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Interior design Q&A with Sophie Robinson

(48 Posts)
LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 14-Jan-15 10:38:04

It's January, which generally means there's a lot of 'out with the old and in with the new' going on (charity shops have ever looked so well-stocked). For a lot of people, that means giving their decor a bit of a spruce up or even making over a whole room or two. And we just happen to have someone on hand that could help with that... Sophie Robinson of BBC2's The Great Interior Design Challenge will be answering your questions on how to make your home look its best.

Add your questions for Sophie below by midday on 21 January and you will be entered into our prize draw to win one of five copies of the Great Interior Design Challenge book, full of great tips and DIY design inspiration!

Sophie is one of the industry’s top interior stylists, regularly employed by Britain’s best-selling magazines to produce inspirational yet achievable room designs. With over 15 years’ experience, she is regarded as an expert with a keen eye for the latest trends and high street looks. She uses her experince and know how to judge, along side Daniel Hopwood, on BBC2's The Great Interior Design Challenge.

After graduating with a BA Hons in 3D Design, Sophie joined BBC Good Homes magazine. As their Homes Editor she worked with a team of stylists to produce the monthly decorating and shopping pages. Going freelance has allowed Sophie to work across popular titles such as Ideal Home, House Beautiful and Homes and Gardens where her special skill is putting stylish schemes together, interpreting the latest trends, while making it achievable to recreate.

Sophie’s natural flair is expressed in the decorating schemes she produces for photo shoots and exhibitions. With a wealth of knowledge in this specialised area, she has worked for the industry’s top brands, publications and photographers. Along with her husband who owns a building business they have renovated and designed many properties. Sophie is passionate about empowering people to bring personal and original design ideas into their own homes and has launched a series of Masterclasses with Daniel Hopwood, to help anyone design their own interior. More information on these on the website and more information about Sophie herself on

gillybob Wed 14-Jan-15 11:14:37

More information on these on..........................

Oh please do tell. confused

glammanana Wed 14-Jan-15 11:22:48

Hi Sophie,I have been a big fan of soft furnishings in bold bright colours for many years,in fact well before it became "the trend" on a dull sofa I would throw an Indian type material to jazz up the room etc and double my voiles to give an extra effect to the window's.
My question is: Is it still acceptable to have just random pieces in different colours casually left about the room or has the trend gone back to everything matching. Thanks Glamma x

LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 14-Jan-15 12:59:06

Oops, sorry folks! Link is there now.

gillybob Wed 14-Jan-15 14:46:04

Thanks Lucy

KatyK Wed 14-Jan-15 16:42:05

Hi Sophie - We have a small semi (a long thin living/dining room) and seem to be OK at choosing furniture etc apart from three piece suites or sofas etc. We have had a few disasters in this department and wonder if you have any advice. We are very unhappy with the one we have at present and we are about to go in search of another. We measure up before we go shopping but still can't get it right. We try the sofas/chairs in the shop and got from one shop to another. We eventually choose one but when it is delivered it is wrong for the room or uncomfortable. Any tips? Thank you.

wearingthin Thu 15-Jan-15 11:40:27

We are hoping to redecorate our lounge/dining room this Spring. Aim to have a plasterer smooth artex ceilings and 1 artex wall back to smooth. It's a small terrace house,open plan downstairs, kitchen to right. Hubby wants wallpaper on 1 wall in each room. He tends to be more innovative than me, who plays safe - preferring plain painted walls, but he is often right, adding personal touch. Room has quite a lot of furniture, esp dining area with his desk, guitar, CDs, books etc. Any suggestions re using colour or using wallpaper?
Many thanks

Icyalittle Thu 15-Jan-15 18:56:24

Please can you suggest a way to overcome 'boring'? My spare bedroom is only 8'10" wide, but 20' long, with a window on the short wall (ensuite at the other end). Because of the bed needing to be across the width, it always looks just boring and lacking character, but I want it to be comfortable and elegant too. All suggestions very gratefully received!

