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Living in glass houses

Last updated: 25 February, 2010

Interior design

Glass has become an important architectural feature and is one of the most useful and chic building materials for house interiors and commercial building exteriors. Also, it gives an illusion of space, writes Shazman Mansoor

Glass story: French doors with stylish wood and glass patterns can lift the overall appeal of the room. Getty ImagesNot too long ago, glass had its limited utility in house interiors. Its ultimate place was the window panes, which still had not advanced to the stylish level of French windows. In short, the diversity of glass in house interiors was an unexplored subject. One does not know what came first, either the glass dining table or glass centre table, but what one surely knows is that it heralded a style that provided a delicate but splendid  option to break the conventional trend of solid wood interior, replete with wooden shelves, tables etc.

Nowadays, glass, a wonderful architectural feature, has acquired the importance of one of the most useful and chic building materials for house interiors  and commercial buildings exteriors. Its fascination is increasing as a large number of architects are coming up with imaginative ideas that beautifully make use of it. The contemporary style is about using it for furniture, doors and decorative items like glass shades, vases and wall hangings. For an ultra futuristic look, architects also venture to use it for staircases and plain or floral glass tiles for walls and floor paneling.

On the brighter side

Glass is fragile but what makes it desirable in spite of it, is the fact it provides multiple benefits. Glass tends to create a sense of openness, and gives an illusion of space. If a room though not too big is partitioned by transparent glass, it gives a more spacious feel.

The other advantage it offers is attributed to its transparency. Either used for window panes or roof paneling, it enables natural light to illuminate the room through the day. It adds to the brightness of the room, provides protection from rain and dust, and serves as a barrier for sound. Other than this it offers limitless options when it comes to its utility for decorative purpose.


Stained glass
The art of using multicolored glass pieces joined together to give a vivid and colourful visual is often seen in old buildings. However, a thing of beauty never goes out of style. The same look can be adopted for houses of today. What makes the stained glass look beautiful is the filtration of sunlight through coloured glass at day time which lends a dramatic and magnificent touch to the room.

Glass partitions and French doors
In place of wood, if glass partitions are used as dividers, it can greatly enhance the look of the room, making it look bigger.  French doors with its stylish wood and glass pattern can lift the overall appeal of the room.

The glass panels in French doors can either be left plain frosted or painted with glass paints. The sight of light filtering through the frosted glass seems quite enchanting.

Glass shutters

Today’s houses carry the contemporary chic and stylish look. People leave no stone unturned to add that extra touch of elegance to their abode. Glass shutters for wardrobes, shelves and dinner cabinets make a nice visual. But the choice of glass should be appropriate.
While clear sparkling glass would look suitable for book shelves and a cabinet, making it easier to see what is kept inside; frost, opaque and tinted glass would be a better choice for wardrobe shutters and lofts.
 
Glass furniture

It is in vogue and is certainly catching up fast.  Once huge and heavy wooden tops adorned the dining area, but today, its place has been taken over by glass tops with wrought iron frames. The invasion of glass in furniture designs does not end here; it has found its way to almost everything which earlier made use of wood only. It is on the side tables, centre tables, shelves, serving trolleys, TV trolleys, dinner cabinets and the list is endless.

Word of caution
 It is strictly advised that for doors and partitions only safety glass should be used with recommended thickness, to avoid any chances of accidents.

Safety glass is pressure resistant and specially made to withstand strong impact; these would not shatter to pieces like ordinary glass, with shards all over the place. Safety types include reinforced, toughened and laminated glasses.

Another risk of having full length glass partitions and doors is chances of people walking through it.

Since a huge sheet of clear glass panel would give an illusion of continuity of room without partitions, there is a possibility people might bump into it. To break this visual deception, it is advised to put pictures, or any decorative object in contrasting bright colour on the eye level. This would caution people from walking through the glass doors.

The other possibility is to keep the colour scheme and floor design of the subsequent room totally different from the previous.

Maintenance

A few scratches here and there and some blotches on the surface of the dining table can spoil the overall pristine sparkling look of the glass. To ensure better maintenance, make sure the glass surface is spic and span and scratch free. The same goes for doors and partitions, which can become dirty and need to be cleaned regularly, unless and until you go for self cleaning glass, which comes with an extremely smooth surface and require less cleaning.

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