South West Residents' Journal (RWPB) May 2015

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Residents’ Journal


the expert The DecorCafe Network’s Debbie Blott answers Journal readers’ most pressing home and garden design questions I live in an early Victorian house with a large wood-panelled open fireplace that dominates our living room. Do you think it would work if I painted it the same colour as the walls? Painting furniture and architectural features is an effective, easy and inexpensive way to create a more cohesive look for a room. However, you may choose to paint the panels one or two shades darker, rather than the exact same shade as the walls, to retain the individual character of the piece without the dark wood colouring. Consider applying the paint in fine layers to allow a hint of the grain to show through. We’ve painted our sitting room walls a lovely pale grey with white woodwork and a white ceiling and yet, although there’s a window, the room still isn’t as light as I would like it to be. A friend has suggested that I put a large mirror on the wall above the sofa to reflect the light. Do you think this is a good idea? Carefully placed mirrors are a great way to enhance the lighting, particularly when positioned to bounce light across a narrow hallway or to blur the boundaries of a small room, but it’s important to consider exactly what will be reflected in the glass. If the mirror is directly opposite shelves of books or a large TV screen, it may actually have a negative impact on the light. In this case, an accent light that draws the eye to an attractive aspect of the room will be more effective. Ensure you’re making the most of the daylight with curtains or blinds that let the maximum amount of light into your room. An elegant neutral colour palette might benefit from the addition of a pop of colour in artwork or accessories which will inject light and life. Bright yellow scatter cushions, a vibrant painting

© Interior Designer Nikki Rees, member of The DecorCafe Network

or even just a large vase of daffodils will make a surprising difference to the sense of light in your room. We’re planning to redesign our tiny patio garden this summer. Do you have any tips? It’s important to have a really clear vision of exactly how you want it to look before you begin. Start by leafing through magazines to establish what you like and don’t like. Then, put together a design board to include the materials, layout and planting approach. For example, do you want flooring that flows seamlessly from kitchen to patio with a

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similar stone or wood throughout, or would you prefer green grass – and if so, is there enough light to grow turf or would you be better off with astro turf? Just like any room in the house, it’s important to have the shape of the design and a good quality infrastructure, drainage and electrics in place before you consider the decorative aspects of plants and furniture. n

If you have a design question you’d like an expert opinion on, email (