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Ask a decor expert

Every week decor editor Arren Williams answers your decorating questions

I’m setting up a home office and want to decorate in chocolate brown and pink tones. How can I use these colours without it looking too girly or gaudy?

That’s a lovely colour combo you have in mind. To make it work for you, use the brown as your base tone for walls and furniture. I’m a fan of Behr Chocolate Coco, available at Home Depot, and Martha Stewart Everyday Colors Black Bread, at Canadian Tire. Don’t worry about using a dark colour in a small space – it will feel rich and luxurious. For the trim, choose something a little creamier and warmer than a bright white. Then highlight accessories and decorative touches around the room with pink. You should end up with a very chic space!

My large family room has one wall of brown brick with a fireplace and wooden surround, while the other walls are panelled in cedar. How can I brighten the room and update the look?

Paint is definitely your best friend! If you’re brave enough, paint everything the same colour – even the brick and the fireplace. For a bright, fresh cottagey look, choose a pale tone, such as Martha Stewart Everyday Colors in Butter White, available at Canadian Tire. Or, for an equally bright yet slightly more modern look, try Martha Stewart Everyday Colors in Hooked Rug Green, and then paint the trim in a creamy colour.

What is the proper height to hang pictures on a wall, and how far apart should they be in a grouping?

When hanging single pictures or frames in a row, hang them at eye level, just like an art gallery. For groupings, you can have more fun. Always keep frames at least two inches apart and then place pictures on the wall like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, mixing size, shape and subject. Don’t worry about symmetry. Instead, try for an interesting grouping with the most important pieces at eye level, letting the other images spread out from there.

I have a slim pane of glass running down each side of my front door that I want to cover. I have a modern minimalist style and I don’t want to use curtains. What do you suggest?

The quickest way to fix this is with paint. Using a paint that matches your door colour, paint the glass on the inside. Oil-based paint is best, but check with your local paint store. If you want your door to be the focus of the front of your house, try a bold colour such as red. Have a look at Behr’s Ruby Ring shade, available at Home Depot – I think it’s smashing!

I have a slim pane of glass running down each side of my front door that I want to cover. I have a modern minimalist style and I don’t want to use curtains. What do you suggest?

The quickest way to fix this is with paint. Using a paint that matches your door colour, paint the glass on the inside. Oil-based paint is best, but check with your local paint store. If you want your door to be the focus of the front of your house, try a bold colour such as red. Have a look at Behr’s Ruby Ring shade, available at Home Depot – I think it’s smashing!

I have a slim pane of glass running down each side of my front door that I want to cover. I have a modern minimalist style and I don’t want to use curtains. What do you suggest?

The quickest way to fix this is with paint. Using a paint that matches your door colour, paint the glass on the inside. Oil-based paint is best, but check with your local paint store. If you want your door to be the focus of the front of your house, try a bold colour such as red. Have a look at Behr’s Ruby Ring shade, available at Home Depot – I think it’s smashing!

Come back next Monday for another problem solved!