x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

A new coat of paint, surround sound and preventing fires

House doctor Tips on how to use colour effectively, where to buy a home theatre system and how to prevent electrical fires.

Using colour is usually instinctive and you have already decided on the overall theme of your new rooms, which is great. Ideas will come thick and fast for how to accessorise them, I'm sure. However, you need to understand what the colour will do on a large scale - how it will be affected by light, for example, or what mood it will create. If you are not entirely convinced, it may be best to keep the colours in small doses. Don't be frightened of using the reds and blues, but do be aware of the trick to the eye where dimensions and proportions are concerned. Cool colours (those that contain more blue than red) make the walls of a room appear to recede, while warm colours (with more red than blue) draw the walls in. Ceilings can be raised by painting them a pale shade and lowered by painting them a darker shade. Shading the walls dark to light from floor to ceiling will also make a room seem higher as the eye travels upwards. Awkward corners can be made to recede through the use of pale shades, while a patch of bright colour within a room is a clever and effective way of drawing the eye away from something you would prefer not to be so visible. I'd invest in a few sample pots first and paint a piece of hardboard in your preferred colour and then move it around the room to see the differences created by artificial light and daylight before you take the final plunge.

As we all know, the world of home technology is moving fast and the tech for homes industry is moving just as rapidly. For the avid home movie watcher with cash at your disposal, I'd recommend a trip to Dubai Audio - as far as I'm concerned, the uncrowned kings of the audio/video world. One of their products - the Visionaire FX - is currently generating a great deal of interest. These are dedicated theatres for home, not only do they look great, they are also top-notch from an acoustic perspective.

Without knowing the source of the fire it's difficult to advise, but if it was an electrical fire then switching off and unplugging household appliances before leaving the house for extended periods of time will not only safeguard your home, but also reduce your electricity bill. Overheating at a plug point is one of the main causes of domestic fires. Another is when moisture comes in contact with electrics, so appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, hot water heaters and outdoor appliances are at risk and need to be cleaned and switched off. If you have older electrical goods, especially fridges, be very careful. Old refrigerators sometimes have a plastic tray embedded with elements to evaporate defrosted water. If the drain valve becomes blocked, the tray overheats and over a long period of time they can crack and become exposed to the elements. When the blockage clears, the water fills the trays and results in a short circuit and fire. With home office goods and stereos they often have a "standby mode" even when switched off, so make sure that they are unplugged at the wall. And finally, remember that overheating adaptors can be risky too.

If you have any household queries, email @email:thehousedoctor@thenational.ae