The Home Front

Q: What should I think about when choosing lights for our lounge?
Claire, Seasalter

Light, whether natural or artificial is extremely important in creating a mood in a room and should always be considered when decorating. Consider how the room is going to be used and who will use it. Always have more than one artificial light source so you have a choice of which to use.

A floor-standing lamp with a daylight bulb, positioned behind a chair where someone sits to read, will give good directional light and if used on its own without the ceiling light, it will create an intimate, cosy area within the room.

Table lamps in corners of rooms will have the same effect, but will not be so good to read by. Wall lights can be a good source of general light along with ceiling lights which could be put onto a dimmer switch to help control the overall effect.

Q: Once our children flew the nest we decided to turn the second bedroom and its en-suite into a guest room, more suitable for when our friends visit and stay. Any suggestions on how we can make our guests really feel away from home especially at Christmas?
Viv and Mark Jones, Tunbridge Wells

It’s lovely that you want to indulge your guests when they come to stay, I’m sure they will really appreciate your efforts. Here are some ideas for you: invest in good quality bed luxury pillows and duvets, plain white bed linen in cotton which has a chic boutique hotel feel and provide lovely bathrobes – his and hers. Large fluffy bath and hand towels are a must and little goodies such as individually wrapped hand-made soaps, cotton wool in a jar and chocolates add a decadent touch. Essentials include a hairdryer and emergency sewing kit, your guest’s favourite magazines and a ‘coffee table’ book. Ensure that there is enough drawer and wardrobe space with padded hangers and always have some fresh flowers on the bedside tables and scented candles. Additionally at Christmas you could add a small decorated tree and provide a Christmas stocking full of goodies!

Q: Every Christmas I try and create a fashionable and stylish home starting with the tree, but every year I seem to fail, the lights never look right and the children seem to destroy the tree.
Amanda, Deal

If you buy a real tree each year make sure you see it unwrapped to check that the branches are evenly spaced with no big gaps. Place your tree securely in its holder and near a plug socket. First test your fairy lights for any dud bulbs and then start to wind the lights down the tree from the top. Whilst the lights should be evenly spaced all around the tree don’t lay them just at the edge but also within the tree to provide more depth.

Its always lovely to see children enjoying Christmas but sometimes their ideas on styling a tree are not your own. Allow the children (if you feel they are old enough) to have their own artificial tree in their room which they can decorate themselves, your tree can then be styled just how you like it with up to the minute decorations following your chosen colour theme.

Have a great Christmas.

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