A case of mistaken identity

A case of mistaken identity

It’s easy to let your imagination go wild when it comes to designing your interiors. Here are some ways it can go horribly wrong, cautions Ruth DSouza Prabhu...

Your interiors are the most important aspect of doing up your home. You pore through books and magazines, consult friends and family, vaastu and Feng Shui experts and finally your interior designer. By this time you are bursting with so many ideas for your home, it often clouds your judgment on what suits your home the best. We spoke to a few interior designers across the city on what they thought are the most common mistakes made in different aspects of interior designing.

Being ‘floored’ by the choice: Juhi Santani, Principal Designer at a city-based design firm says, “Sometimes, we choose a tile or stone for its lovely colour or texture, without realising that extending the material to an entire 1,000-2,000 sq ft of floor can be a complete visual disaster. Too dark a colour tone absorbs much light, instead of reflecting it, and makes the space feel dull and morbid.”

The same she says applies to the texture and granular make-up of the flooring material. While it may be perfect to create a specific theme, one is often unable to balance how much of it must be used when paired with a neutral flooring material.

An important aspect often ignored in flooring is the transition from one material to another. The sizes across materials and their thicknesses vary, and must be accounted for while planning adjoining rooms. This is often overlooked.

More than just a piece of ‘furniture’: Gita Ramanan, CEO and Principal Architect of a Bangalore-based design firms says, “Furniture design that is the focus of the home interiors is a complex business. Every piece should stand for a reason, be completely functional and also have aesthetic appeal. The designer’s job is to ensure that all these basic requirements are positioned correctly and layered by the unique personality of the client.”

But customisation of furniture to deliver the vision of the client is fraught with variables. Lots of clients have expectations that are unrealistic with respect to their own project. This is caused because of incomplete knowledge from friends and relatives, seeing other homes in the neighbourhood or magazines, or even the internet.

A detail seen somewhere else may not be appropriate, feasible or ideal in one’s project. The decision should be left to the experienced judgement of the architect, and is often not.

The result is furniture that is not aesthetically designed, wrong choice of materials, furniture inappropriately set in interior theme and an excessive waste of money on something you will not be satisfied with.

Do not be ‘walled’ in by your decor: “With apartments being the primary choice today, wall treatments are often used to personalise a home,” says Shubhada Ravindra, a city-based independent architect.

Scale and proportion of a design is one of the biggest mistakes that most home owners tend to do. If you do not have a competent interior designer or architect guiding you, you may end up with a wall design motif that is too big or too small for your space. Or you may end up with textures and designs that do not match the overall interior theme of your home.

One major issue often overlooked in the treatment of walls is the choice of walls to do up. If the wall carries plumbing lines or has a bathroom on the other side, chances are you will be faced with seepage and this can ruin any design or work that you have on your wall in the long run.

Before designing a wall, it’s best to wait a month to check for any such leaks and then work on creating accents or designs.

‘Ceiling’ your design fate: “Ceiling finishes provide a decorative skin to conceal building components and are a decorative statement,” says Sridhar B R, an architect. A major mistake when working on ceiling finishes is to do so without considering combustibility in kitchens and the resistance to water damage in bathrooms.

In the case of false ceilings, people often tend to go overboard with ornate designs, wooden tresses, and decorative glass without paying attention to the height of the ceiling, area of the room and rest of the décor. 

The ceiling colour chosen should complement the colour on the walls and this is often overlooked. One should opt for a ceiling finish that suits their lifestyle rather than go with the trend.


‘Light up’ Correctly:
“A common problem with lighting is that most people are never able to strike a balance between aesthetics and illumination,” says Sudhakar B, a city-based visualiser. A lighting fixture may look very pretty, but it need not necessarily meet your lighting requirements. The idea is to understand mood, ambience, functionality, spot lighting for accessories.

These basics are often ignored and you end up with a home that has a set of lighting fixtures for aesthetics and a completely different set for functionality.Another major mistake seen often these days is the use of cove lighting. This is not a form of lighting that suits every space. It increases your light load and almost never gives you the required brightness.

Be an ‘accessory’ to better design:
“Often, when working with accessories for a home, you find a designer or a family member super-imposing their vision on the design of your home,” says Lakshmi Shetty, an interior designer.

A designer’s job is to use their expertise to help put their client’s dreams together. Design is more than just being picture perfect, it also has to be perfect practically. Many clients tend to replicate a picture in a magazine. But then you are only living somebody else’s dream.

The major pitfall of blindly copying someone else is when the designer leaves, the clients begin to accessorise on their own and then the clash between the two styles is evident.  Another extremity is when people go overboard with their accessories. A glimpse of the whole story is generally enough — whether it’s about your life, your family or your travel tales. Refrain from going overboard.

These are some of the major interior design errors that are commonplace. When you are doing up your home, make sure to steer clear of them.

Always have a well-qualified and experienced designer by your side and do try to understand their perspective as well.

This way, you may prevent your home from looking like a melting pot of multiple ideas. 

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