Ask Alice

Do you have an interiors dilemma? Consult our resident specialist
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Q. Where can I find a very small sofa which will fit in my kitchen and which blends in with its contemporary design?
* Dana Crabtree, Pickering

Q. Where can I find a very small sofa which will fit in my kitchen and which blends in with its contemporary design?
* Dana Crabtree, Pickering

A. If you can fit a small sofa into a kitchen it immediately turns the space into something vastly more civilised. In fact, when I was younger, I dreamt of having a kitchen big enough to have a sofa, and now that I've finally got one, it's lovely to sit there with a large glass of wine and watch my husband do the cooking (joke). Most small sofas are still very bulky and often old fashioned in design, but I've found just the thing which I hope will suit you. It's a darling little two-seater from Ikea called Lund Hogan (£250;, and it's only been in stock for about 2 weeks - so you won't find it in the Ikea catalogue or on the website. Measuring just 144cm wide by 82cm deep, it's a lovely simple boxy shape.

Q. I have a tatty "lean-to" conservatory, brick-built up to about three feet, with wooden-framed windows above and a sloping glass roof. The proportions aren't very pretty and the interior is very uninviting. I can't afford to rebuild it, but would love to improve its looks.
* Stephanie Jenkins, by e-mail

A. There are some great solutions for glass-related problems to be found at (01494 482763). They supply self-adhesive film and vinyl for use on glass or any smooth surface, including solar film, which reflects ultra-violet light, one-way mirror film that prevents people being able to see in, film with cut-out designs and coloured film. They can cut the film to the required size for you and can even arrange fitting on on larger windows where you may need help. They also provide a great consultancy service, and are happy to advise and help with your decision. If your window frames are painted white, try painting them in a mid-shade, which will take the emphasis away from their proportions and disguise them effectively. Alternatively, you could try hanging some pretty muslin up to mask the windows from the inside. Then put something really bright on the floor to draw the eye away from the rest of the room, and hang plants and flowers around the walls. That should do the trick.

Q. We are creating a room in the attic for my teenage son and daughter to bring their friends home to. We would like to include some comfortable seating that is a little bit more sophisticated than cushions on the floor, but the stairs up to the loft space curve so steeply that none of the large armchairs we like will fit. Have you any bright ideas?
* M.Macauley, Dumfries

A. Have you heard of "le Beanock"? It could be just the thing. It is a beautiful, comfortable beanbag made of sailcloth designed to be hung by chains at its four corners from the joists in your ceiling. A couple of these facing each other, perhaps, would be fun and look really sophisticated too. A two-seater beanock measuring two metres across costs £750, but the smaller, one-metre version is available at £350 (01702 559293;

Design dilemma? E-mail