Let There Be Light: How to Get the Look

A grouping of mercury-glass pieces is displayed in the guest room.
A grouping of mercury-glass pieces is displayed in the guest room. (Gordon Beall)
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Loi Thai, co-owner of Bethesda antiques store Tone on Tone, gives these tips for achieving the style of his D.C. home.

"White floors create a nice foundation for furniture to rest on. They are also very forgiving with lint and dust," says Thai. "To lighten dark floors without the expense of refinishing them, cover them with the largest sisal rug you can find." He buys his sisal rugs from C.G. Coe & Son in Bethesda.

Paint different rooms in variations of one color. "I start out with Benjamin Moore's Classic Gray and then go lighter or darker depending on the amount of light in the room," says Thai. "The trim is painted the same color as the walls." (The walls are a flat finish; the trim is low luster.)

Freshen rooms with painted furniture. "Instead of replacing your entire dining room furniture set, keep the dark table but get new painted dining chairs. If your budget is tight, just replace the two end chairs."

Stay away from formal, fussy fabrics. Instead, keep it simple with cotton and linen or indoor-outdoor fabric. "Solid fabrics are more conducive to changing throws, pillows and artwork seasonally."

Group like items together. "It makes more of an impact, and it's not as scattered or haphazard," says Thai, who collects many things, including ironstone, lusterware, ceramics, Swedish folk horses and mercury glass.

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