HOUSE OF WONDERS
IN ACITY BOUND BY DIVERSITY, IT’S HARD TO STAND OUT AND CREATE YOUR OWN SPACE. SIMPLY MUMBAI TELLS YOU HOW YOU CAN DO THIS BY PERSONALISING YOUR HOME. GO OFFBEAT, WEAVE IN MEMORIES AND BE ADVENTUROUS.
If you live in Mumbai, your first problem, only second to the traffic, is space. Keeping this in mind, interior designers today are coming up with stylish, yet effective solutions. “We have to work on the height aspect rather than the length and width of the room,” says Nihar Mehta, owner and CEO, Tribal Route, a lifestyle store that sells out-of-the-box ware.
Floor to ceiling wardrobes in the bedroom, and modular shelves going as high as they possibly can in the kitchen for lesser and more rarely used stuff, will create a lot of space and also neatly hide the clutter. Another useful tip is to pick up multipurpose furniture. “I once turned a harmonium as a base for a low coffee table as there was no place to store it,” says Sheetal Bathija, interior designer and proprietor of Threads and Homez (Ghar), an extension of the fashion brand Threads N Homez, which deals
with innovative décor and home furnishings. Also, using an antique embellished chest as a centre or side table would give your living room a rustic yet contemporary appeal. Opt for collapsible shoe stands and sofacum-beds with storage where you can tuck away your sparingly used linen.
Bathija also works on a concept of layering storage cabinets (cabinets hidden behind cabinets). She says a simple and pocket friendly option is to indulge in a quick autumn cleaning. “When things are grouped together in an organised manner, space just gets created! You can use vintage boxes, or make your own with old shoe boxes,” adds Sandhya Gorthi of Sanctum, a store where one can browse through uniquely crafted furniture using experimental combinations of textures, material and colours.
While complaining about Mumbai’s infrastructure, clogged drains and pollution makes for a conversation starter over drinks, it is time choose our furniture and furninshings keeping in mind the environment. Eco-friendly ideas are easy on the wallet and can also be customised to suit one’s personality.
Buy a wicker or cane sofa set for your living room and get it polished to the colour of your choice. You could spruce these up with quirky cushions and colourful upholstery—jute or cotton, if you feel particularly affectionate towards our environment. These are nearly half the price of regular living room furniture and can be made to yet look edgy, casual and opulent, depending on how you go about the furnishings.
Head over to Sanctum, where Gorthi uses recycled wood for furniture. “Old windows become the doors of a cupboard, mismatched strips of wood from ship decks make a robust and quirky coffee table or bench,” she
says. Be a true green crusader and choose cane or sabai mats instead of extravagant carpets. These could add character to any room. Finally, and most obviously, dot your home with plants. Ask your friends to gift you saplings instead of flowers and your home will instantly feel cooler, greener, and—if you use interesting bottles as planters—far more unique.
While you do up your home with new and stylish furnishings, be sure to transform your lifestyle into a more environment friendly one as well. Buy electrical appliances that consume less power, recycle old cans and bins creatively for some off-beat décor and steer clear of plastic as far as possible.
BE YOUR OWN CRAFTSMAN
No one knows your home better than you. Take time someday and channelise your creative energy to transform a space to suit your personality that reflects your lifestyle. This will also prove to be an affordable option.
If you are experimenting with wood and texture, Mehta of Tribal Route says mango wood is more eco-friendly than others; it is also lighter and can be stained to the colour of your choice. He also recommends using rubber wood as an alternative to plywood. “It is derived from the nonproductive rubber tress that have been felled to give way to new trees,” he says. Another thing that is now glamourised in films and pop culture is painting your own walls. Get together with some friends and experiment with colours and patterns. Pick a wall and use the brush in different directions to create textures, or pick up a stencil and accent an already painted wall with gold or silver motifs.
“You could also use a wardrobe door as your canvas,” suggests Bathija. Themed decoupage like black and white or sepia would work well. Throw up a collage of your family members or friends or children on chests of drawers or little boxes that store knick knacks. If you like, covering a centre table with a collage of your favourite film posters and record covers under a glass top adds a lot of character to a space and makes
a bold statement.
Don’t hold back when you are sure an idea would work, because Gorthi explains there are no rights or wrongs in the DIY space. Everything adds an aesthetic appeal to any room, if done well. “You could even create innovative lamp shades and bases with paper craft, old bottles and sieves,” she says.
For other lighting ideas, pick up strings of fairy lights and braid lights of different colours to line your windows and cut out paper to wrap the tinted lights in your home to throw interesting patterns on your walls.
OLD IS IN
Vintage is the new contemporary. Taking your granny’s old furniture or utensils and repolishing or repainting them can instantly up your hipster cred and even add a glimmer of old world sophistication and charm to any space. Take old brass urns and use them as vases, or used wine bottles and painted grain bins to impersonate planters. However, if you are the rebellious sort, Gorthi recommends calling your local tailor to cut up old curtains and morph them into eclectic cushion covers. While this leaves you with the problem of exposed windows, Mehta suggests you use old saris as replacements for curtains. These add
a splash of ethnic to your room and can also be used as runners or throws. Use discarded ply or wooden slabs to make bay windows or a credenza (a sideboard or low wooden cabinet). You could get these polished and painted to suit the tone of your room, and embellish them with planters, or pen stands created from stenciled steel glasses you can use as study table. This is a good space saver and more effective if it can be folded away into the wall once you’re done with it.
This is for those who are particularly experimental and bored of conventional designs. Your home should be something to talk about, little knick- knacks that visitors take home and remember about each room. Keeping it simple is key, so you don’t go overboard—you don’t want your home to look like a yuppie ad for bumper stickers.
Cushion covers with lyrics of your favourite song imprinted on them are the current trend. Another rage is vintage posters and paintings of old time heroines. You could find these online on Quirk Box or pop over to Bliss and buy yourself a set. Another way to make your space stand out is by using unusual wall décor. “Take a collection of old plates, empty wall frames, or coasters as a collage on any wall of your home,” says Gorthi.
Your bathroom rug and even the welcome mat can be made by braiding together cut up strips of old Tshirts. Pick a colour pallet and clothes you don’t wear, and get a tailor to help you out if you want a neater look.
And why should your pets be deprived of all the fun? Gorthi recommends creating a bed for your pet with an old suitcase adorning it with a bed cover that is cut up and stitched as a slip cover. Go crazy with colours and patterns for your pets as well.
At the end of a long and tiring day, home is where you return for some much needed quiet and peace. Let the hues and the knick knacks create the din for you in a clutter-free spacious, environment friendly, personalised and quirky corner.
A MINIMALIST, SMART BOOKSHELF IS A GREAT SPACE
BE A GREEN CRUSADER AND BUY WICKER OR
SEATING OPTIONS LIKE THIS CAN BE EASILY
KEPT IN ANY CORNER OF THE ROOM
COVER YOUR FURNITURE WITH FILM POSTERS TO ADD CHARACTER AND LIFE TO YOUR ROOM
KEEP THE KIDS ROOM PERKY AND UPBEAT BY EXPERIMENTING
WITH WALL PAINT AND DÉCOR
BRIGHTEN UP THE LIVING ROOM BY OPTING FOR BOLD HUES