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A design guru details how to redecorate when you are tired of your current furnishings - and much more

Expert: Patrick Sutton, Interior Designer, author of Storied Interiors

Q I’d like to redecorate my living room by replacing my earth-toned furniture to make it lighter and brighter but I can’t afford to replace it all at once. If I do a bit at a time, it will look unmatched. Any advice?

A Try to replace the furnishing in groups, so at least sections of the room are cohesive. By all means go bit by bit, but have a consistent vision of what it will look like complete, and stick to it.

Q How do you cut down on your furniture collection from your large family home to a smaller setting? Do you start from scratch and go all modern?

A Find the pieces you love or those that have significant meaning. Keep those and get rid of the rest. Things you love should travel with you. Then build around that with something fresh and new.

Q I read an article on painting ceilings pink, an idea I immediately pounced on because I’m trying to redo a small bedroom into a feminine guest bedroom for my granddaughter. But I’m stuck when it comes to wall and trim colours. Are warm whites the way to go? Please recommend colours, including a nice pink.

A I love white walls because they are happy and bright and a great canvas for all the other colours to show off against. For the ceiling, I would lean toward something soft rather than a hot pink.

Q I own a lot of art and furniture collected from living around the world. How do I combine them into a cohesive look?

A Try to weave your rooms together by using common fabrics, textures and colours that repeat. In my home, I have neutrals that tie together things I have culled from around the world. Try to curate how you place your unique pieces so they aren’t all grouped in one place. Give them breathing space and surround them with background pieces that are consistent in colour and style.

Q Please help settle a debate between my husband and I. We are ripping up our ugly vinyl flooring in the kitchen and installing hardwood. We’re also replacing our dishwasher. Do you put hardwood under the dishwasher? The company we’re using for the install wants the dishwasher in first and said the hardwood will go up to it but not under. I think the hardwood needs to be under it to protect the sub-floor if there are leaks.

A We generally run the flooring of the kitchen under appliances to make it easier to access them for service but that can be done by running plywood flush under them as well. I would run the hardwood under the dishwasher.

The Washington Post

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