Home Makeovers on a budget
The festive season is around the corner and many of us would like to get a home makeover done before Diwali. This really means the planning needs to start now. An interior space is a reflection of your individuality, and requires the same amount of attention, if not more, that you would give to physical appearance. Fundamentally, you can break all the rules. But at the end of the day what really matters is whether the space has a striking personality and enduring appeal. Be open to change and explore the various possibilities.
The first step is to visualise the big picture and assess all the things that you would like to achieve/transform. It does not really matter whether you intend to do this in one go, or over a period of five years. What is important, however, is that you get a sense of the entire space. Essentially, this helps in ensuring that different areas of a house merge seamlessly into one another, regardless of when you actually renovated a certain area. It should have a story and not seem like a randomly put together compilation of thoughts. It is imperative to budget for all the various expenses right at the onset. Once your costs are clearly outlined, you would also have a fair idea if you need to plan the project in phases, without compromising on the design .You are less likely to buy things on impulse, when you have both the design and the financials in place. In fact, when a place is well put together, the budget is never apparent because everything fits beautifully. Budgeting influences your options, but it does not prevent a project from being well planned to suit all your functional needs while giving a free rein to your aesthetic aspirations.
When you have the basic plot in place, you could start collecting your thoughts (and money) and put it down on paper. Think about the layout, the kind of cabinetry and furniture, colour schemes as well as the art/accessories you would like to display. Every aspect needs attention. Take some advice, either from a professional, or friends and family. You would be surprised at the insights and ideas people have to offer. A design board, with colour, fabrics, furniture and design ideas for every room would help you keep the details in place. Here you could also pin a list of the functional needs for a specific area. Make a file with cuttings and swatches of things that you like. Take pictures on your digicam/mobile of things that inspire you and then see whether it works with your conceptualization. This way you would be able to decide if something you see at a store fits into your overall scheme of things. A lot of the time, we tend to figure out things as we go along which is when the costs escalate and the design aspect progressively diminishes and gets replaced by piecemeal enterprise.
Once you have decided on the area you would like to renovate/refurbish, placement and layout are the next step. You could also think about any additional features you may want to incorporate in terms of architectural elements. It is almost mandatory to figure out what the focal point of the room is . Without focus there will be no structure and form. This focal point could be an interesting piece of furniture, a dramatic view or even art. You can decide what is most appropriate. This will determine everything from the layout to the accessories. This will be useful in deciding the placement of the various pieces of furniture, lighting, furnishings, artefacts and accessories. It is also where you can think out of the box and move away from the conventional. Be inspired by everything you have read or seen, but let your space tell you where it finds its heart. You need to open your own mind to the possibilities. If your sofas are screaming to get away from the walls, think about it. When the cabinetry looks dictatorial in a space, cut it down to size and realign the power play.
The theme that you choose for the entire space will also help you find its own vocabulary. For example, if FabIndia is your look you identify with, I don’t mean that you will end up shopping for everything there. But essentially you would know your colour palettes, be partial to motifs and ethnic lines, want the woodwork to be simple with a rustic appeal and probably collect a lot of traditional artefacts. So when you plan the space makeover, you would have a fair idea of the things that would fit the picture and the ones that may be quite out of place. It will still allow you to introduce an element of the contemporary but you would have a distinct visual that will help you decide what works best. Eclecticism is not about putting different styles together without thought. The various elements have to create a composite picture.
The language being defined, you could move on to the grammar. Balance, scale and proportion. Imperative for good design. Balance does not necessarily mean symmetry and more often than not, asymmetry is used to create the drama in a space. Scale and proportion would be applied to all the various elements and enable you to figure out what the dimensions of various pieces should be and how effective they are together. Again, when you stick to the fundamental principles, the primary concern is not cost, but function and design. You will find that it is possible to create a visually dynamic space no matter what the financial restrictions.
Design need not be subservient to practical use, neither should functionality be held hostage. Try to get them to lock their hands together. That’s when magic happens. Give creativity its fair share. Innovative storage ideas and a keen eye for scale will enable you to cater to your needs without detracting from the visual appeal. It is also important that you understand your comfort zone. Knowing what is currently in vogue is not so important. Shaping a space in accordance with your sensibilities is what gives a space its soul.
Now, with the lyrics in place, what you really need is the music. This is where rhythm gives your space its flow. There are various ways to achieve this, the first being the use of pattern, line, shape or elemental repetition. Use colour effectively, play with contrast exercising great discretion, maintain a flow using size/shape and bring in the ‘wow’ factor by enhancing every space with the little details. Transition of space from one area to another is needed to maintain the rhythm.
If something seems out of place, take a step back and re-assess. Find a solution that works even if it means going back to the drawing board. You will find that one effort can change an interior perspective dramatically. A note that jars can ruin an entire song. Mistakes are part of the process. The point is, once you see one, don’t leave it uncorrected. While retaining your focus on harmony, you will begin to see that when you start tying things together, the entire project begins to look effortless. A well-planned endeavour is all about creating a lasting impression that does not reveal the painstaking enterprise leading to its realization.
This brings me to the last lap. As you near completion, it is likely that you reach the end of your tether, and feel frustrated. This is where the tendency to just ‘get it over and done with’ can possibly bulldoze the entire aesthetic. It is important to finish the project down to the last details. Otherwise, those unattended details hang like cobwebs in your space. Keep it manageable, but get to the finish line.
Article by : Rekha Nambiar (interior spaces)
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