From mixing and matching fabrics in your home to arranging furniture with real style, décor expert Karl Lohnes answers three common decorating questions pulled from Canada AM’s viewer mailbag.

Mixing and matching fabrics

Q: I've bought a large print floral sofa for my family room and would like to buy two chairs to go with it. Should the chairs match each other and should they be patterned or plain?

A: If you have another dominant print in the room such as a patterned rug or large graphic art, then choose chairs with a plain covering. Plain does not have to be boring -- it could be a textured chenille fabric, leather or faux suede.

If the two new chair styles are the same, then their fabrics should match. If the styles are different, then the fabrics need to be different.

If the sofa has a curly or floral pattern, choose a straight-edge pattern such as a plaid or stripe to balance out the floral. Too much if a floral or curly pattern can look fussy in a room.

Choose an accent colour from the sofa as a jumping off point for the chairs. Deep raspberry or dark lavender would work best. A large cream or yellow plaid would also be a great pick.

All fabric samples shown are from Robert Allen Fabrics

Arranging furniture

Q: I live in a small, open-space condo. The living room, dining room and kitchen feel like one room. How do I define each space? Can I do it with a few different paint colours?

A: Use furniture, rugs and artwork to define spaces in the layout.

Keep the wall colours consistent within the entire space. Find a neutral colour and use a rich tone overall throughout the space.

Use a small round dining table near the kitchen, then a sofa/two chairs/console in the living area. Keep the window wall open to create a long sightline and maintain the view. Add an area rug and hang your artwork horizontally over the sofa in the living area. Keep the floor area in the dining space clear of a rug and hang a large, vertical piece of artwork in that space. Hanging a mirror instead of art in the dining room is also a great option. It will open up the space and reflect some light into a dark area of the condo.

Paint colour question

Q: I will be moving and my new bedroom is bright but not very large. What sort of paint colour will help it look larger?

A: Find the light and dark tone in the flooring and choose that in a colour. Hues that match the colour of the floor will make the room feel large. Also, paint baseboards, door frames and the radiator the same colour as the walls.

To make the bedroom feel like the most neutral and largest space, paint it a caramel/wheat colour in a similar tone to the floors. My favorite is Harmony AF-90 from Benjamin Moore. The warm neutral will blend with the floor and allow the eye to roam around the room uninterrupted. Any other décor scheme that is added to the room will be balanced by the warm neutral colour.

All paint chips were from Benjamin Moore's Affinity Colour Collection. 

Do you have a décor/design question for Karl to answer in an upcoming show? Send it to: Please include your first name, city/town/province and a digital photo with your question.