One of the big problems about tackling walls on an old house is having to choose between taking out old, drabby plaster/drywall or painting over it again. The main problem with the walls in the house is that they were spray coated with paint in such a way that they are extremely bumpy as well as completely lacking in any character. This makes it a challenge to get the 'smooth look' we like and prevents us from using sticky-back picture holders for our artworks.
After some research and thought, I decided we should skim coat the walls and do a little light sanding to achieve a smoother wall we could work with. Andrea and I then talked about if we should paint or use wallpaper. We wanted to stick to Victorian colors but not duplicate what we already did to other rooms. Advice for such a project swung towards going with color to match your furniture, but we didn't have any and didn't know what we would eventually get. In addition, the carpet hid more oak flooring similar to the parlor and I knew I would eventually want to bring that out as well.
I redid the redwood molding and wainscot areas of the room so we need to have colors that complimented those. I pictured something dark and she pictured something with a little minty in it.
We kept the garnet on the lower half of the wall to mimic the dark wainscot on the other walls and added a strip of wallpaper border at chair rail height a la "a trome l'oeil". We hoped the contrasting colors would be tied together by this border we found at Urban Ore for $1.