Ask Alice

Do you have an interiors dilemma? Consult our resident specialist
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Q. My partner and I are fighting like mad over new paint shades for our house - especially the fact that he wants a red bedroom. How can I dissuade him?
Clare Armitage, Chester

Q. My partner and I are fighting like mad over new paint shades for our house - especially the fact that he wants a red bedroom. How can I dissuade him?
Clare Armitage, Chester

A. There's nothing wrong intrinsically with a red bedroom, except that it could get oppressive after a while. Tell your partner that as a concession he can have the bathroom painted red - smaller rooms often look cosier and warmer if they're painted in dark colours. If he still insists on a red bedroom, steer clear of superstore colour ranges and check out Farrow and Ball's Rectory Red, which is very beautiful.

Q. My seven-year-old son and I have moved into a rented apartment and we're not allowed to decorate. My son is disappointed with the plain white walls of his bedroom. Do you have any ideas to cheer up his environment without affecting the paintwork?
Mandy Keen, e-mail

A. How about the Excled LED dome bulb, which costs only £10, and comes from online green product specialists Ecotopia ( www.ecotopia.co.uk)? The Excled is a simple bulb that can be fitted to any ordinary lamp (it comes with bayonet fitting only), and changes colour smoothly throughout the spectrum. Your son will have a different-coloured room every few seconds - and you won't be out of pocket.

Q. I am planning a small shower room for my loft conversion and feel uninspired by plain tiling. Have you got any suggestions?
Stephanie Crockerton, Hants

A. A company called 55 Max has come up with an amazing new idea that might appeal. It has developed a method of reproducing photographic images in tile form (ceramic tiles from £380 per square metre; www.55max.com). You can choose any image from its own collection or provide your own photo. This can either be replicated on multiple tiles, which will repeat across the wall, or you can choose to have the image enlarged to the size of the entire area that you wish to cover and they will provide you with the image in mosaic form. They also give you a tile "map" and numbered key to help your builder complete the puzzle. 55 Max can also transfer almost any image on to other surfaces, including blinds (from £160) and carpet tiles (£120 per square metre).

Q. Our back door has been ruined by my dog's claws as he scratches the wood when he wants to come in. I'm tempted to get a dog door, but he is a medium-sized dog and I am worried that a small burglar might squeeze through. What can I do?
Sarah Benwell, Mill Hill

A. I take your point about the burglar, and I also think that dog doors look ghastly. But I've found the solution - the dog doorbell (£14.99 at www.iwantoneofthose.com). It consists of a paw-shaped pressure pad that you place outside your door for the dog to step on, and a receiver that you put inside. Your dog will have to learn how to use it, but a few lumps of cheese will help a dog learn to do almost anything.

Design dilemma? E-mail askalice@independent.co.uk

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