From an interior designer's perspective

From an interior designer's perspective

Homeowners have often wondered what makes a well-designed home different from one that is not. The answer is simple, all it takes is five crucial design elements and you're good to go. When these elements are blended together seamlessly, the results are remarkable. While making their home, most homeowners usually consider just three or four of these elements and more often than not, find it difficult to bring these together in unison.

To dwell further into these elements, let's give you a glimpse into what goes on in a designer's brain as he/she does a recon of your home to create a visual in her mind that finally leads to the design blueprint and the final output.

In the designer's mind

Here's what he/she thinks: what do I see? I see space, empty space, it needs furniture. What theme should the furniture be in, how do I place it to avoid clutter? There is a French window cannot block that with furniture. The light from the window is causing a shadow light how did I miss that?

Light, what's the direction of the house, is there enough natural light? The living room is well lit can use dark colours for wall finishes and furnishing. But not in the master bedroom it hardly has natural light, will use lighter shades in the bedroom. The living room will need a false ceiling for the spotlights.

Big empty walls maybe a painting, ledge, recess or wallpaper on them will need to highlight more light points on the wall for accent lighting.

Kids room, 10 years old, hmmm. Bunk bed here? Maybe not, the kid will grow over it in another year. Hobbies? Ok, cricket theme then. Avoid clutter - place for the school bag, books space for lots of books. Parents room, what age? 70 plus - needs to be elder-friendly too.

So, you must be wondering what are the major crucial elements to designing a home. They are furniture, lighting, walls, floors and decor. In addition to these, there is a an elusive sixth element which is crucial to designing and that is the persona of the homeowner. Their lifestyle, habits, hobbies, aspirations and needs. A good designer would weave each of the five elements around you to create a space that you are most comfortable living in and proud of.

With this, you get an idea of the essentials of designing. Each of these elements is a separate field in the world of designing. For instance, the furniture, its material, shape, size, colour, theme and placement are designed in accordance with your tastes and preferences, requirements, comfort, and if it has to be child-friendly or convenient for elders at home.

The field of lighting, on the other hand, includes how much total lighting is needed for the space to ensure that the home is comfortable (ambient lighting). Which places will need more lighting or dimmable lights such as next to a study table or a lamp at the end of a sofa set (task lighting)? And, spaces that need to be emphasised with focus lights - such as wall paintings, decor items, etc (accent lighting).

Likewise, for painting, wall and floor textures, just walking into some of these fancy tile showrooms in Bengaluru can send your head spinning when you see the variety of materials on display. The natural light in a home, as well as the overall theme of it, plays a key role when it comes to choosing the right wall colours and textures.

Budget-friendly designs

Most folks plan the furnishing and decor right at the end by when the budgets would have overshot the initial estimates and any expense seems heavy on the pocket. Balancing out the budgets to cover the last mile details with zero budget creep is another trick that designers learn early and something that DIY home designers need to imbibe.

Coming to the decor, as the designer is creating the interior blueprint in his or her mind, the furniture is resizing itself, the walls creating the recesses and the spotlights aligning themselves to accommodate the decor items.

Essentially, the decor is a forethought and not an afterthought. On a personal note, I remember an assignment where we simply rearranged two pieces of furniture and added some decor to the living room, and the result was stunning.

So, the next time you are out there doing up your new home, remember to look beyond the furniture and how you want to play with these five elements.

(The author is interior designer and founder, The Studio)

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