The ideas for designing a new home are limited by factors like space, budget, requirements and the home owners’ affinity for a particular theme that is the trend. Unique interiors result by balancing the essential idioms of aesthetics in form, colour and accents.
Minimalism is broadly defined as the outcome of uncluttered decorating that is visually pleasing. Tones are subtle and the linear scores over the convoluted.
Contemporary art has energy in bold images, becoming textural, sculptural and experiential with illuminated glass blocks, water curtains and mood lighting adding magic. Coloured, stained, frosted, painted, bevelled and etched glass is used for furniture, partitions, panelling, light fixtures and decor items
like the masterpiece on an artist’s canvas. Pools of lighting at floor and ceiling levels generate interesting patterns as varied illumination creates focus.
Modular or ergonomic designs are unpretentious yet comfortable. Jute and coir are seen in chaise lounges, planter’s chairs, stone seats, hammock or floor seats which are informal yet elegant. Glass and metal with powder coating, chromium plating, painting and lacquering are some finishes that enhance them. Plain fabrics of textile or leather, suit the theme as will floors of marble or wood. Carpets can be monochromatic and sheer drapes and blinds add sophistication.
Beauty lies in the mystique of antiquity and the warmth of earthy surroundings evoking a sense of history and culture that renders the atmosphere truly traditional.
Carved wood seats and ornate jhoolas, and built-in stone benches are ideal. Velvet, suede and leather exude sophistication at a glance. The simple chair becomes a high-backed one reminiscent of royalty. Polished tables of teakwood, rosewood and walnut wood with elaborate carving and detailing, enhanced with etched glass and brass hardware add drama. Embellished filigree work, veneer inlays and patina surfaces enhance the appeal as do candles, miniature crystal figurines or subtle flower displays with soft up-lighting. In the bedroom, the ornate bed stand and its accoutrements in cast iron or wood, with decorative work, mattresses with velvet coverlets, decorative throw cushions and pillows are the essence of splendour and opulence.
The blend of architectural styles in interiors is a marriage between traditional and contemporary finishes, complementary and contrasting colours, the symbiosis of graceful curves and straightline rigidity and the timeless design elements from various countries and cultures.
The Asian style encompasses Japanese, Chinese and Thai among others. Thus a serene Buddha can be used with the ethnic splendour of Indian motifs, Kashmiri carpets, Indonesian wood blinds, Italian sofas and European parquet flooring. The simple Japanese fibre floor mats (tatami), low tables, rice paper lamp shades, silk fabrics, pottery and water bodies easily find a niche in a room that can be decorated in a contemporary style. Chinese design lends itself to stylised elements, carved furniture, hand-painted panels, brightly coloured accessories and ornaments.
An example of the eclectic theme would be to have one wall of a room of exposed brickwork imparting a rich earthiness that can counterbalance concrete seating, glass table tops and steel accessories. Throw in a few vibrantly embellished cushions, eye-catching contemporary artwork on the walls for an inviting lounge space. Juxtaposing elements involves combining decor elements that can range from American glass and chrome, sparkling Venetian crystal, Roman art dressing up walls, antique Baroque gilt mirrors, smart Scandinavian furniture to Mediterranean cobblestones and delicate English floral prints, exquisite porcelain and much more in accurate proportion to avoid unbecoming clutter.
Decor and art
The traditional is evident in handloom upholstery, block-printed fabric, silk and mirrorwork throw cushions, raw silk drapes and woven cotton dhurries on the floor. Embellishment in the form of embroidery, sequins, beads and tassels; the sheen of brass and copper kitchen utensils, large lamps, hanging brass and earthenware diyas, urlis with flowers, planters, picture frames, candle stands, wind chimes and antiques add intriguing dimension. Glass can combine the energy of colours, the magic of textural composition and the excitement of light to lend a sculptural effect in small panels in niches as a substitute for a photograph. Mosaics as wall cladding on selected surfaces, rustic clay and patterned cement tiles, glass panels as countertop inlays, wind chimes, mobiles, sun catchers, figurines, mirror frames, paper holders, ash trays, false ceiling panels and lamp shades make up the abundance of choices available for decoration.
Alok Kumar Upadhayay