Penny Morrison's dos and don'ts of decorating

Designer Penny Morrison is known for her effortless layering of pattern and her beautiful fabric collection

A lacquered dining room in a Chelsea mansion flat designed by Penny

James Merrell

Dark lacquered walls are incredibly chic.

Pictures stand out very well against them.

I hate small bedside tables with tiny lamps.

They should be as big as possible, with plenty of space for books and flowers.

If you have built-in cupboards in your bedroom, clad the doors with antique mirrors.

These will look smart and reflect the light, while making the room appear twice the size.

Try to make your garden, terrace or courtyard an extension of the house.

I do this by putting in great big french windows.

The drawing room at Penny's own country house, as featured in Lisa Fine's book ‘Near and Far’

Miguel Flores-Vianna

Cushions should be big, soft and never positioned on their point.

Cover them in vintage fabrics and they'll look much more interesting. Penny Worrall's brightly coloured Chinese silks are rather wonderful; they were originally used as dowry textiles in south-west China.

Keep curtains simple - either unlined or with a thin interlining - or use light blinds instead.

Heavy, lined curtains are a hangover from the days of no heating.

The drawing room of a smart bachelor pad designed by Penny

Alicia Taylor

Pictures should be big, or there should be lots of them.

There's nothing worse than a painting the size of a postage stamp on a vast wall.

Don't clutter a room with too many chairs.

Club fenders, ottomans and small cubes that can be pushed under a table are useful for extra seating.

Penny Morrison

Search out treasure troves for antiques.

Every time I design a house I go to Lorfords in Tetbury and Guinevere in London.

Where possible, raise the tops of doorways.

This will give you light and space while maintaining the definition between rooms.

I think the dining room is the most boring room in the house.

It tends to look rather dead without people in it. Double it up as a library - fill it with books and flowers and it will come to life.

Alicia Taylor

Spend your money on upholstered furniture and beds.

Scale and comfort are so important. Invest in a good, deep sofa and a nice high bed.

Americans do upholstery much better than us.

Loose chair covers with flat seams are much easier to wash and also look very elegant.