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for February, 2014

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February 19, 2014 0 comments Design Tips, Home Decor, Interior Design

5 Jumping-Off Points for Decorating a Blank Space

Whether it’s a home you’ve been living in for years or a new one that you’ve just moved into, there is bound to be one area (or more) which has received no TLC at all. It always takes time to fill up a blank space with the perfect furniture, art and accessories, especially when there is no dearth of options.

Most of us face a metal block akin to the notorious writer’s block when it comes to decorating blank areas in our homes. This could be because of lack of inspiration or the opposite – so many choices that we just don’t know where to begin!

Tips to Get You Started on That Blank Space!

When you’re adorning any empty space, treat these five basic points as a map and make your design decisions according to them:

1. Furniture – It has been said that the right piece of furniture can make or break a room. While this might seem like an overstatement, it’s definitely true that your furniture choices have a huge impact on the overall design of the space. Pick out a piece of statement furniture, one that is beautiful and functional in equal parts, and make it the center of attention.

The perfect piece of furniture can become the center of attention! (CC Image Courtesy: Wonderlane on Flickr)

The perfect piece of furniture can become the center of attention!
(CC Image Courtesy: Wonderlane on Flickr)

If your space is meant for entertaining guests or relaxing, a large comfy couch is perfect, while a storage cabinet or set of bookshelves would be ideal for little nooks and crannies. Play with colors too – if you have a colorful bunch of cushions, display them on a neutral-hued couch for maximum impact!

2. Paint – A lick of paint can bring new life to a blank space and fill you with fresh inspiration too. Play with unusual ideas, like painting a large table in an eye-catching shade of purple, while keeping the rest of the decor subdued. When you’re picking out paint for walls or fixtures, try to strike a contrast between plain and textured, neutral and vibrant, etc.

A splash of paint in an unusual color is the best way to add some interest to a blank space

A splash of paint in an unusual color is the best way to add some interest to a blank space

A blank wall can be spiffed up with a coat of green or blue, offset by white or off-white furniture and pictures of the seaside for a beach cottage-y appeal!

3. Art and Accessories – One of the best ways to brighten up any space is to display hand-picked pieces of art. You could opt for a set of nesting dolls or a large papier mache figurine for a side table, vinyl records or canvas wall art displayed on the walls and a variety of other decorative accents for the rest of the area.

Make a special piece of art the center of attention

Make a special piece of art the center of attention

While you definitely want to add some spice to an empty space, remember that less is indeed more. Don’t try and display too many ‘objets d’art’ together, since that makes the area seem cluttered. Instead, let there be a statement piece that grabs attention instead!

Striking artwork is the best way to brighten up a plain space!

Striking artwork is the best way to brighten up a plain space!

4. Lighting – When you choose lights and fixtures for an area, pick out options that suit the space. Harsh lighting is never a good idea, but you should pick bright lights for spaces where you may spend time reading, drawing or writing. Soft, warm lights are better for bedrooms, living rooms and dining areas, while colorful fancy lights make beautiful accents outdoors.

Pick the right kind of lighting to illuminate the space

Pick the right kind of lighting to illuminate the space

Functional spaces like tables work well with overhead lighting while seating areas can be lit with table or floor lamps. Use the lighting arrangement to call attention to special areas, e.g. if you have art on the walls or on flat surfaces, use subtle backlighting to make them glow!

5. Rugs – Floor treatments are often neglected when it comes to indoor decor and design, but they are amazingly effective at adding color and appeal to a space. A large patterned rug or multiple smaller ones can add a much-needed touch of warmth and visual impact to any space.

Colorful patterned rugs can offset and complete the design scheme of any area

Colorful patterned rugs can offset and complete the design scheme of any area

Coordinate these pieces with the furniture, walls and fixtures to ensure they fit the grand design scheme. Luckily, there is no shortage of carpets and rugs in every kind of design style, ranging from traditional to super-funky!

Treat a blank space as an empty canvas that is just begging for some color. In fact, the best part about decorating an area in the home or office is that you can change it around when you get bored of it. :)

Header CC Image Courtesy: zoetnet on Flickr

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February 4, 2014 0 comments Design Tips, Home Decor, Interior Design

Be Inspired by India in Your Next Home Decor Adventure! – Part 2

When it comes to Indian art and design, it really isn’t possible to discuss everything in a few hundred words! So, in continuation to the previous post on this topic where we discussed bandhini, ikat, kantha, batik and kilim, let’s take a look at some of the other incredible textile styles that the country has to offer!

