Those in the know give you the living room lowdown

Amtico Signature Cirrus Mist/Cirrus Dawn flooring, Glenearn
Q. What durable flooring is out there – what works best, and how should it be maintained?

A. LVTs (luxury vinyl tiles) give the look of wood, stone or ceramics but without the drawbacks of the real thing. A regular sweep and mop-over is all that is required to maintain them. We supply brands such as Amtico, Karndean and Moduleo, with prices starting at £25 per m2. Carpets are also worth considering, and these days wool is not the only option. A good polypropylene carpet is stain-resistant and the yarn is so good now that it can have a wool-like appearance. The other trend is for a deeper, denser ‘Saxony’ pile. Regular vacuuming will help to keep the pile lifted and looking good. ‘Divine Twist’ by Lano (which we sell for £23.95 per m2) is stain-resistant, non-allergenic, moth-proof and fade-resistant. Jane Ewing, Glenearn Flooring

Q. Do short table lights in rooms with high ceilings work – or do they look out of proportion?

Chelsea Mclaine Interior DesignA. Short table lamps will light the room at a low level and can produce a moody effect that’s perfect for relaxation/parties, but you need more than that. Lighting fulfils a dual purpose – aesthetic and functional – and the best lighting schemes consist of layered lighting: functional or task, mood and ambient. Table lamps fall into the latter categories. Large-scale, oversized table or floor lamps will draw the eye to the grand proportions of a room and enhance the overall appearance, highlighting architectural features or plasterwork in the process. Using different heights of lamps in a room will also add interest. I’d recommend UK-based Porta Romana for it massive range of lights. Margot Paton, Chelsea Mclaine Interior Design

Q. How can a large space with high ceilings be heated efficiently and cost-effectively?

IconicA. It is possible to calculate how much heat the room needs and then buy the right-sized radiator (one or more). Low-water-content aluminium models are the most efficient. A tall radiator will work well in both traditional and modern rooms, utilising the height of the room and leaving wall space clear for other uses. The Romana multi column, with its huge range of sizes, works well, as does the Serie T modular system. Marcus Orchard, Iconic

Q. How can a bar be easily incorporated into the living room?

A. Using tinted mirrors on the walls as back panels will add design flare and give the illusion of space. Avoid wall units of different heights – they can make the room feel cluttered. Roy Sweetman, Town & Country Interiors

Q. Do hardwearing, beautiful fabrics exist?
Fabrics from a selection, £POA, Pierre Frey
Fabrics from a selection, £POA, Pierre Frey

A. The most hardwearing fabrics for daily usage in the living room are our wool, moquette or épinglé fabrics. They will stand the test of time. We often recommend using a plain wool on the front (giving warmth, comfort and practicality) and an embroidered or delicate fabric at the back of the sofa or armchair (creating a chic and sophisticated room). Woven in our own mill in the north of France, our wools can be used for both curtains and upholstery, have a very high abrasion resistance, and are treated against pilling. Cyrille Bordas, Pierre Frey

Q. Built-in storage. Is it better to go for concealed storage or display cabinetry?

A. A combination of open and closed storage might be the best option but, either way, fitted furniture is a fantastic problem-solver as it will make use of every inch of available space. Open storage – especially when it uses the entire wall space – tricks the eye into thinking the room is bigger, by displaying the wall itself as well as giving the illusion of height. But it’s also essential to keep unsightly wires hidden, along with digital boxes etc – as much as we want technology in our homes, we don’t want it to dominate the room. That’s why many customers request cabinetry that hides all the digital tech but which also has open sections where they can display their treasures. Alan Borra, Neville Johnson

Q. Is it worth it – or even possible – to add a cornice to a new-build’s living room?

A. Yes! Cornices always enhance an interior. You’d never do without a skirting board, and I’d say it’s the same for a cornice. For a modern room, steer clear of typical period designs, particularly the ornate patterned ones. Bold, linear, geometric profiles can create a simple but stunning finish, and will complement a modern room. The ‘classic contemporary’ style – derived from traditional designs – also works very well. David Fountain, Reproduction Plaster

Neville Johnson
Living concept, Neville Johnson