Friday 30th January

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Issue: 713

Latest Homes issue 713 cover

» The Velvet Touch

Emma and Nick, from the Velvet lifestyle and furniture stores, answer your design questions

I am looking for some new chairs for my office reception. I’m an architect so I want something classic, but they also have to be comfortable and affordable.
R. Card, Brighton

Nick says: As regular readers will know, I am a big fan of our more modern collections such as our designer replica chairs. One of these, which I think will suit both your criteria and budget, is our Bertoia-style net chair priced at £139. This chair was originally designed in the early 1950s by Italian born sculptor Harry Bertoia (he studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art where he encountered Walter Gropius, Edmund N. Bacon and Ray and Charles Eames).The chair is surprisingly comfortable and striking – its delicate appearance belies its strength and durability. Bertoia said of his design “If you look at these chairs, they are mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them.“

I am clueless as to what look to go for this Christmas! I need some inspiration, what do you suggest?
L. Collins, via email

Emma says: With the number of decorations around these days I can see why you’re confused. One of the best ways to experiment with different looks is to have a few trees in the house (if you have the space). For a traditional looking tree I would draw inspiration from Scandinavian style. Decorate the house with wreaths and the Christmas tree using straw and wooden ornaments, creams and reds, and lots of light, preferably candles – read more on our online blog about having a Scandinavian Christmas! For a modern look you could go for jewel colours (such as magenta and cyan) on a natural green tree or if you are a fan of black Christmas trees you could go for a striking look using black and gold. Our decorations start from just £1.

To ask Nick or Emma a question, email:

» The Velvet Touch

Emma and Nick, from the Velvet lifestyle and furniture stores, answer your design questions

I read your recent suggestion for chests of drawers as storage solutions. They are great but I’m looking for something more original myself. Do you have anything at Velvet?
Rosie Clarke, Brighton

Nick says: We have just ordered in some amazing trunks – they might not be to everyone’s taste but they are certainly original (Emma has just bought some for our home). I picture them with delicate clothes draped out in a French style bedroom, or neatly stacked in a clinical white modern room with rustic floorboards.

They are large enough to store plenty of clothes or bits and bobs. Buy one or invest in a set of three (pictured). There’s something very Gucci about them. Except that prices start from just £55. If trunks aren’t to your taste then why not visit our stores for more ideas.
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» Storage solutions and occaisional chairs

Emma and Nick, from the Velvet lifestyle and furniture stores, answer your design questions

I’m looking for an occasional chair or sofa for my dressing room.The décor of the room is cream and gold so it must match! What do you suggest?
Jenny Hardy, Hove

Emma says: Wow, it all depends on your budget! The great thing about occasional chairs is you can go for luxury materials that wouldn’t always withstand the daily wear and tear that usual living room furniture goes through.

Our Versailles range is upholstered in a beautiful pale silk and is finished in genuine gold leaf – this is a luxurious range that will blow the budget but is truly worth it! The two seater settee (pictured) is priced at £725. For a cheaper option though, why not take a look at our range of Chaise Longue with prices starting at just £295.

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» Grand designs for the hall

Emma and Nick, from the Velvet lifestyle and furniture stores, answer your design questions

I’m decorating my hallway, and want it to have a fun, modern feel but with a twist of Rococo elegance! Could you give me some suggestions of what colour to paint the walls and how to furnish it?
Hannah Lewis, Kemp Town

Emma says: Wow, this sounds like fun! My suggestions depend on who has to live with this décor, aside from yourself! One idea is to paint the walls a bright magenta – furnish with black classical French furniture, such as our Moulin Noir Range. Prices start from £195.

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» Country style kitchens

Emma and Nick, from the Velvet lifestyle and furniture stores, answer your design questions

I’m getting married next month and I’m looking for cheap but pretty ways to decorate the reception hall. What sort of look should I go for and how can I achieve this?
Lauren Bavistock, Brighton

Emma says: Firstly – congratulations, good luck with all the preparation. My sister has just got married and I know how much work is involved! There are lots of lovely little ways to decorate your hall on a budget.

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» Practical and fun designs for kids’ bedrooms

Emma and Nick, from the Velvet lifestyle and furniture stores, answer your design questions

Interior designI’ve just moved into a bigger property and need to buy some more furniture to fill it up, especially in the bedroom.
Lucy Adamson, Brighton

Emma says: I presume you already have your essentials like a bed and a wardrobe, so to fill up the space I would invest in items such as bedside tables and extra seating. One of our best selling ranges is dressing table sets, as not only are they practical but they also look stunning. With a stool and a mirror, they provide extra surface space; extra seating and the mirror will reflect light into the room.

There are so many styles to choose from, depending on what look you are after. Our Venetian Patterned Dressing Table (£225) would look stunning with its matching mirror and stool (pictured) or even set amongst more contemporary pieces.

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» Create a sophisticated hotel feel in your guest room

Emma and Nick, from the Velvet lifestyle and furniture stores, answer your design questions

Hotel feel guest roomI’m redecorating my guest bedroom and want to give it a sophisticated hotel feel. What advice would you give for achieving this?
Ella Harrison, Brighton

Emma says: Going for this look gives you lots of options depending whether you want to go for a more boutique or elegant and sleek feel. For either look though, the walls and flooring should be warm neutral colours such as honey and coffee shades. Either paint or wallpaper (£30 a roll) the room in these colours. Arrange your furniture symmetrically and accessorise to match – this may sound rather clinical but if you choose glamorous pieces of furniture this will ensure the room stays cosy and comfortable. Most importantly, make the bed look luxurious with quilts (from £95) and matching cushions (from £12.50).

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» How to get a country kitchen

Emma and Nick, from the Velvet lifestyle and furniture stores, answer your design questions

InteriorsIf I had my way, my house would be full of brightly coloured Indian and ethnic pieces but my partner prefers neutral, subtle looks.We need to find a compromise – help!Jane Nichols, Patcham

Emma says: Well, one way to get both the looks you love is by allowing you to have your own ways in different rooms! Alternatively why not create rooms you will both be happy in by going for a neutral base with ethnic accents. We stock a beautiful range of embossed silver furniture and accessories which have a beautiful Moroccan feel to them but aren’t over the top. Accessories such as photo frames start from as little as £11.50 and you can pick up items of furniture for just £120. Why not buy online and have them delivered or come and visit one of our stores!

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» Light in dark places

Emma and Nick, from Velvet lifestyle and furniture stores, answer your design questions

Velvet Design ClinicI have a rather dark study in my basement and want to buy some pieces to help lighten it but I want something classy, and not white or cream! What do you suggest?
George Powell, Brighton

Nick says: If natural light is limited, make sure you use plenty of artificial light, especially where you will be working or reading. For a classy look and practical light-reflecting furniture, why not invest in some mirrored pieces? We have a great range from mirrors to console tables. Our Venetian two-door cabinet (£299) will not only reflect lots of light into your study but will also provide a great storage space for unsightly folders, paperwork or books.

I love black furniture but I’m afraid it’s not going to date well. Should I invest or put my money elsewhere?
Emily Davis, Brighton

Emma says: Well Emily, firstly you should buy what you love! Black furniture has been very on trend for the past couple of years but you’re right that no trend lasts forever. However this is no reason not to buy.

I would just have a few pointers if you do. Look for pieces that have a timeless style, for example French antique-style pieces which never age. Team with striking wallpaper or modern accessories to keep the look fresh.

Our Moulin Noir range is the definitive French Boudoir collection. It is hand-carved and upholstered in black velvet. (Moulin Noir Bedside tables £195, Moulin Noir Bed £995).

Moulin Noir Bed £995