What’s on your board?

Home own­ers are draw­ing de­sign in­spi­ra­tion from apps such as Pin­ter­est, In­sta­gram and Zil­low Digs as they seek to put their own stamp on their space. A look at the dos and don’ts

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Anubhuti Matta & Fatema Kathawala

When 29-year-old busi­ness­man Rishabh Ruia was in the mid­dle of re­design­ing his house four months ago, he knew he wanted an abstract brass sculp­ture for his ter­race.

“I knew a sculp­tor in Mum­bai, but his de­signs were all contemporary art,” says Ruia. “So I re­ferred to Pin­ter­est and In­sta­gram for in­spi­ra­tion and was able to sketch ex­actly what I wanted.”

A par­ti­tion wall in Ruia’s home has also been in­spired by an im­age he saw on Pin­ter­est and, with his ar­chi­tect’s ad­vice, he went ahead and had it in­stalled.

Whether it’s a sin­gle in­te­rior dé­cor el­e­ment fromim­agesyou’ve seen on­line or an ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­mentoff aweb­site, so­cial me­dia web­sites and on­line re­sources are of­fer­ing home-own­ers a go-to re­source that of­fers cu­rated tips and vis­ual cues.

“The ten­dency to look for de­signs on dif­fer­ent ap­pli­ca­tions and re­fer a de­signer to them be­gan with ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­rior mag­a­zines, moved to web­sites of this na­ture and has now mi­grated to so­cial me­dia net­works,” says in­te­rior de­signer Nee­lan­jan Gupto. “It in­di­cates a growing con­fi­dence among home own­ers, and a growing de­sire to per­son­alise and put their own stamp on their space. Peo­ple are be­com- ing more vo­cal about their pref­er­ences.”

The added ad­van­tage of the crowd­sourced plat­forms is that you can see how oth­ers have re­sponded to an idea or a de­sign, and get feed­back of your own in real time.

“To­day’s buy­ers aren’t will­ing to blindly fol­low what a de­signer may rec­om­mend,” Gupto says.

Reshma Ch­habria, an in­te­rior de­signer and founder of de­sign firm HIIH, feels nearly 80% of clients re­fer to the in­ter­net to ex­plain what they are look­ing for, up from about 50% five years ago. “Hon­estly, this helps the ar­chi­tect un­der­stand the client’s sense of style and sen­si­bil­ity much quicker,” Ch­habria adds.

The range of web­sites and apps to re­fer to has grown as well — in ad­di­tion to Pin­ter­est and In­sta­gram, there’s Houzz, Housie5, ColorS­nap, Zil­low Digs and Homestyler, to name a few.

How­ever, ex­perts caution against the overuse of ran­dom ref­er­ence images.

“Technology can only take you so far,” says Ch­habria. “If you’re not care­ful, you could end up with a pas­tiche of el­e­ments that looked good in­di­vid­u­ally but do not the­mat­i­cally be­long to­gether. That’s why it’s im­por­tant to con­sult your de­signer or ar­chi­tect though the se­lec­tion and im­ple­men­ta­tion process.”

Even rel­a­tively mi­nor as­pects such as size and colour shades can make a vi­tal dif­fer­ence, adds Priya Lakho­tia of Chicago Stu­dio In­te­rior Ar­chi­tects.

With the right con­sul­ta­tions, though, the world can be your prover­bial oys­ter. “De­sign prac­tices around the world are now like one big team, with a con­stant ex­change of ideas on­line,” says Ra­jiv Khush­lani of Khush­lani and As­so­ciates ar­chi­tects in And­heri.


In ad­di­tion to of­fer­ing in­spi­ra­tion, apps have made main­tain­ing a mood board much eas­ier.

“With the help of dif­fer­ent apps or the in­ter­net, a cus­tomer can present all their ideas to a de­signer on one mood board, and the de­signer can add re­lated images or in­puts to the de­sign,” says Gupto. “Ev­ery­one can liter- ally be on the same page.”

With the av­er­age client be­ing more well-read and well-trav­elled than even a decade ago, mood boards can en­sure that the de­signer trans­lates their unique tastes and char­ac­ter into the spa­ces they are de­sign­ing.

From colours for the walls to fur­ni­ture pieces, light­ing, even car­pet and cur­tain pat­terns or funky ac­ces­sories, peo­ple now have spe­cific ideas of what they want, Lakhotiya adds.


The down­side of this kind of technology is that un­re­al­is­tic de­signs can ac­tu­ally cause de­lays in the en­tire process.

“The in­ter­net can be mis­lead­ing,” says Gupto. “There are sites that pro­vide ‘3D views’ of struc­tural and de­sign el­e­ments and we have peo­ple be­liev­ing these el­e­ments are doable — when they’re ac­tu­ally not. For the lay­man, it can be easy to get car­ried away by de­signs that may seem aes­thet­i­cally de­sir­able but may not be prac­ti­cal at all, or may not be prac­ti­cal for the spe­cific home or space in ques­tion.”

Adapt­abil­ity is key. Anuj So­rat, 25, a civil en­gi­neer and res­i­dent of Tardeo in Mum­bai re­cently kit­ted out his ‘den’ with a pro­jec­tor, gam­ing con­soles and a mas­sive mu­sic sys­tem — with the in­te­rior lay­out in­spired by Pin­ter­est.

“More than 60% of the room was in­spired by images I saw on the app,” he says. “I had dis­cus­sions with my ar­chi­tect be­fore I made any pur­chases, though, and we had to make some al­ter­ations to suit the specifics — such as power ca­pa­bil­ity — of my house.”

It is im­por­tant to un­der­stand your space well be­fore even start­ing to look through the in­ter­net for in­spi­ra­tion, adds Ch­habria. “When I say space I mean pos­si­bil­i­ties and lim­i­ta­tions,” she adds. “If you never lose track of that, you will end up with de­sign and com­fort that work per­fectly for you and your space.”

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