Learn from other's mistakes, design-wise!

 Minimalism does not necessarily translate to cheap. It can add oodles of charm, says A Dyuti.

LET THERE BE LIGHT : Make the most of big windows by letting sunlight brighten up a living space.

I recently went to visit two acquaintances. One had set up house in the city recently. The other had just returned from a stint abroad and had done up her house afresh.

Ever curious about aesthetic environments, I set out with great expectations. The first house I visited simply had me frozen right at the doorstep. A vague feeling of unease and the tendency to retreat set up.

The second house was a whole different experience. Let me explain the difference, for in it lies many valuable lessons for those yearning for a makeover or for those setting up house from scratch.

Today, spending a huge figure is the norm for a dream-house to materialise. But ultimately, how you spend it determines the results. For instance, over-reliance on higher price-tags as the guiding consideration may only produce a garish finish. The first house almost appeared like a museum, what with antique pieces spread about the floor, on shelves and table-tops.

The multi-coloured carpet’s bid to impress was futile despite the rich weave making its price obvious. There were too many ornate furniture pieces and mirrors. Plus, as the colour-scheme wasn’t limited to two or three friendly colours, it sprang a jarring effect on the viewer.

The second house, however, was a study in contrast. The colours, though not in the same range, teamed up well. The choice of furniture wasn’t just expensive, it was classy.

The number of throw-rugs, decorative pieces, art-work and wall-hangings were all selected in moderation and tastefully arranged. The lighting created a warm ambience. All in all, the house looked cosy and cheerful.

Lessons to be learnt

First, choose furniture that’ll fit your room’s dimensions. Titanic needn’t always translate into tasteful. Don’t be misled by brochures and pamphlets portraying king-sized furniture. Visualise whether it’ll look out of place in your home. Go for it only if it doesn’t.

Tone down your enthusiasm to beautify, else you’ll end up cluttering the place with too many rugs, mats and cushions. Ditto with décor items. You needn’t always embrace the minimalist path, but be sure to choose and arrange only that quantity and quality that will entice in the final analysis. 

As for the colour-scheme, choosing too many colours definitely amounts to an overkill. Restrict yourself to a few colours that gel well. Avoid colour-mismatch. But, don’t overdo this either. Using different hues of the same colour for furniture upholstery, cushions, rugs, walls, lampshades and artefacts produces a sickening effect. So, beware. Tread the golden mean.

Lighting is another aspect that has to be handled with care. Whether you pick incandescent or fluorescent lights, table-lamps and floor-lamps, wall-sconces or chandeliers, think well before deciding which lighting accessorises the place best.

Don’t throw in so many that guests feel like they’re walking onto a stage. Ensure that they aren’t left groping in the dark either. Providing natural light with adequate opportunities to pervade the room is the final trick.

Ensure a neat and organised look. Tie together loose wires and cables drooping down from walls or snaking across the floor. This keep clumsiness at bay and prevents unnecessary accidents.

Decorate not merely for visitors’ delight but primarily for your comfort. Strive to achieve a clever combination of aesthetics and functionality.

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