Home & Decor (Malaysia) - - Experts Say -

I ac­ci­den­tally spilled milk on the car­pet and now it smells aw­ful. How can I clean it up?

There’s no use cry­ing over spilt milk so once it hap­pens, act quickly as the longer you leave it unat­tended, the worse the smell will get. First, blot as much of the milk as pos­si­ble by press­ing a folded clean kitchen pa­per towel, hand towel or mi­crofi­bre cloth over the area. You will want to place your en­tire body weight be­hind the press to ex­tract as much milk as pos­si­ble. Once the area is dry, pour some wa­ter over it to soak the spot and di­lute the re­main­ing milk residue. Re­peat the press­ing with a clean dry towel to draw up the di­luted milk. The next step is to ei­ther use a car­pet sham­poo or mix your own clean­ing so­lu­tion of two cups of warm wa­ter (never hot as this might set the stain) and one ta­ble­spoon of dish­wash­ing de­ter­gent. Ap­ply some so­lu­tion to the stain and dry us­ing a clean white cloth or pa­per towel. The smell should be no­tice­ably re­duced, but if it still lingers, sprin­kle bi­car­bon­ate of soda lib­er­ally over the area, rub­bing it into the fi­bres. Leave it for a night then brush it gently and vac­uum it all out.

Is it pos­si­ble to add wain­scot­ing de­tails to an ex­ist­ing wall that is wall­pa­pered?

Yes, says Jenny Lewis, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Bode Fabrics and Fur­nish­ings, though most con­trac­tors will be more fa­mil­iar with the term “pan­elling”. Gen­er­ally, wain­scot­ing oc­cu­pies the bot­tom third of a wall, so for a room height of 2.6m, the height of the wain­scot­ing (in­clud­ing skirt­ing) should be about 86cm. De­signs with bead­ing give a Hamptons look, but if you’re look­ing for some­thing more mod­ern, she sug­gests ver­ti­cal strips of wal­nut where the fo­cus is on the beauty of the wood grain.

How do I re­move a cof­fee ring stain from a mar­ble table­top?

Gor­geous as mar­ble and gran­ite are, they are por­ous and will ab­sorb liq­uids. Mar­ble stains hap­pen when a liq­uid is ab­sorbed into the stone and is trapped be­neath the sur­face. It is there­fore very im­por­tant to have mar­ble and all stone sur­faces prop­erly sealed.

You will need to make a poul­tice to ab­sorb the stain. A poul­tice is a thick paste of an ab­sorbent pow­der ma­te­rial and a sol­vent. Ev­ery­day ma­te­ri­als like bak­ing soda or bi­car­bon­ate of soda are ef­fec­tive.

Ap­ply the poul­tice thickly over the dis­coloura­tion and cover with plas­tic cling wrap. Leave it overnight to dry. Re­move the dried poul­tice the next day and wipe the sur­face clean with a mild soap. Re­peat if needed.

I like to lay out food buf­fet-style when I en­ter­tain, but find it usu­ally looks bor­ing. What are some key plat­ters/serv­ing­ware I need, and other sim­ple ideas on how to dec­o­rate the ta­ble?

There are no hard and fast rules about what es­sen­tial serv­ing­ware you need as it re­ally de­pends on your style of party, cui­sine and num­ber of guests. Here are some sugges­tions:

• Large serv­ing bowl for noo­dles, pasta or rice

• Sev­eral small to mid-sizde serv­ing bowls for food with gravy/sauces, side dishes and even bread rolls (place a folded nap­kin at the bot­tom of the bowl)

• Oval plat­ter for roast meat

• Square plat­ter for cup­cakes, brown­ies, kueh or cook­ies

• Big cut­ting board for ap­pe­tis­ers

• Serv­ing tray with deep sides for easy han­dling

• Glass drink dis­penser

• Tongs (not the flimsy bar­be­cue kind), la­dles and large spoons

The ba­sic rule is to lay food and drinks in vary­ing heights as this makes it eas­ier for guests to see ev­ery­thing at a glance and also adds in­ter­est to the buf­fet ta­ble. Use sim­ple wooden boxes (nat­u­ral, painted white or wrapped in pa­per) to lift plat­ters and large bowls. Stand bread­sticks in a tall vase or pitcher. You get the idea.

Start the buf­fet with plates and end it with cut­lery and nap­kins as this leaves hands free to hold plates and reach for food. Keep the line mov­ing by pack­ag­ing cut­lery rolled up in nap­kins.

Save the mid­dle of the ta­ble for a cen­tre­piece like a trio of vases filled with choco­lates. Or, chuck in a few li­mau pu­rut (lime leaves) to im­part a zesty scent. Gather a few pot­ted suc­cu­lents and wrap some pretty pa­per around the pots and tie with string, and raise them on a cake stand.

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