Pep up your abode!

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Whether it’s an apartment or a house/villa, there are various ways to liven up, revamp and reorganize your abode to suit your personality and needs. I will be discussing here some ideas related to decluttering, colour therapy, spaciousness, cork walls/floors, mirror placements, and storage/decorative overlap.

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Whereas most revamping articles focus on ‘decluttering’ and freeing your house from mess, make sure it’s not to the extent of de-personalizing your abode – Tis the era of personalizing, of surrounding yourself with memorabilia and positive energy, of belonging and storytelling; nostalgia and memories; making it more cozy and personable. Hence it is an era of antiquing, artisan/handcrafted goods – and Art in general.

“….a place not only of respite from the chaos outside, but a place of creative energy; where many of the design ideas are born. So it’s important that it feels familiar and comfortable; A space that feels like ‘You’ allowing for effortless relaxation..” Robin Standefer.

TrendBible(2017) also recognizes the trend of “Art Studio” where, while indulging in relaxed maximalism, inspiration is drawn – amongst other things – from the “creative spirit of the artist studio; creating original and novel designs” to invigorate the surroundings and revealing a “fresh new canvas” – “opening up like an art gallery” – incorporating a “new sense of risk taking and confidence.

My tiny workspace (I like sitting on the floor and working instead of sitting on chairs). consists of small decorative objects that all hold emotional value for me… hence the personalization and motivation to work!

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Instead of a wall full of pictures (or complementing it), why not have one full of paintings and artefacts that signify a moment in time special to you having the greatest emotional value and contributing to storytelling:

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All this may seem so exciting for the maximalists particularly. However, current trends in interior design (2018/2019) bear good news for minimalists as well as a word of caution for the maximalists in this respect! Even though a move away from the stark Scandinavian minimalism is evident, that does not mean moving to the opposite end of the spectrum; an era of ‘lagomnot too little, not too much, just the right amount; which could be adequately termed as Relaxed Maximalism – a move away from the ostentatious towards Restrained/Understated elegance. The same was stressed upon by various industry experts at the Index Trade Exhibition Dubai, 2017.

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Colours, if  applied befittingly, can actually be therapeutic. As an element of interior design, colour plays the fundamental role of interacting with the rest of the elements subsequently giving them definition. Don’t feel confident enough to experiment with bright/unconventional colours? Well its time for a revolution! Colours to dominate the fashion and interior industries (2018/2019) have been declared to be ‘jewel tones’ and ‘forest frost/hues’. What’s more? Pantone just recently announced ‘ultraviolet‘ to be the colour of the year 2018! And Index 2018 has shifted from last year’s ‘Design for the senses’ and marks this year as that of the Design for the Expression, individualism, of adventures and experiences of your own! So feel free to experiment, to express yourself and show your quirky side!

Having grown up in a house surrounded by huge expanses of back/front yards and a veranda fittingly connecting the indoors and the outdoors, I faced the restrictions and limitations accompanying apartment living for the first time, about four years ago. Despite being much more spacious than other apartments, it is north facing – meaning virtually no sunlight at all. Moreover all the walls were painted white accompanied by white marble floors and flashy lighting making it look stark, dull and incredibly boring!

I started off with the walls – for example, for the living room, I used Berger paints in ‘Polka’ colour in matte finish to cover one of the four walls. This helped create an illusion of sunniness, warmth and coziness too! The right amount of yellow can enliven the surroundings with hope, optimism, inspiration and an uplift likely to engender creativity.

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A Deep navy on the walls can give each design element a chance to be noticed (as in the image below) and appreciated instead of washing out the stunning cabinetry and marble counters look:

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The colour Blue signifies calmness, contentment, cleanliness, intelligence, futurism, confidence, spirituality, serenity, and trust. It clears the mind and visual palette encouraging clarity and creativity. The warm tones of blue can warm up a room reminding one of the sunny days and the warm blue skies and seas. The resultant calming effect makes a room look more spacious and less hemmed in:

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Similarly green coloured walls help create an aura of security, protection and harmony and additionally create a calming/tranquil effect. They look spectacular when coupled with a view of nature outside:

