A question of taste

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The start of a New Year can mean a time for change. Here Jamie Hempsall answers your interior design questions.

Q: Our son started secondary school this autumn. He now has a desk in his bedroom, so it feels cramped. Can you suggest something to help keep some space clear? SW,

A: My solution is to provide innovative storage where things can be “stuffed” away without too much ceremony. The dual purpose “Stool & Storage” by Danish designer Christian Flindt is an ideal solution. The stool looks like a funky oversized tin of paint, provides seating at a work-space and is perfect for storing laundry or bits and bobs.

£111 (plus £17 for felt seat topper) from Design Letters & Friends


Q: We are looking to liven up our living room, which is primarily brown and taupe at the moment. Your top tips would be appreciated. DS

A: Strong coloured or highly textured cushions give instant impact when added to a neutral scheme. It is worth spending as much as you can on cushions to get good quality fabric. If cushions look under-stuffed visit your local upholsterer to purchase some cushion inners, which are relatively inexpensive. Opt for a pad that is one or two inches bigger than the cushion cover, it may be a squeeze to get it in, but the end result will have plump, feel appeal.

Dress plain flooring with a coloured rug to lift the look. Tie in tones to those on your cushions or key design pieces in your room. Choosing a rug with a variety of shades in it (such as the Kaleido Pop design from Scion) avoids tying yourself to one colour going forward. Scion rugs are 100 per cent wool and hand tufted in India, available from £330 www.scion.uk.com

Q: Our bathroom needs updating and we are looking to create a wet-room. Have you any suggestions? MH

A: The first consideration is how wet you are prepared for your wet room to be? True wet rooms have little regard for this, resulting in water spraying over every surface (including the loo roll). If this is your ideal, then floor to ceiling tiling is essential as well as extremely good drainage. UK wet rooms tend to include an open-ended shower enclosure to contain water a little more. Bathstore always have some well-priced options. Alternatively, the Merlyn Shower Panel & Hinged Swivel is a very stylish solution with a 300mm panel that can be adjusted to deflect shower spray (from £1,716; for stockists visit www.merlynshowering.com)

Q: I have just bought an apartment and want a retro sideboard. What should I look for? JW

A: The last five years has seen the price of 1950 – 1970 furniture rocket, look out for classic pieces by Ercol & G-Plan. Junk shop finds are few these days, but check with your local auction house for specialist sales – quality and finish are the key to a good investment so pay careful attention to the condition of the pieces. Alternatively, if you want a real “one off” visit www.katenoakes.com. This talented designer uses pure metal and gesso to reimagine furniture, creating something truly beautiful and unique as a result (from £1,200 – 07847 666044).