Ask Alice: About ironing boards, positioning pictures and daybeds

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

Q. I have recently moved into my new flat which has a very small but lovely kitchen. There is absolutely nowhere to keep my ironing board except in the sitting room, which looks awful, and I wondered if you knew whether anybody makes an ironing board that can be stowed away into a tiny space.
C Elliott, by e-mail

A. The online store www.heaven7.co.uk has a very neat, wall-mounted ironing board for £99.95. Only four inches deep when closed away, it can easily be hidden when not in use. Unlike many products for small spaces, it is full-sized and well-built and also swivels from its mounting point to make the best use of space.

Alternatively, you could make a feature of your ironing board; www.ilovedesign.com has a board that is beautiful enough to hang on your kitchen wall. With wide, flat aluminium legs, Amleto is priced at £230.

If this is beyond your budget, why not improve the looks of your present ironing board by re-covering it in a lovely cover from Totally Funky ( www.totally-funky.co.uk)? Available in three styles to suit your décor and priced at £11.99, their retro floral covers are good enough to be on permanent display.

Q. Do you have advice on positioning pictures? We have a collection of photos and prints of varying sizes and, having just finished redecorating, would like guidance before we start to bang holes in the wrong places.
Melissa Osbourne, Bath

A. First of all, try out your arrangements on the floor before you get your hammer out, Melissa. If you're hanging pictures in groups, try to achieve a sense of unity by placing pictures that harmonise together - similar tones, matching frames - but as a general rule, don't mix your media.

Don't be afraid to combine large and small pictures in the same group, (although very small items are better on their own in a nook or alcove) and be bold with your arrangement; strong, geometric shapes look great. Try to keep spaces between pictures within a group fairly constant.

Once you've decided on the layout, the golden rule is not to hang pictures too high; eye-level is perfect for single pictures or the centre of a group. Once you've got them up, adjust them by eye, as most buildings contain surprisingly few true right angles.

Q. I have some friends who have imported a beautiful daybed from Sri Lanka, but they said the whole process was very lengthy and involved, and I would like to know where I can buy something similar?
Trisha King, Bow

A. I've just heard about a lovely daybed available at Mandala, the specialists in handmade Asian furniture based in Brick Lane, London E1. Their showroom at the Old Truman Brewery is just around the corner from where you live, so it might well be worth popping in to have a look.

The Whampoa daybed is made from recycled teak and has a beautiful sheen which shows off the age of the wood. It has a wide base which makes it ideal for lounging and napping, and comes in at the reasonable price of £995 (Mandala 020 7684 4883; www.mandalafurniture.com).

e-mail: askalice@independent.co.uk

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