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Twelve Ways to Style The Indian Home: Sifting Through International Trends

Posted by
on June 09, 2014 at 01:49 PM

Recycling and reusing is a key aspect of décor, and making the most of what you have is an important step to begin with.

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We see online forums and coffee table magazines offering us home décor ideas and designs tips all the time- refurbish your floors, repaint your walls, buy expensive knickknacks and all that. But décor tips necessarily don’t need to involve  something extravagant, or buying something expensive- there are cheaper, and simpler home remedies. And in many ways, the simplest option is the best option. The Indian home is different than an international one- in the fact that it more fluid in its function. A kitchen can function as a meeting space, a bedroom can become a study, and the living room more than one serves as a eating space. At the same time, our homes are smaller, compact and more inward seeming. Recycling and reusing is a key aspect of décor, and making the most of what you have is an important step to begin with.

One can begin with reupholstering  furniture with old curtains. The reuse-and-recycle strategy adds a personal touch to the furniture, and is a visual delight. It helps each household create its own unique identity, while retaining  the semblance of an everyday set-up- all this, without the troubles of finding furniture to match your upholstery.

You can also paint an Inexpensive piece of furniture white - the beauty of which lies in the fact that everything goes with white, while making it look brand new. Whether you are going for the classical look, or trying a simple studio feel, white is the solution for everything.

Take the bedroom for instance, you can't go wrong with crisp white cotton or linen bedding: it always looks inviting and elegant. The bedrooms also seem more open in such a case, and less intimidating. Simple white  sheets can be sourced anywhere, and are reasonably priced compared to their patterned equivalents.

Similarly, nothing beats piles of soft white towels for their luxurious look, especially when you have open shelving in a bathroom. Candles, a blue vase and green- and cream-colour flowers add dashes of pretty to an all-white backdrop, making it more attractive, lending a personal flavour to get rid of the dank smells that might otherwise exist at home. Try putting an antique in the bathroom - it helps create a narrative, and livens up the dullness that is associated with bathrooms. Sometimes an old lamp, or a heirloom jewellery box, or even a small cabinet rummaged from a junk sale can work wonders.

For everyone who considers themselves an art enthusiast, take the easier, and more economic way out and cover a wall with plates - it’s fun, it’s pretty, and it stands out. Covering the whole wall with plates has the same effect as "one big piece of art.’ And at the same time, is very inexpensive. In Indian homes, which are usually considered cluttered, and ‘trying to hard’, this is an interesting concept to mimic from our international counterparts - adding a quaint feeling  to our traditionally ethnic designs.

 An important thing that we always forget is that balance and symmetry create drama. Place two chairs so that they're framed by tall windows (usually the living room windows are the largest) with an awesome view to up a room's wow factor. It's easy to make even the smallest nook count- not all negative spaces in your home (niches and otherwise) need to considered as dead spaces that act as architectural eye-sores. Complementing the niche with a darker shade of paint is always the easiest option to spruce up your home, and a tried-and-tested technique by most local architects. Flowers and a mirror make a space feel bigger are both pretty touches. Shelves hold magazines and baskets to stash the small stuff. Usually, invest in a small magazine rack, or a newspaper bin to highlight  the dead space, and make it a focal point. Avoid the cluttered, chaotic look of jam-packed shelves by grouping books and accessories of similar size and shape in mini vignettes.

Secondly, float furniture away from the walls: It creates more intimate seating. Larger floor space automatically makes the house seem larger, and more inviting. Investing in furniture that serves many functions is a great way to streamline a room.  A fold-up dining table is an interesting approach, when you aren’t entertaining guests at home, and don’t need that much eating space. Giving your furniture some breathing room, by leaving clear space behind the sofa set or the bed, is another excellent alternative to creating more space.

Similarly, a windowed nook is perfect for a built-in daybed (with storage underneath). Try cozying things up with a demi-lune table and a mirror that bounces even more light into the room.  A sit-out at the alcove further helps accentuate it into a balcony-like setup, a must-have in our  small clustered homes in the city.

A throw brings softness to a masculine leather club chair and lends a light, inviting touch to any reading corner. Pair this with a reading light, and you’ve got your own personal corner in your home. The throw negates the rigidity of the arm chair, while making it approachable at the same time.

The kitchen is an integral part of any Indian household, because traditionally, as Indians, we love cooking. Storing herbs and spices in uniform containers in drawers and cabinets is so easy on the eyes. The look is even cleaner when you use a label maker to denote the contents of tins or little glass jars. Keep glass cabinets bright with bold, colourful packaging. Red pop bottles with attractive labels are fun and fresh on a windowsill, too. They liven up your kitchen sill, and make the most used space of your home come alive with colours. The trends of storage don’t need to be bound to the kitchen itself. For the more fashionably modern, an attractive water hyacinth basket does a great job of organizing an assortment of liquor bottles and creates a tidy, smart-looking minibar on a countertop. This saves the added hassles of having a bar set-up at home, which is usually very impractical.

Lemons in a bowl add a little zest to a kitchen inexpensively. And who doesn't love their fresh scent? A stylish dishtowel can soften a granite countertop and pick up the green in the flowering plants lining your windowsill. The beauty, as they say is in the details. And the simpler the details, the better. Don't hide your dishes from view, by storing them in cabinets and cupboards. Instead, make them a great kitchen feature by displaying one colour or style together. Simple dishes in white and soft celadon look fabulous. As opposed to putting dishes up on the wall as art, having them as standalone pieces by the kitchen cabinet also boast off an interesting decor idea - as a celebration of a meal, or the memories of a long-forgotten wedding gift.

Display a great collection on a dining room table. The pieces don't have to match, but they do have to play together well - porcelain vases, or a lone fruit bowl, experiment away. Horizontally placed runners are a sophisticated way to showcase a well-laid table -- they're more elegant than placemats but much less formal than a tablecloth. Furthermore, white dishware and linens make food look more appetizing and add timeless class to any tabletop. These tips automatically make your dining set-up warmer, and more home-like - an important point to note, considering the amount of time an Indian family spends at the dining table together. You can similarly dress up hallways with runners too, eating up the empty floor space, and making it more attractive, acting like a make-shift carpet or a informal rug.

The solution in the end, does not lie in mimicking ideas from international magazines, or scouting design forums online, or even buying vintage furniture from high-end stores. The solution lies in making do with what you find around your space, and making your house, a home.

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