Editor’s note: In editing Patti Cowger’s column over the years, I found I was increasingly guilty, each time she filed her column, of acknowledging it with a question for her, as in “Thanks for the column; by the way, do you think I should buy a shower curtain with a giant octopus on it?”

In a recent conversation with Patti, I learned I wasn’t the only one sending questions her way each time she writes. Hence, here is the launch of a new feature, inspired by the many questions she receives. This will run every other week.

The answer to the octopus shower question was a simple one: no.

Dear Readers, this column is just for you. Every other week, I’ll answer one of your interior design questions. Just send me an email with your question and I’ll reply right here. This week’s question:

Question: We’re getting ready to paint the inside of our house. You can see the kitchen, dining room, family room and staircase at the same time. There are a lot of angles. My favorite color is purple but, of course, that won’t work. My husband likes tan and beige but I don’t like any brown colors. I like grey. What color can we use that will make us both happy?

Answer: I purposefully chose your question to answer this week so that I could announce that Devine Paint Center and I are hosting a complimentary seminar on Thursday, July 13, at 6 p.m. During the seminar, I will be pairing paint colors with wallpaper as well as fabric.

The answer to your question may lie in one of my sample boards. It leans toward variations of purple but they are either toned down or tinted, meaning the color intensities have been cut with grey or white paint. This leads to more muted and dusty colors. They are difficult to describe, and when you can’t quite put a color into words, it’s usually a good thing. It means it has dimension and sophistication.

To bring your husband’s preferences into this equation, the particular purples I chose are warm. It would be very easy to bring in an accent color that combines brown and grey. This combination, in fact, is called “taupe.”

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Given these color possibilities, and given that you have many rooms and angles, you may want to use three different colors with one of them being taupe. The other two could be dusty purples. While you’re staring at your space, consider doing an accent wall if it makes sense. This may sound like a lot of colors but you can keep the craziness in check by choosing ones that are close in value, that is, do not produce a lot of contrast. Contrast is what makes things busy.

You might want to look at Devine’s Pratt & Lambert paint chips—Mauve Mist, Ashford, Carob, and Cobbler Brown as well as PPG Moth Grey and PPG Shadow Taupe.

This week, I’m answering a second question, as it is related.

Q: How can we paint different rooms in our house different colors without making it look hectic?

A: Let’s say your house has 10 rooms on a single floor and that you have three distinct paint colors in mind (not including trim and door color). Let’s make those three colors green, aqua and gold. In your green rooms, introduce aqua and gold in things like fabrics and rugs. In your aqua room, introduce green and gold. And in your gold room, bring in green and aqua. This strategy, along with a single, unifying color for your trim, door and ceiling will tie your house together. Easier than you thought, right?

Have a question? Send to plcinteriors@sbcglobal.net with “NVR Question” in the subject line.

Patti L Cowger is a credentialed, award-winning Napa-based interior designer and owner of PLC Interiors. For more information about her design services, visit her website at plcinteriors.com call (707) 322-6522; or email plcinteriors@sbcglobal.net.

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