Avocado green, actually.
Though they looked more like the shade of green olives.
I rented the upper floor of a house when I moved to Wisconsin. It was in Williams Bay, tucked back off the highway by a long, winding gravel drive, and it was surrounded by trees. An idyllic location, always there were the sounds of birds. I was enchanted by the setting, but picked it solely because the landlord said 'okay' to my dog.
The inside: dark wood panel mixed with wallpaper, awful orange shag carpeting, and avocado green appliances. Obviously the place had been decorated during the early 1970s and had never been updated. It was ugly as the proverbial all get-out. But in the back of my mind I knew the place would be useful for fictional fodder.
Fast-forward twenty years and I'm writing mystery books. And I need a place for my fictional sheriff to live. Rather than the upper floor of a rustic house, I gave her an apartment above her dad's double-garage. And I decorated it with awful orange shag carpeting and avocado green appliances. I left out the wallpaper, but I kept the floorplan. My sheriff HATES the decor, but isn't sure if she wants to put down Berber and repaint. It's not that she's all that busy. She has time to tackle various home improvement projects. But she doesn't know if she's sticking around. Why go to all the trouble to fix it, if you're not going to stay?
The garish apartment says something about her. It has very few "personal" touches. My sheriff is fresh out of the military, young, and hasn't had time to acquire "stuff." She makes do, because she might be moving on. She really loved military life. The apartment is temporary...because she's thinking she might be temporary, too.
Does she stick with the 1970s trappings? Does she finally go to the hardware store and buy some paint? Does she move? Does she go back to Fort Campbell and re-up? That's for the second Piper Blackwell book that comes out later this year.
I dislike books where the characters walk from room to room in their house and the floorplan changes. Rooms shift from one book to the next - or sometimes from one chapter to the next because the author was inconsistent and didn't work from a blueprint. I love me some Harry Bosch, and Michael Connelly designed a house that I can picture. When Bosch pads from room to room, in book after book, the layout is the same. The deck with its view of the city is right where it should be.
I wanted my sheriff to have an apartment that stayed the same from chapter to chapter, book to book...until she decides to do something about that AWFUL orange shag carpeting and avocado green appliances. Because she will do something about her digs.
With so many house and apartment plans available on the Internet its easy for authors to download something, print it out, and give their characters a real home.
HOUSEPLANS.COM is a site where you can plug in the number of floors, bedrooms, etc. and up pops a variety of layouts. Use it in your fiction.
Here's the link to my first Piper Blackwell book, The Dead of Winter.
And here's the link to my newsletter, where I run occasional contests and give away stuff.