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  Life   More Features  28 Mar 2017  In search of soul elements

In search of soul elements

Published : Mar 28, 2017, 12:22 am IST
Updated : Mar 28, 2017, 6:29 am IST

Home design 101 is all about complementing your personality, decluttering, and celebrating minimal spaces.

Clean lines, and not too much clutter is key
 Clean lines, and not too much clutter is key

Home is where the heart is. It is also where the mess is most times! Home Design (or HD) is an oft quoted term that means different things to different people.

Personal, contextual and relevant design needs to resonate with the sensibilities of the occupant. Many meetings and a browse through collectibles to understand one’s tastes is an absolute must, before arming oneself with catalogues, looks and the like.


Most often the engagement of a designer, goes against the very grain of what the space needs to reflect. The process of collaboration needs to reflect the personality of the occupant whilst incorporating elements of style from a design point of view.

A few pointers while initiating Home Design… HD 101.
Plush doesn’t mean shrink wrap rooms with oversized furniture. It makes absolutely no sense in navigating through the small gaps in the fittings, with perhaps lighting akin to aircraft emergency floor path illumination or signages along the walls!

Chart out a movement layout. With a clear way in and way out of the space whilst steering clear of bulked up pieces hindering it. The muscular bits, if any can be centred or cornered with accent pieces built around it, aiding better access and easy movement.


Often pieces and spaces seem to be fighting for attention. The idea is to give a sense of expanse, with the space looking airy and light with a view of textures and surfaces.

 A sense of ease in movement and pastel colours work well in living spaces.A sense of ease in movement and pastel colours work well in living spaces.

Ready Reckoner
Must-haves in a living space are: Sofa/sectional/lounger, 1-2 accent chairs, Coffee table and/or side tables, Nook/niche/bookshelf/tv console unit, Rug Adorn two out of three to four walls with basic eye catching, not over the top, adornments 1 floor lamp 1-2 table lamps.

Without sacrificing your favourite pieces, you can shift gears and change styles to fit them in. Don’t go bulky and period with furniture when the space is not meant to bear heavy duty padding. Go modular and build down favourite pieces and areas that mean most to you.


Bulking up can be a nightmare for most of us. Unless of course you like the occasional “trip” as you find your way around the chaise lounge everyday!

Ready reckoner
In keeping with a period look, distress modular pieces to blend in. Clean lines in the furniture often help focus on pretty surfaces. Lean wood and less fabric done tastefully serve the purpose but it should not be cumbersome. Based on weather conditions, a conscious shift from the excessive chennile, damask, faux leather and plaids to linen, drill and other lighter options.

A nasty fad is the soulless replication of catalogue looks. Tiresome and completely unimaginative, I urge you to say a big NO to buying out entire corner arrangements from design stores… or catalogues… they don’t speak of originality and a sense of self.


And most often, they make the space look cluttered as retailers may want to showcase a lot more in a tiny space. Customise the space to suit your needs.

Keep it simpleKeep it simple

Ready Reckoner
Scan the market. No good ever came out of skipping research. One often pays the price of keeping up with the Joneses, so find out what suits you and your family.

Commissioning work with material that may not work for you, is courting trouble in the long run. For examples marble floors, while lovely to look at, and to touch, stain easily unless treated.

They are not popular with those suffering from arthritis or rheumatism. Do you really need that large potted plant in your living room? While Fengshui experts insist, are you up to watering it and maintaining it regularly in your space with your lifestyle? 


Anything that can’t be sat on, touched or stepped on is not personal… however formal the space is, it is not meant to be in a home. Unless of course it happens to be the boudoir of Maharaja Gaj Singh! Spaces have to be accessible. So a formal living if overly plush, and inaccessible, is no fun.

Ready reckoner
If your family, young kids, older friends, pets and the like are struck off from enjoying a space, this may not be the look for you.

In an attempt to forcibly stylise spaces, one often lands up with a GUJLI at home! Your space is not meant to be Chor Bazaar stuffed up to the gills with artless antiques, obnoxious wall collages or garish paintings.


Collectibles often have memories attached to them, and can’t be rushed into a space with a last minute purchase. Years go by in compiling memorabilia. If you are running sparse on the artefact front, don’t rush it.

Gather as you go along and adorn your walls and spaces with interchangeable and interesting pieces that can have their moment in the sun ever so often. But definitely not all together.

Ready Reckoner
Categorise everything under — Do I need it and Do I want it? Knock off anything that you can comfortably live without in the long run.

Bold Is Not Always Beautiful! 
Huge prints, large motifs and busy characters shrivel an area down to a nub. So, unless you are fortunate to own a stretch where rooms are in excess of 400 sq feet each, don’t busy up the space.


Busting myths of the more the merrier is my latest passion. Infusing several elements in a space is committing design harakiri. Typically, darker colours for highlighting areas, heavy drapery or ostentatious window fittings often tends to swallow up most of the room. Avoid these at all costs.

Ready Reckoner
Spaces with the right blend of plain prints and textures are always a success. Not everyone wants their living room to look like a hotel lobby. So go forth and design with your new DIY design checklist! 

The writer is an interior designer and director at Sugar My Space, Studio SMS.

Tags: home design, catalogues, living room