My collection of retro coloured glassware is taking over every surface of my living room. How can I display it in a creative way?
Tania Cha Chu-chow replies: Collect it all together and display it in one place. Be brutal - you don't have to display it all at once. If the colours don't work together, put some away and change the selection from time to time.
Glass looks stunning when light shines through it, so consider displaying it on glass shelves in front of a window. This technique is ideal for bay windows where you can fix supports such as wooden batons at the sides, then ask a glazier to cut shelves to fit. If you don't have bay windows, you can suspend shelves from wire cables. In this case, I would strongly recommend you hire a handyman or contractor to carry out the installation to ensure the glass is level and secure.
I want to improve the lighting in my living room which features a frosted-glass ceiling light and two ugly wall lights in the TV area and a fluorescent strip light over the dining area. What do you suggest?
Gary Chang replies: Yours is a typical problem among Hong Kong households and as good lighting is crucial to a room's ambience, it's well worth the investment.
Fluorescent strip lighting is very harsh and difficult to mix with any other type of lighting so I would recommend you rip it out.
Start with your general lighting: plan enough overhead pendant lights and/or floor- and wall-mounted uplighters to give sufficient overall light. Then think about your specific needs and plan your task lighting accordingly. Do you like low lighting when you watch TV, but just enough to read the listings by? Then add a couple of table-lamps. Have a favourite painting you want to highlight? Hang a picture light above it. Do you entertain and occasionally like moody lighting? You could install a dimmer switch on to the pendant lighting overhead. If flexibility is your prime concern, you could opt for a ceiling track light system where you can move the lights to different positions.
A word of warning: don't overdo it, otherwise your home will end up looking like a lighting showroom.
I'd like to paint a mural or border in my son's bedroom. He's four years old and I'd like something simple that would be appropriate for at least a few years. No animals or cartoon characters please.
Paola Dindo replies: Involve your son in the planning process - he is the one who will be living with it after all. You don't want animals or cartoons, but you can still utilise them. Rather than reproducing a literal copy of, say, Noddy on the wall, take an element such as the bell on the end of his hat or his yellow neckerchief with red dots and use it as a repeat pattern. Not only will it be easier to paint (you can create a stencil) but also less childlike, so it might be appropriate for a bit longer. Use ordinary emulsion as a base and watercolours for the motifs.
For something even simpler, take your son's favourite colours and simply paint a border or overall pattern of coloured squares or triangles.
Multi-coloured vertical stripes are currently fashionable in fabrics and will also make a ceiling appear higher. Use masking tape as a guide to create straight lines or go for a wiggly freehand effect.