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For a pocket-friendly designer home

Shezaan Bhojani and Gita Ramanan, Nov 30 2017, 22:59 IST

Most of us aspire to own a home that can be called a designer home. A 'designer home' has different connotations for different people: for some, it's those glamorous homes they see in magazines or on TV, for others it's just a home that's been customised as per requirement. However, what most people will agree on is the perception that a designer home is something for the rich and not for the middle class. However, that isn't entirely true. Here's how you can get a designer home on a budget.

Planning is key

List out everything you need for your home, segregating it into essentials and non-essentials. Essentials are must-haves - like a kitchen or a wardrobe, which fall under the fixed furniture segment. You also have some essential loose furniture elements like sofas, dining tables, etc. Non-essentials are everything else.

The key difference between a designer home and a normal home is that people who don't use a skilled designer or a proper budget plan for their home end up spending most of their money on the essentials as they miss seeing the complete picture. Adding character through decor and design becomes an afterthought, which never happens. This is why many homes lack the designer element.

We recommend that you split up your budget. Percentage can vary over budgets but as a rule of thumb, what's below should leave you with enough room to give your home some designer flair. Use 60% of the amount for fixed essentials, allocate 20% for loose essentials, 12% for decor and furnishing and 8% for lighting.

What makes a designer home a designer home? It's simple! It needs to have a good designer. If you are considering freelancers or small design firms, ensure that you do a thorough background check, look at their completed projects, and speak to their clients. Most importantly, know whether they understand you and your style or not.

Aren't good designers expensive? Yes, typically they are. But with the advent of technology and the online design boom, you can now get access to a great team of designers with loads of experience at virtually zero cost. You can do this by choosing to build your home with a professional online design and build firm. At these companies, a design solution is part of the service - so, your budget doesn't take a hit.

Custom-made designs

Get the design personalised and tailored to your needs. At the same cost, you can personalise almost any design or make it look different. For example, get your wardrobe shutters to be cut at an angle, why make them straight? Or customise them with a theme of your choice. A good design doesn't cost extra, it just requires extra thought. Add a quirk to every room. This can be done on a maximum of two walls in a room.

You could also add wall clocks or artwork, bring home posters or art that reflects your personality. It is better than a plain white wall. The average cost for a large painting or clock is between Rs 8,000-10,000.

Most designer homes make a statement about the dwellers, a collage of funky posters or family photos can help you make a statement too. Ideally, you can place them on one wall of your living room.

For your master bedroom, you could use textured paint. You could either use a custom-made texture or concrete or brick-textured paint or simply add some wallpaper to enliven the room. Pick patterns that are bold and combine them with subtle colours. The wallpaper is the showstopper of your room, while the furniture is subtle enough to bring out the style.
Designer wallpapers can cost you about Rs 125 per square feet, which is about 12,000-15,000 for a regular wall.

Make a style statement through your furniture in the living room. You just have to add one piece of furniture that stands out and is not cliched. It could be a refurbished centre table or a chair made from recycled material or in a geometric form. The creative piece of furniture will give your living room a unique atmosphere. The price of recycled tables or chairs starts from Rs 10,000.

Small touches

Lighting is an important part of any designer home as it makes a statement and accentuates walls or art placed in the room. Buy focus lights for two or three walls and one designer floor lamp or pendant lamp for each room. Each light may cost you between Rs. 5,000-10,000.

Bric-a-brac adds charm as well as a personal touch. Bring out those souvenirs from your holidays and ask your designer to find a place for them. You can also find some quirky pieces online. Buy three to five of these for every room and place them in the line of sight to add value to bland walls or furniture. You won't spend more than Rs 10,000 for the entire home and it will change the ambience of your home.

Making these additions will not add more than Rs 70,000 to your initial budget but will take your home from regular to a designer one. Before you begin designing your customised home, try and visualise all of this in 3D or virtual reality so you know how your home will look at the end. Try different styles before you find the one that suits you best.

Designer homes need not be expensive. It all depends on how you visualise your space and what choices you make. They are no longer accessible only to the elite, they are now accessible to people like you and me.

(The authors are architects, designers and founders, Design Cafe)

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