BUDGET STYLING FOR SMALL HOMES
Any festive period may not be the ideal time to overhaul your home with a big-ticket, floor-to-ceiling remodel. However, if your budget is a little tight, don’t fret. With some design concepts and ideas, your house can look plushly reinvigorated, says SUJATHA MANI-THAMPAN
Changing seasons bring a new look to the great outdoors naturally; however, we have to work a little harder to keep reinventing our interior designs, looking and feeling fresh and festive. If your living space looks drab and your cheque book looks bleak, don’t give up. There are lots of quick, easy and inexpensive ideas that you can use to make your home look bright and celebratory. Follow your sixth sense and you will be surprised to see how much potential your space has.
“Large spaces ignite creative flamboyance, while small spaces trigger cutting-edge sustainable innovation. Empty spaces are always filled with needs and need-nots. The first step in making a space feel welcoming is to be merciless about what you need and what you can do without. Knocking down a wall is a potential acquisition of the 6-inch wall strip that can be reinstalled with a two-way accessible closet. False ceilings visually plow into the space and can be included with discretion. Mild coloured tiles, simple wall cosmetics and synonymous cost effective fabric and furniture let natural light bounce more, making the space seem bigger. Ask the wall what more can it hold and it shall speak to you,” says Mahesh Pillai, an architect from Thane.
Space is a very big constraint, especially in big cities. Not everybody has a sprawling house with a balcony or an open terrace and separate rooms for each member of the family. So, we do compromise on décor and style and end up making adjustments to our lifestyle to fit in and live efficiently. A few ‘adjustments’ here and there can give you an interior decorating style like the ones you see in savvy design magazines. “Design of small spaces is all about smart budgeting and visual management. It’s not just the treatment of space and four walls but mainly the investment one makes in the selection of furniture and accessories that offset them,” opines Ajay Nayak, architect and design media consultant. All you need is thoughtful space planning, some flexible furniture and most importantly, a will to experiment.
We highlight here some clever tricks and techniques which will not only make your interiors seem much bigger, spacious and stylish but will also make your neighbour envious this festive season.
1. REVISIT: Take some time and make a laundry list of what you already own. Refurbishing existing pieces is the best way to do some inexpensive decorating. Don’t throw out something just because you are tired of the piece. You can easily change it. Sandpaper, primer and paint can transform just about any piece of furniture. 2.SUBTRACT CLUTTER: Sift, sort and toss. Let this be your motto while doing up your interiors. There can be lot of stuff which you may be attached to but if it’s unnecessary and is catching dust, it is best to throw it out or get creative. Make use of the room’s height and invest in tall storage shelves or reorganise your shelves so that unused but close-to-the-heart collectibles are out of reach and those which are useful, are kept one level below. Larger decorative baskets are great when it comes to giving a cheerful look to the interiors.
3. OBSERVE: Train your eye to look out for what you really want while you go shopping to a flea market. Know what great high-end design pieces look like, so that you can pick a similar piece while hunting at discount stores, flea markets or thrift shops. 4. ADD COLOUR: Walls are the backdrop for all of your decorating schemes. Painting is a fast and economical way to give your walls, floors or ceilings a facelift and it’s a long term solution. If you’re not up for painting the whole room, pick one wall and give it a coat of a contrasting colour. Still too much? Paint your door. Use an unexpected colour for a visual pop, or use two colours to bring out the contours of paneled doors. Just painting the interior panels of your bookcase or an aging but still useful side table will give you decorator style on a minimal budget.
5. LIGHTING: Whether it’s natural or artificial, light plays an important role in the mood of a room. You can bring an entire room into the modern age just by changing a light fixture. Do-it-yourself stores have a great variety of stylish yet affordable lighting options. Look around for a deal: you might find a great bargain on a beautiful used lamp at a flea market or antique shop. It’s not hard to change a light fixture; just remember to turn it off when you don’t require it.
6. LOOK DOWN: Add exquisiteness to your floor by getting a bright, colourful rug. You don’t need an expensive one. If you are creative, have an inclination and most of all, have time, you can create a rug using bright old clothes. It may not be a traditional one but it will be inventive and definitely attract attention. Don’t forget, it will also save you a ton of cash, in addition to allowing you to create your own style.
7. TRICK THE SENSES: a.Use an oversized mirror to enhance the appearance of a room to make it look larger by providing depth and brightness. See what optical illusions you can create with large, framed or unframed mirrors, or by grouping smaller, framed mirrors on a wall.
b. One of the best no-cost ways to redecorate is to repurpose things you already have. Look around your home and think of how items from one room could change the setting in another room. That old trunk in your bedroom might make an ideal coffee table for your living room. With a coat of paint and a set of casters, a bedside cabinet becomes a rolling bar. Try clustering items together, like candlesticks or coloured glassware, to create a focal point. Seeing your old stuff with new eyes can be fun and the only thing you will spend by moving it around is a few calories.
Feel free to think outside the frame. Beauty can be functional too. Gorgeous decorating doesn’t have to be just a dream. You can get the look you love within a budget that works for you. As mentioned before, learn to recognise what you want your interiors to look like. Then, plan and wait for good deals to come your way. Don’t rush into completing your space. To find the right thing at the right price and not just anything at the right price requires patience and near-Zen-like observing capacity. Have fun decorating your space and let your house speak of your style.