MarcMichaels Thu 15-Jan-15 20:42:25

Nice conversation! Thanks for sharing Lucy!

Tegan Thu 15-Jan-15 21:01:27

I'm desperate to change my living room; it certainly needs a new carpet and the sofa has seen better days. However, I have a dog that lives in the kitchen but I don't want to not let her in the living room sometimes [it's impossible to keep her off the sofa] and I don't want my grandchildren to come here and have to worry about keeping everything pristine [they have to do that at home; I like them to be able to sit on the sofa and eat and paint pictures in the living room without worrying about getting paint on the carpet]. I loved the Design series [no I didn't love it I was addicted to it and I still haven't seen the final because I was out that night and my iplayer wasn't working] but some of the rooms had things in them that just didn't seem suitable for children [low light bulbs for lighting etc and I thought the fluffy cloud light was just a dust trap confused]. How can I have a dog/child friendly living room?

Ymogirl Thu 15-Jan-15 21:19:20

I'm about to downsize to a two bedroomed flat and, while I'm looking forward to de-cluttering and getting rid of a lot of stuff I really should have said goodbye to a long time ago, I do have 70+ years' worth of things I do want to keep. I know there are some really well designed and ingenious furnishing and storage ideas out there but how to find them? Can you point me, please, towards some good (but not too expensive!) sources?

Candelle Thu 15-Jan-15 23:19:13

I have a recalcitrant husband who loves our sitting room, last decorated over 20 years ago and who refuses any changes. I desperately need suggestions to win him over...

Currently we have light-green moire wallpaper, three green sofas, and a pale peach carpet. The room is 25' x 14', south-facing with two sets of patio doors.

I have been trying to persuade my beloved for two years but everything I suggest is vetoed. He loves green...

I am happy to change everything and would be very grateful if you could help me progress with some ideas, otherwise in another twenty years I shall be found covered in cobwebs sitting in my still green room.

inishowen Fri 16-Jan-15 08:27:37

Every sofa we buy seems to get dirty quickly. I'm convinced the dye comes out of my husband's black jeans. Is this likely?

Agus Fri 16-Jan-15 09:23:05

Tegan I have two GDs who are here often and love doing crafts, painting and colouring in. I bought a large wax cloth table cover, water paints and Crayola washable felt tip pens so anything that misses their 'art' is easily washed off, even the rug underneath the table.

gillybob Fri 16-Jan-15 10:27:35

Oh yes absolutely inishowen I wondered how the bottom stair of my light beige stair carpet always seemed to have a dark patch on it until the penny dropped. DH sits there (in black work jeans) to put his shoes on !! The dye definitely transfers.

I did exactly the same Agus I have several huge oil cloths that I use for art and crafts. Ideal for putting on the table and under it too. Some lovely designs available. Infact when the DGC are at mine they go straight to the dresser and choose a cloth to put on the table. They are very well trained (well some of the time anyway).

Agus Fri 16-Jan-15 11:05:05

Great minds Gilly smile

I also had a problem with a light coloured sofa suddenly showing blue patches and realised it was due to one particular pair of DH's denims. They are now consigned as his DIY outfit (excuse me laughing) not DH's forte, more like BIY(break it yourself)!

Tegan Sat 17-Jan-15 00:57:30

Strangely enough my sofa, which is a sort of multicoloured tartan effect has almost come back into fashion [I knew if I waited long enough it would]. Annoyingly it's very well made and cost a fortune when new. If only dark green carpet would come back into fashion. And I can't bear the thought of having to move all of the furniture out or around if I have a new carpet fitted.

suzied Sun 18-Jan-15 08:25:31

I live in a 60s house and love midcentury design. Have some treasured ercol and Danish furniture which I have acquired and tried to bring together with funky vintage fabrics etc. however, I don't want to overdo it. Should I just keep my walls white as they are at the moment or should I be bold and add some colour/ vintage wallpaper? I feel I should do a feature wall but I don't want it to look a mish mash.