Of course, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, since the variety of beautiful fabrics and textile treatments that have become synonymous with India would take up a whole book. Still, there are a few that deserve a mention, especially since they are perfectly suited for home and interior decor.

1. Warli – This art form that originated in Maharashtra is becoming a major player in the textile design game today, for apparel as well as interiors. The ‘stick-figure’ styled representations of village life and everyday activities are presented with a simplicity that is childlike and endearing. Usually painted with light colors on a darker background, Warli painting has captured the hearts of design enthusiasts in a big way!

The childlike appeal of Warli painting makes it ideal for adorning your home! (Image Courtesy: fabfurnish.com)

The childlike appeal of Warli painting makes it ideal for adorning your home!
(Image Courtesy: fabfurnish.com)

There is no shortage of applications for this beautiful textile treatment, since you can use it for pillows, bed linen, lamps and much more. You can even paint these lovely designs on walls outside or inside the house. If you want to capture the effect, try a hand-painted Warli border on a mirror frame, fabric lamps or even table linen!

2. Zari – This is possibly one of the most famous textile embellishment styles associated with India. Gorgeous designs created with metallic thread form breath-taking borders for saris, accessories and now, home decor too. The opulence and beauty that zari defines is making it the textile treatment of choice for luxury home decor and interiors!

The metallic embroidery in zari-work adds subtle shimmer to home decor! (Image Courtesy: indianroots.in)

The metallic embroidery in zari-work adds subtle shimmer to home decor!
(Image Courtesy: indianroots.in)

Fashion and interiors design gurus all over the world have been using zari-adorned fabric in heavily embellished clothing, bags, shoes and home decor accessories for years now. In India, zari was traditionally reserved for bridal and festive clothing, but you can make a statement by using it in the home too. Handmade book covers or folders with zari on the spines can create a beautiful effect for your book shelves!

3. Kalamkari – The art of kalamkari (kalam – pen, kari – craft) is one of the oldest forms of textile treatment that exists even today. The practice of telling a story by painting it on cloth with vegetable dyes and makeshift tools is one that has fascinated the whole world for decades now.

A kalamkari piece displayed as wall art is an undeniable conversation piece! (CC Image Courtesy: Anuradha Sengupta on Flickr)

A kalamkari piece displayed as wall art is an undeniable conversation piece!
(CC Image Courtesy: Anuradha Sengupta on Flickr)

Indian kalamkari artists in Andhra Pradesh still practice the original technique, immersing the textile in resin and milk to create an extra-shiny effect. The revival of this beautiful and intricate art form has seen it being used in high-fashion clothing and home decor. Add a touch of old-world charm to your bedroom or living room with framed kalamkari panels!

4. Patchwork – The gorgeous patchwork quilts that we see at any handicraft exhibition are probably the most famous examples of this textile design technique. While patchwork masterpieces can be created with any fabric at all, the most popular ones are those made with recycled silk saris.

Patchwork quilts and other home decor accessories are quirky, colorful and 100% Indian! (CC Image Courtesy: Lokesh Dhakar on Flickr)

Patchwork quilts and other home decor accessories are quirky, colorful and 100% Indian!
(CC Image Courtesy: Lokesh Dhakar on Flickr)

Whether they are embellished with beads, sequins and embroidery, or simply coordinating pieces stitched together, patchwork accessories are definitely attention-grabbing. A plain couch with a selection of colorful patchwork cushions would liven up your home in an instant!

Of course, there are many other beautiful textiles that are unique to India, which you can use as design inspiration for interiors. Block-printed animals, paisleys or floral designs, intricate wool embroidery, beadwork and Shisha mirror-work are some examples of breath-taking craftsmanship that have the whole world going ga-ga.

The variety and vibrant options in Indian textiles make them perfect for interior decor (CC Image Courtesy: rajkumar1220 on Flickr)

The variety and vibrant options in Indian textiles make them perfect for interior decor
(CC Image Courtesy: rajkumar1220 on Flickr)

When you use Indian textiles to adorn your home, make sure you pick the right furniture and accessories too. Balance them with natural wood furnishings, like carved wooden swings, low seating and plenty of pillows. Lamps, decorative figurines, wall art and fixtures should all complement these fabric choices that are rich in color, pattern and texture!

CC Header Image Courtesy: Shashwat Nagpal on Flickr