Tips and Guides

Designer Q and A for October 25 (Part 1)

Real Living Editor-in-Chief Rachelle Medina, stylist Issa Villar, and interior designer Lilli Beth Gelvezon answer more design queries


Got a design question? We’d love to help! Like us on Facebook <> or follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @reallivingph 

Read the original article ("Ask It”) in the January-February 2006 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details. 

Home Office for Sister

Q: My sister lives in our family’s three-storey, four-bedroom house by herself since our parents live abroad.  As a birthday gift for my sister, I want to transform my old room into her new office.  She has been taking visual arts classes and she will need a hip, new, inspiring space where she can express her creativity.  My sister and I love art and color and design, yet I’ve run out of ideas. Please help. —Apreel V. Garcia

A: The biggest factor to consider in creating the mood of a space is color. Blue inspires creativity. You can choose to use either paint the room sky blue which is refreshing but calming or you can use denim blue which is a less sleepy color, but not suffocating like navy. Other factors to consider are light and ventilation: make sure the room gets lots of these, preferably the natural type. Also, furniture and accessories determine the hip factor of a room. There are a number of office furniture stores around with stylish but functional pieces. 

For more home office ideas, visit:

Feeling Zen

Q: I am thinking of a Zen theme for our living/dining room. Are the colors brown, orange and blue appropriate for this theme?  —Michele Borja

A: Zen is characterized by simplicity and minimalism. Natural materials, simple lines and a clutter free environment are the more essential elements you need to create a Zen style room. So any color will do the trick as long as it’s combined with earthy, natural tones. But I recommend that you use orange and blue sparingly in your living room/dining room to create a truly authentic Zen look – you can use them as accent colors!—LG

Small Bedroom Makeover

Q: I read the makeover article where you did the bedroom of a mother of two kids (“Room for More,” RL May 2005). My problem is also like that—how to maximize my small bedroom. The difference is I haven’t bought any furniture yet, because I don’t want to regret buying them months later. I was hoping you could give me advise on what kind of furniture to buy for my small room. I live with my girlfriend, and I plan to buy the furniture little by little because of financial concerns.—Emerson A. Magaipo, Quezon City

A: First off, determine what look you want to go for and start from there—I won’t tell you to buy “safe” pieces (or pieces that match everything, although it would help) but having a style in mind will help you stay on track when buying furniture and allows you to be creative.  And when you do start purchasing items, buy the key pieces first—it’s always easier, for you and your pocket, to accessorize once you have the basics. — IV

You have to buy the most important furniture piece first—the bed. If your room can still accommodate a queen-size bed, go ahead, but if space really is tight (and you don’t mind a little coziness with your girlfriend) get a double bed and two compact night tables. Avoid beds with bulky headboards and trimmings like four-poster beds and sleigh beds, stick to sleek and simple styles. A lot of smaller-sized, space-saving furnishings can be found in Our Home. - RM

Door to Door

Q: My front and back door face each other. They say this is bad luck. What design can I do to remedy this? Mae, Olongapo City
A: A divider can instantly block the view of the back door from the front door and can be placed anywhere in between these—either near the front door, giving you a foyer; or near the back door, behind a sofa.  And, dividers come in many different designs to choose from so not only does it solve your problem, it also becomes part of your décor. —IV

Plants Outside the Bedroom

Q: I want to know how to lessen the heat inside our bedroom. Even around 8pm or 9pm we can still feel the heat. I think the bedroom has a warmer environment than the rest of the house because of the cemented grounds right outside the windows (we’re on the ground floor). Do you have any budget-friendly suggestions? - Kristine Labayen

A: You may be right—the cemented grounds could be causing your heat problem. The grounds outside your bedroom might be storing heat and reflecting the sun’s rays towards your walls and windows. Another reason could be the location of your bedroom (second floor rooms are generally airier than ground floor rooms). Unless you can relocate your entire bedroom, the best you can do on a budget is to fill that area outside your bedroom with plants, preferably ones with big and thick leaves. Plants can act as heat absorbers and can provide shade against the sun’s rays. They also give you a fresh and relaxing view. If you can afford to spend a bit more, you can look into installing a trellised makeshift roof above the exposed area outside your bedroom. This will provide shade without totally blocking out natural light. You can even hang potted plants directly outside your bedroom window using your trellis—hitting two birds with one stone! —LG


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