Ask the experts: Living rooms


What are the best furniture pieces to invest in? How do you inject colour without it taking over? We’ve asked these questions and more

Large Pomegranate cushion; large Blue Skies cushion, £85 each, Bluebellgray

How do you inject colour without it taking over?

The first and most important step is deciding on your colour palette – ask yourself which colours lift your mood and make you smile. Your home should reflect who you are and make you feel uplifted. Your palette could be one shade or it could be six, there are no rules and don’t worry too much about colours clashing, just identify what you like.

There are so many ways to add colour to your home without it looking full on. It’s all about balance. It could be as simple as transforming a plain sofa with a selection of printed cushions or being a little bolder by painting your walls a statement shade. It’s important to remember it’s your home, nobody else’s, so have fun and stay true to your style.
Fi Douglas, Bluebellgray

How do we embrace greenery without the hassle of maintenance?

Botanical accents are a fabulous way to add something extra. Choose faux to suit your needs – a delicate stem can add a feminine touch, or help communicate country house style. For open-plan spaces a large potted fern can help define a living area and an aloe in a contemporary scheme packs a punch. Faux is an economical investment too, we love our homes but a flower habit can be expensive.
Dani Taylor, Cox & Cox

What are the best furniture pieces to invest in?

Curzon Sofa, from £2800; Peppy Chair, from £399, John Dick & Son

The simple answer is to buy, and spend your money on, quality pieces you absolutely love. Whether it’s a statement sofa, a stunning sideboard, a quirky bar unit or an unusual accent chair, the best way to invest wisely is to buy things you know you won’t tire of.

Many people assume that upholstered items won’t last as long as cabinet furniture but well made chairs and sofas with quality frames will last a long time, especially when upholstered with modern materials and fabrics. And they can always be reupholstered to give them a new lease of life.
Bruce Dick, John Dick & Son

What are the most robust fabrics that won’t fade in sunlight?

There are so many great options. We recommend using a high-performance fabric that can withstand the exposure, like our Sunbrella® fabric which is more fade-resistant than others like acrylic, polyester or olefin fibres. Bottom line: any performance fabric that is cleanable and fade-resistant is the answer.
Patricia Hoffman, Thibaut

Which new paint colours create warmth?

Dance Fever wall paint, from £14 per 1.25l, Crown

Terracotta is at the forefront of interiors at the moment – it’s natural, earthy and brings warmth and depth to a scheme. It works incredibly well in a living room as there is something so comforting and enveloping about it that instantly makes the space more homely.

Earthy tones in general are a brilliant way to inject warmth. Being colours of nature, they lend themselves to the natural and handmade, and combine well with all sorts of woods, from bleached and rough hewn to dark and polished. They’ll also make a great background to ceramics and terracotta pots – the more imperfect, the better.
Judy Smith, Crown Colour Consultant

What are the benefits of open-plan living?


More a lifestlye choice than a passing trend, an increasing number of us are choosing to remove dividing walls and combine the kitchen, dining and living areas of our homes to create one large multi-functional space.

Open- plan living can improve the overall appearance of a property and make small spaces feel much bigger, increasing lighting opportunities and bringing the family together. Planning a vast expanse of space can feel overwhelming, with the various areas lacking the definition that would be present if the rooms were divided by walls.

An effective solution to this is to incorporate open shelving – not only will this create instant storage space and become a focal point, it helps to define various areas without obstructing the visual flow or blocking out light.
Daniel Bowler, Eggersmann UK

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