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Set Design and Décor -- A 10-Step Program

Step 7: Color It

Choose a color scheme that compliments the show and meshes well with the time period. Light, bright colors are often used in a comedy, and more somber colors for dramas and mysteries, although this is far from a hard and fast rule. I stuck with primary colors for a minimal set for Greater Tuna, used off-white and bright teal for the elegant hotel room in the farce Lend Me A Tenor, and shades of brown wood, gray stone and deep rose for the murder mystery Postmortem.

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For the Victorian thriller Angel Street, left, set designer Paul Janiga of the Kent County Theater Guild chose a dark palette of brown and deep mauve, and complimented it with heavy fabrics and dark wood. For the Kauffman and Hart comedy Light Up the Sky, his color scheme is considerably lighter, with white and yellow predominating. Pictured, from left to right, are Mary Von Thenen and Mike Polo in Angel Street, and Charlie Beck, Necia Beck and Bruce Leister in Light Up the Sky.

Decide what gets painted, what gets stained, and what might get a different treatment - styrofoam stone, faux marble, or wallpaper, for example. If it gets confusing, make notes to yourself and any helpers with white chalk before you get started - make your notes directly on the flats and other surfaces to be treated. Get a base coat down for painted areas, and do touch-up after it's dried. Don't forget about colors for doors and window frames.

NEXT: Step 8: Add Furniture
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