DARK SIDE OF THE ROOM

"If you're having curtains, don't have muslin, fringing, swags or tie-backs," advises Nigel Harris, interior designer. "Think big geometric prints like those in the late Sixties: Casa Pupo, Pucci, Bridget Riley. Or plain solid colour with bold weaves or quilting can look fantastic. In either case let them hang free and simple."

If you can't afford to have lined curtains, and want to keep out light, then invest in a "black-out" blind. These look like normal blinds and come in various colours and prints, but they have an inner foil lining that does not allow light through. Selfridges (tel: 0171 629 1234) sells them from pounds 37.

An even cheaper alternative is a sleep mask - the sort you get on long haul flights. John Lewis (tel: 0171 629 7711) sells good value eye masks for pounds 3.

"Curtains should still feel sumptuous," says Gordon Campbell Gray, owner of One Aldwych Hotel (right), "so although the new curtains are plain they still say 'luxury'. For the hotel I chose plain wild silk in lavender, blue, beige and green."

"Chintzy swags and tails are over," says Richard Morgan-Hughes, interiors personal shopper at Selfridges. "There's now more call for frosted films that you stick on the window and let in diffused light."

Morgan-Hughes can visit your home for a fee of pounds 50, which is redeemable against purchase, or you can visit him in the store for free advice and help on any aspect of interiors buying. Call 0171 629 1234 for further information.

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