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Where Red colour can foster power, intimacy, energy and strength, it is popularly known to be ‘the colour that flatters the skin’. Consequently it is frequently used in rooms reserved for social intermingling and dining rooms where it is known to serve the function of stimulating appetite and healthy conversations:

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A few tips on how to make a room/area look more spacious:

  • Instead of lining the furniture against the wall, try to arrange it in a way to demarcate different functional areas within a room:

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  • Yes carpets and rugs look nice and are becoming more and more in line with current trends, but using one big rug to cover most of the room makes the room look smaller. Sometimes it helps to use different pieces of aerial rugs/mats/carpets for different portions of the room as above.
  • A word of caution while choosing to have brightly painted walls: if the room is small it is not advisable to go for very dark colours as these are known to absorb light and make a room look smaller whereas light colours tend to make a room look bigger, airier and brighter. Brightly painted ceilings on the other hand, can actually help create depth. Often, a contrasting texture is needed to break the monotony. A room will give a feel of being larger for example, if the walls are painted in different shades of one colour palette:
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  • Selecting some pieces of furniture to be the same colour as the flooring can prevent visual obstruction and consequently create the illusion of a bigger space. For me, this table from oodlife did wonders in terms of space, along with gracing the surroundings with its restrained elegance and ‘oomph’ factor:

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  • Glass and mirrors can also create the illusion of more space. One of Maxwell’s most preferred places is in the dining area ideally complemented by soft romantic ambient/mood lighting while still keeping the surroundings brightly lit up. While large mirrors can end up being quite expensive, smaller mirrors from thrift stores can be grouped together on the wall (preferably all frames painted in one colour) to create an organized and less cluttered look. Small square mirrors tiled out to look like a window can also be used to create an illusion of a fake window. Additionally, mirrors may also be used to light up your stove top’s back (in fact all alcoves/recesses at home) – conventionally known to be a dim/dark area- making meal preparation all the more enjoyable. Keep some distilled water and vinegar handy and you won’t need to worry about the grease/dirt on the mirrors at all!
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A word of caution here – time and again it has been suggested that mirrors must never be put in bedrooms (especially opposite the bed) or right across from your front door. This is especially endorsed by Feng shui supporters, where Feng shui is a Chinese ideology (often rejected by many advocating it’s a myth) seeking to harmonize individuals with their surroundings. It claims that mirrors facing the bed deplete personal energy, lead to insomnia and create the energy of sorrow. For more Feng Shui ideals’ details, visit this blog on feng shui. The scientific explanation for the same has been presented by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St.Louis who explain how eyes have the ability to catch movement through a ‘neural circuit at the back of our eyes’. Hence a mirror next to/opposite a bed could surely take us by surprise and alarm us. As for not having a mirror opposite the front door many disagree- best explained by KenLauher.com.

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Cork has become one of the most trending options to embellish interiors today. Not only is it extremely practical in terms of being able to absorb ambient sound and having anti-bacterial properties, it is now available in various looks made to emulate other materials such as wood and linoleum:

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For a DIY cork wall tutorial be sure to check out this website for cork wall installation.

Lastly, multipurpose furniture and wall mounted desks can greatly resolve the issue of spaced restrictions as well. This brings us to another important concept: the storage/decorative overlap:

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To make your interiors more interesting and practical as well, incorporate the storage/decorative overlap into your scheme. How about a storage trunk re-envisioned as  seating or the multi-purpose rusted metal trunks mounted on the wall for showcasing souvenirs/artefacts:

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Or a coat hanger stand  that serves for both practical and aesthetic purposes. It could be used at the entrance for both hanging coats, keeping shoes as well as housing decorative plant pots at the base.

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This shoes storage/organiser is at the entrance of my apartment and as much as I found the colour of the wood not appealing to my taste at all, (I did not have the permission to change it) I had no patience to make it look more banal by adding shoes to it so I used it instead as a symbol of bringing outdoors indoors…. decorating each section with artificial plants/leaves and the tiny up cycled carriage with floral embellishments.

If you’ve reached the end of this post, then my job here is done! 🙂 Hope you found it interesting and informative…..if you did, like and share away!

2 Replies to “Pep up your abode!”

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