suzied Sun 18-Jan-15 08:30:46

Another question, am currently planning a bathroom refit, what colour tiles would you choose for a small bathroom in my mid century house? The original bathroom was yellow and grey with a lot of Formica and Lino. Not sure if yellow is a good colour for a bathroom! also what about the flooring? What would you do? Am just having a white sink, loo and no bath just a walk in shower, but need to choose tiles and am overwhelmed with the choice.

gillybob Mon 19-Jan-15 13:50:41

You are right in saying the "tartan" effect sofa is back in fashion Tegan the interiors magazines were full of them at the end of last year and always look so warm, cosy and inviting. I am in love with a tartan armchair (in Next) that I would love for the study, but its quite expensive. I am seriously thinking about buying an old armchair and trying to re-upholster it myself using a red/grey tartan fabric I have seen. I wonder how difficult this would be?

I envy you the Ercol and Danish furniture suzied and I love the 60's and 70's designs that are around at the moment. Some amaxing feature wallpapers in wallpaper direct. I love wallpaper and actually find wallpapering very thereputic as long as I am left alone and don't have DH supervising .

Tegan Mon 19-Jan-15 14:08:43

Trouble is it's a burgundy, green sort of tartan and the fashionable ones are lovely earthy brown colours. I reckon it was because that fabric goes so well with the brown leather that has been the fashion for the past few years. There's a reupholstery place near to where I live but I think they'd want to take it away to work on and when I bought it they only just managed to get it into the living room as I didn't think to measure it before I bought it [and, as it was made specially for me there was no option to send it back to the shop]. I don't think I'd try to do it myself and it's slightly more ornate than the current fashion. But so, so comfortable [both sofa and chairs]. Fashion/ comfort;comfort fashion...what a dilemma confused....When I think of some of the 60's furntiture that the family have thrown out over the years I could weep.

matkey Mon 19-Jan-15 14:25:16

My question is about sofas. They are so expensive that I am always a bit nervous about making a change. The other thing is that fashions change so quickly - and while I don't feel the need to be up to the minute I also don't want to choose something that will date very soon after. I'm not a fan of many of the classic styles and would like something a bit more modern

florribob Mon 19-Jan-15 14:28:01

We have been doing a major declutter but one thing I find very difficult to get rid of is books. I have always had a fantasy of a whole room with floor to ceiling book shelves on every wall - but living in a two bed flat this is never going to actually materialise sadly. Thing is - all our bookshelves are full with most shelves two deep in paperbacks and I have run out of storage ideas that will do the job but look great at the same time. help! (It's a period property if that makes any difference)

twentyto Mon 19-Jan-15 14:32:32

Bedroom help please. Our room is large with two windows and a fireplace. It has a pale carpet and beigey walls which I don't like and would prefer to change to pale grey but alas the carpet and (nice) coffee/browny curtains wouldn't really work. Furniture wise we have a set of bed/bedside tables/chests of drawers in a sort of light oak veneer. Quite nice, would like to replace some time but don't see an opportunity but we can love with them so not the end of the word. My question is about the wardrobe which we inherited with the house. It's solid wood, freestanding and a good size/ But it's rather "pine" and we hate the finish. We have considered painting but have never worked out what colour would look ok with everything else. Bedding is plain white cotton. Paintwork is white eggshell.

gillybob Mon 19-Jan-15 14:35:46

I know what you mean florribob I hate parting with books too. I don't mind giving away paperbacks but I love my hardbacks. Before we moved to our current house we had a small room full of shelves, floor to ceiling so no problem but I no longer have that luxury sadly. In the study I have two big book shelves (full to bursting) and a couple of piles of special books (copied from a magazine) with a large one on the bottom, getting smaller and smaller. It actually looks really nice. I have a globe on top of one stack and a small lamp on the other. Not sure what next though?