Pick your favorite color, and spread it around.
Shades of Green
The four-poster bed features spiral-turned twists, also called barley twists, a design commonly found in 17th-century manor houses.
| Credit: Laurey W. Glenn / Styling Leigh Anne Montgomery

One of the top five questions children ask when they're trying to figure you out: What is your favorite color? They ask the adults around them, siblings, classmates, and themselves. Turns out, kids are onto something. Consider this elementary question yourself. The answer could result in a retreat you absolutely love.

"Green is my favorite color. We had the paint color before we had anything else," Carolyn Trumbo says of the Fayetteville, Arkansas, master suite she shares with husband Scott Smith.

Of course, grown-ups need more specific color names than green or blue or red. In this case, it's a slightly mossy green called Ryegrass (SW 6423) by Sherwin-Williams. A second-grader would say, "If you love it so much, why don't you marry it?" We'll go with interior designer Kimberly Harper's choice. She covered the walls in it.

From there, Kimberly worked with Carolyn to pull together a masterful mix of traditional and unconventional. They picked out the barley twist four-poster bed at market and lavished it with lush bedding. Kimberly paired quilted fabric with a black-and-white print for the bedspread. The generous folds of the attached bed skirt maximize the regal height of the four-poster. (Even better, this spread makes easy work of early-morning bed-making.) Black and white, on fabrics and lamps, adds graphic punch to the green scheme.

In the bath, shades of green show up--literally--on the ceiling. The stripes echo the look of the bedroom's draperies. The rest of the space is a mix of neutral tones. The tub surround features split-face travertine tile and a marble top for natural texture.

Ceiling Style
The bedroom's striped draperies inspired the treatment on the bath's ceiling. For a similar look, choose three coordinating colors in shades ranging from light to medium to dark. Hint: For one-step coordination, pick up a paint strip and choose one hue from the middle and one from either end. There are also plenty of wallpapers on the market that can give your ceiling this look without quite as much labor.

If you plan to paint the stripes rather than hiring a pro, allow ample time to complete the job because it will put a strain on your neck and back.

Pages 56-58: Interior design by Kimberly Harper Interiors, Fayetteville, Arkansas, [479] 442-4999; bedroom wall paint is Ryegrass (6423) and bath wall paint is Ivoire (6127), both by Sherwin-Williams, www.sherwinwilliams.com (R); bath cabinet knobs from Anthropologie, www.anthropologie.com (R).

"Shades of Green" is from the February 2008 issue of Southern Living.