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Ask Linda

Q Let there be light
I have a big window in my bedroom ‘ how can I achieve privacy and still let light come through?
Rachel Wallis, 38, Exeter

Linda replies: My favourite window coverings have to be window shutters, you see them in my dining room shots in this issue. They have a lovely way of dappling the natural light and having full privacy at night.

Q Pets and flooring?
What do you suggest is the best type of flooring to have with a new puppy in the house?
Maria Ward, 32, London

Linda replies: Don’t forget you still want to live with a great looking floor once the puppy is more ‘ how shall we say this delicately? More reliable! My first choice would be a floor covering from The Unnatural Flooring Company, (0870 766 1088; www.unnaturalflooring.com) in plenty of dark colouring options. They offer man-made but natural looking floor covering that can withstand anything you erm, throw at it, so to speak.

It is woven like a traditional seagrass matting, but because it is entirely man made you can scrub it to within an inch of its life and it will still look good. I even have a rug woven out of it that lives outside my own house.

Q Black bedrooms
My son is insisting on having a black wall in his bedroom. How can I make it look attractive/effective?
Sandra Payne, 44, Poole

Linda replies: Don’t worry, black walls are highly fashionable at the moment and look fantastic. There are black on black wallpapers out there at the moment that look lovely. Try B&Q (www.diy.com) for bargains or Brian Yates (01524 35035; www.brian-yates.co.uk) for a pricier but gorgeous option. Or paint a huge sheet of MDF with blackboard paint and secure this to a large wall ‘ it becomes practical as well as removable once he’s flown the nest.

Q Low ceilings
My low ceilings are really noticeable. Are there any tricks to overcome this problem?
Matthew Lyons, 40, Oxford

Linda replies: If possible, light your room with low level lighting, table lamps for instance that are incorporated into a circuit that can be switched on as you enter the room. Keep the ceiling clear of hanging fittings and you will immediately open up the space. If you cannot survive without overhead lights, fit recessed ones. Although these have a strong contemporary feel to them, they will work in both modern and traditional homes and are small enough to visually ‘disappear’ when they are switched off. Make sure they are on a dimmer switch to give you various lighting options.

Q Living room update
My living room needs updating but I can’t afford to replace furniture. Can you suggest any colour changes or accessories I can buy?
Jermaine Robinson, 35, London

Linda replies: The walls and the window coverings and the flooring can be treated as a strong basic canvas. Get this right and you have a dominant, natural base from which you can accessorise using colour. Cushions; vases and pictures as well as floral displays and lamps are all accessories that can personalise your room without hefty price tags. That way you can keep the room up to date as you change the affordable pieces each year, or even during each season.

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