lynn Karlin’s best strategies for decorating on a dime was to use a palette of white, gray, yellow, green, and blue paints to define spaces and pull the cottage together. Here’s how:
1. Karlin began with a base of whites, pale grays, and off-whites on the floors and walls, knowing she’d have plenty of opportunities for accent colors on stair risers, window sashes, and ceilings.
2. She also added neutral accents, as with the old rowboat paddle that serves as a railing on the staircase. It’s painted the same gray hue as the living-room floor and provides a restful spot for the eye amid the brighter colors in the room.
3. To accentuate the diagonal element of the stairs and to add a touch of whimsy, Karlin painted the treads a soft green, kept the risers white, and painted the trim yellow–an accent color that leads the eye upwards.
4. When shopping at flea markets and yard sales, Karlin looked for painted furniture in complementary colors, such as the end tables in greens and blues and the yellow table in the center of the room. The effect is harmonious, without being “matchy.” Then she painted the kitchen cabinets in a soft green that complements the rest of the furniture.
5. Painting the kitchen floor bright blue was risky, but the strong color perks up the tiny back room.