Interior design with Neville Knott

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Move or Make Over is a hugely popular column in which celebrity interior designer Neville Knott addresses readers’’ questions each week and delivers his expert tips on upgrading and restyling their properties.

You can use this column FREE OF CHARGE in your paper every week if you use the logo and tagline of our sponsor Crown Paints.

Sample column >> Filed every Thursday afternoon

Firing up your Living Room

I am removing a drab eighties fireplace with a marble hearth in my living room and installing a modern fireplace with a stainless steel back panel and a natural beech wood finish.  The existing décor is quite dated so I would like to modernise the room and turn it into a space that we enjoy spending time in. Can you help?

Your new fireplace addition sounds fabulous and will be a key feature for creating a modern living room.

The living room is the most versatile room in the home. It is not just a relaxing space for family and friends but it also functions as a focal point for the entire house. It is important to create a comfortable space as too often people make a picture perfect living room that visitors feel uncomfortable in.

It is a good idea to choose calm neutral shades in order to create a modern space. Grey tones are renowned for their subtle calming effect. By using this shade you can then incorporate accent colours through the use of soft furnishings.

The key is to find a shade which works best with prominent colours. I recommend taking a look at the Indulgence range from Crown Paints, which contains a fabulous collection of grey tones. Gallery White, Aspen Silver and Mink are three elegant shades that will create a modern sophisticated space. Subtle shades on your wall will allow for your statement fireplace to stand out.

Warm sensual shades are also a good choice for your living room as it will help create an inviting and ambient space that your family will enjoy spending time in. Shades such as Tiramisu, Avantgarde and Silk Gown from Crown’s Indulgence range will help your room appear warmer and more inviting.

The position of your furniture should centre around this new focal point in the room. It is a good idea to avoid making the television the focus as can happen in so many homes. Your new fireplace will add real character to the space.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all major pieces of furniture must be placed against the wall. Furniture can be a great way to help divide up a large room. New shades and design such as contemporary sectional sofas have replaced our everyday rectangular styles. You can also use rugs to define seating areas and create a cosy space.

Lighting is key to creating a modern living room. The seating area should be on a dimmer control so it can be adjusted to suit the mood of the occasion. You might like to consider a modern Pendant light for over a coffee table. Table and side lamps are another great way to create a relaxed tranquil space.

Try to avoid positioning the lamps in a way that they cause a reflection on your television.

Bright modern art and family photographs add instant warmth to a living room. Spot lighting is a great way to emphasise these pieces on your wall. A large mirror over your fireplace is another great trick – adding to the illusion of more space in a room.

Using neutral shades allows you to update the space with soft furnishings and accessories as you wish without having to worry about a complete makeover. It allows you to add lots of colour and decorative pillows helping you create a more inviting space.

Let your accessories steal the show with a striking modern twist by adding subtle hints of earthy red and biscuit with hint of orange or green. Opt for two-tone cushions in these contrasting earthy tones. Florals are back in a big way for 2010 but think big and bold prints!

I hope these ideas help you create a modern living room that you, your family and friends will enjoy spending time in.

Happy decorating!