Don’t we all wish to have that perfect abode with everything in place and it looks sophisticated and clean at the same time?
Do you feel you want to give your home a new look and were confused and clueless as to how to start and where to start?
Do you want to give your home your personal touch without going through an interior designer?
Well if the answer to the questions is YES then this will quell a lot of your queries. I am going to try and break this seemingly tough task into small doable steps, and I guarantee you that you will have a bright new look. And the best part? You don’t have to spend big bucks for it. Yes, its DIY and some hard work is involved, but there is so much satisfaction at the end of the day!
It’s a short word but this is the core of this exercise. And here is how you can go about it. Make a list of everything in each room into 3 categories:
1. Absolutely needed
2. Not needed now but may use later
The unwanted lot needs to be sold/given away. The second lot needs to be packed up in boxes. The first category is the most important one which should occupy the storage space within reach. The reason I call this step the core of decorating is because the clearing of junk clears up space and allows for neatness and cleanliness which is the base of any home. Many a time we have too much stuff on the countertops, tabletops, shelves or open spaces. Visible spaces need to be decluttered as it is easy and pleasing on the eye. Not all photo frames need to be displayed, not all curios need to be placed together. Not all trophies and photo frames need to be displayed. All of this adds to clutter.
Rearrangement of furniture adds a bright new look. There are some simple things which I do which always makes the room look pleasing and adds a bit of sophistication
- Clear out your corners of the room as far as possible. This will give the illusion of space.
- In the living room have small end tables instead of a large coffee table. Especially if the living room is small. I will recommend the end tables highly. If space allows, have the coffee table too, preferable low and square. Place a few coffee table books on it and maybe a small curio. Not only does it look classy, it ties up the armchairs and couch of the living room together and gives a cosy look.
- On the end-tables add a small plant, some curios, a pretty family portrait, keeping in mind that there is space for a cup/ glass can be placed there as well. Basically, don’t crowd it up with little things.
- A small nightstand beside a bed or two night stands beside a double bed is a great idea. Getting a nightstand with a few drawers adds that extra storage without looking too obtrusive.
- Place the dining table away from the wall too so that chairs can be placed all around. If a large one won’t fit it makes sense to get a smaller table.
- I always try and keep the entrance to the room free from furniture as far as possible. This again creates the illusion of space and creates free walking space.
If you have an old piece of furniture in wood which you don’t like you can always create something new and beautiful out of it. Wood ALWAYS looks classy. But in the right design. Simple clean lines without carving/ engraving etc can be upcycled to make new stuff. I would recommend this highly! I have an old teakwood coffee table which I am going to be converting into a small bench for my foyer. I also have scraped off the polish to paint it in a different colour making it look fresh and young. You can make poofs, small tea tables for the balcony, just cut it up and use it as wall panelling or wall art, add hand painted tiles to make a console table. The list is endless. If anybody wants help in this you may always connect with me for ideas, I’ll be happy to help.
4. Adding Colour
In case you are repainting your home, choose muted neutral colours for the walls. Why? Because firstly neutral colours like cream, beige, white are firstly cooler for our harsh summer. Secondly, they can be accessorised with most colours without needing to change the wallpaper/paint. Light neutral colours also look classy and add the illusion of space. The neutral colours I would recommend are white, cream, taupe, beige, cream, sand, and grey.
Now that most of the junk is gone, rearrange your things into your rooms. This will include linen, clothes, books, important papers, toys, repair and maintenance stuff, tools, toiletries, cleaning equipment and detergents. The motto I follow is “a place for everything and everything in place”. If there is a dedicated place for everything, I have noticed that things are kept neatly. There are numerous storage solutions in terms of drawer inserts, dividers, sectioned drawer inserts, which are really great tools for keeping drawers clutter free and clean. I love using drawers as I find them easier to fill in and clean as they are out. Bending and cleaning shelves at the bottom or floor level is annoying. So in case you are planning to invest in more storage, invest in a chest of drawers instead of huge cabinets. The top of the cabinet can also double up as a TV stand or entertainment console.
6. Change the upholstery/linen
I cannot emphasise enough how much of a difference this makes. An exciting coloured couch with armchairs in matching/contrasting prints are very ‘in’ these days. Roman blinds instead of heavy curtains look classy and neat. I have a weakness for full length curtains which I feel give a dreamy look. I also love sheers, which let the sunlight in without compromising on privacy. Who would want the neighbour peering in? Choose soothing pleasing colours which you can live with, in the day and the night. Many a time we select a fabric under the harsh light of a showroom at night and it looks very obtrusive during the day. A big thumbs up to natural fabric curtains with eyelets and loops, which look not just fabulous but also are easy on the pocket. Curtain rings are mostly not in vogue anymore, curtain tracks are a much better option, for those preferring to get curtains stitched. If budget is a constraint, I would advise revamping one room at a time, rather than changing all the curtains at a go or all the linen at a go. Having one complete room with drapes, bed sheets, maybe matching cushions will be a big tick mark on your list. Moreover, each room will mostly have its individual colour theme and choice of accessory so it will make sense to do it in one shot. Then move to the next room after your pocket allows for it.
This is probably the most overlooked aspect of redecorating. There are wonders which a pretty table lamp or floor lamp can create. They magically transform a room. They also give the option of mood lighting with yellow mellow lights to create a warm cosy ambience. Workspaces like a kitchen and children’s room need to have bright light. Having a combination of ceiling lights, recessed lights and table tamps creates options to choose between different moods.
8. Accessorise, Accessorise!
Finally, we arrive at the last and probably the best part of decorating. Our rooms are done, storage has been cleared up, counter spaces are cleared up. My favourite accessories are framed original paintings, a vase of flowers, green indoor plants, and crystal ware and glassware. A plant here and there in a beautiful planter, a vase full of fresh flowers, Photo frames, a table runner, cushion covers custom made to match the couch and chairs or curtains, table linen, tea light holders, glass and crystal curios here and there add that touch of beauty and personal love to the home . Using the principle of “less is more’ use only those accessories which match or look good and remove the rest and pack it up. You can have two sets of accessories this way which can be interchanged after a few months to change the look.
Happy decorating guys! How I am excited enough to start a redecorating spree of my own….yes, again! Be creative, be minimalistic and you can create magic.
Vineeta Ambasta is a cost and management accountant by profession and qualification and has worked with leading corporates in three different cities of India. She is passionate about issues ailing our country, chief among them being women’s equality, misogyny and women’s safety in India.