The beauty of lustrous fabrics, from supple leather to elegant marble, shine in this all-white decorating palette.

Dear Debbie;

I’ve always wanted an all-white room but kids made it impractical. Now they have grown up it’s my turn. Have you any tips on how to make this special room work?
— Dianna

Dear Dianna;

Planning a monotone room is an adventure. There’s lots to think about and you should take your time selecting the major features. There are hundreds of shades of white from which to choose. Paint is easiest to match up or combine with other pieces, so start with your sofa and side chairs. Then choose a carpet. Lighting changes all colours, so consider when this room will be used. Is it a dayroom filled with natural light or meant for relaxing or entertaining in the evening warmed by incandescent light and candles? Finish with your accessories and here is where you can add subtle touches of colour in pastel shades. (Or consider one or two bright splashes in a piece of artwork.)

Here is a stunning all-white room that is made quietly splendid with its mix of luxurious materials. The sleek leather sofa has plush, full cushions and sculpted armrests. A marble tabletop shines over light wood legs. The carpet is a simple stretch of white pile that you know will be soft underfoot. Introducing a modern touch, very on trend, a brass band accents the rounded velvet footstool. Interest and balance are derived from the mix of textures and a few colour changes. Nature’s greenery is always welcome; it livens any space as light filters through the leaves.

For the walls, select a few paint swatches and bring them home. Study the effect that the natural light in your room has and how colour shifts. A flat or matte surface absorbs light and offers a soft background. Glossy finishes reflect light the same as a mirror, producing a brighter surface.

Create a room that is uniquely yours. Layer on a few treasures that make you happy, invite some memories, buy an outrageous piece that you can’t resist. I know you’ll make it wonderful.

Dear Debbie;

Now that I am retired, I have time to travel, which I love to do. I have collected lots of different items that looked special when I found them but I’m not sure what to do with them now that I’m home. How do you accommodate figurines, textiles, crockery and art that are from different cultures?
— Loretta

Dear Loretta;

I received an email from Kathy, a reader who has a great solution for decorative tiles that she collected on her travels. She had two from Australia and two from China. Her master bathroom needed something to make it more stylish and interesting. Kathy had a local cabinet maker build a frame for the tiles. They are mounted above the bathroom sink, brighten up the spot and serve as a lovely memory for her.

Your collection is varied and there are lots of options. Why not put some items into use? The textiles could be sewn into cushion covers for your bedroom. Crockery pieces will serve as bowls for displaying fruit or condiments, and always make alluring small vases for flowers. If the artwork doesn’t flow together, then hang in separate rooms. Think up imaginative displays for your figurines. Shadow boxes and mirrors enhance the visual impact and draw your eye to items that you hold dear.