Q.We have just moved from a house with high ceilings to a new home with low ceilings. How can we make the rooms appear taller?

A.High ceilings are a feature of many period properties but unfortunately newer properties often lack ceiling height. But fear not, by following a few simple rules you can visually add some height to your rooms. Unless you really want to create a dungeon effect you should choose light colours when you are decorating to avoid crowding the space. Painting the ceiling in the same or very similar colour will also help to add height to the room. The definite break between the walls and the ceilings should not be emphasised. You might however want to use wallpaper with vertical stripes on one wall, this helps to create a feature and draw the eye upwards. Although it is not usually relevant in a newly built home try to avoid too much wall decoration. For example, dado or picture rails. These features are great with tall ceilings but otherwise just break up the wall. If you do want to use these details paint them in the same colour as the wall.

If you have a low ceiling the lighting you choose is very important. A large central pendant will only emphasise the lack of height in the ceiling. You could choose a ceiling mounted fitting or the best thing would be to avoid any ceiling lighting. If the room requires curtains you should choose long curtains because this will add height to the finished interior. When you are choosing the furniture your decisions can also help to improve the perceived head height. Using tall furniture will ensure that you do not need to crowd the room to achieve the required storage. If you remember these points you should easily be able to create a room where the lack of ceiling height will not be an issue.

Q.With only a month to go how do we prepare our home for Christmas?

A.If you want to redecorate, be realistic in what is achievable in the next six weeks. You could easily repaint a couple of rooms but planning major work, such as a new bathroom, should be avoided. If you expect to be enjoying the Christmas spirit from early December ask yourself what is really needed and what could wait until the New Year? Getting organised now will make the Christmas season go smoothly and ensure you and your guests have a great time.