We recently refurbished our home and are now finding our living room excessively plain after we followed the “simple, clean lines” theory. We feel stuck and want to add character to our space without going over the top—we’re looking for something that will make our home look “different”, but not bizarre.
A home should reflect the style and taste of its inhabitants, their interests and lifestyle. After putting together the basics, creating a focal design point is definitely a challenging exercise but also probably one of the most rewarding and thrilling processes of doing up your home. So, you’re in a good position, really. All you need to do is add more of yourself to the room. Here’s how to add that zing to your home:
Colour, print, and texture
Throw in bold colours or objects with attention-seeking prints. Add a cushion to a basic coloured couch — in a contrasting texture and fabric. Find an old outfit or garment that you have been storing for sentimental value and cover a piece of furniture in the fabric. Sometimes, searching the streets of local markets may get you that perfect colour and print—which is different from conventional off-the-shelf wallpaper or upholstery fabrics available. If you are feeling stuck, think historically. Choose prints that appealed to you aesthetically from the past, be it from African tribes, the Inca civilization, the Orient, the French Revolution. They all had their socio-cultural impact and left their aesthetic mark.
Pick a corner in your home for a stand-alone piece, a piece that needn’t have a function. It could ideally be from somewhere you’ve visited or something that peeped out at you at an antique store. Something which is hand-painted, or with inlay work, is ideal. It could be a coat hanger, a treasure chest, a chest of drawers, an oriental console or even an old set of library steps. If you have a stand-alone chair, upholster it with a different fabric in complete contrast to the room’s furnishings. Make the backdrop of the chair bold to attract attention to that corner. Toss a throw—an old woven grandma’s shawl over it, or a footstool with a velvet cushion—and you will be fascinated by how charming your whole space looks with just one corner done differently.
Find objects that add contrast to your Zen scheme. They could be as simple as wall lights inspired by chandelier shapes from history, with crystals and lights hanging down the sconce. Or tribal masks offset by plants, or even a tribal woven rug hung from the ceiling. Scrolls of multicoloured fabric or antique scripts suspended can make a bigger impact than conventional artworks. Stand a painting on a gold, heavily carved Victorian easel or place an antique musical instrument on a table.
The trick is to break the conventional chain of thought and be distinctive. Go through old memorabilia, family history, places travelled, the dump storeroom (every home has one), subjects studied and projects undertaken as a starting point, and the rest will flow naturally from there.
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