What is the first thing you see in the morning? Please don’t say your partner’s pretty face, I have not started writing about romantic relationships yet! 😛 Or maybe I secretly have, sshhhhhh!
Like nature, your surroundings influence your emotional state. They also speak on your behalf things you may not mention otherwise. The pieces you display and the elements you combine do to your home what different organs do to the human body. Yes, I know you neither purchase your organs on Amazon nor discard them when bored. And that is the point I am precisely trying to make here. If you could buy or design your features, you would probably show Angelina Jolie’s pout to the lip designer or Mila Kunis’s eyes to the eye store salesman. So why not take a little pause to think how you would really like your space to look and feel?
The way black makes you feel powerful and white calms you down, the place you live in and give your energy to reflects it back. It has a vibe!
It’s a myth that art and decor is an expensive affair to get into. I would also like to say how it annoys me to see some extravagant houses void of any aesthetics or utility. They look like 2-3 star hotel lobbies, without any warmth or character. Indians are obsessed with over-using wood, that too in it’s ugliest forms. They also love texture walls for some peculiar reason. If you keep your walls simple, you can experiment more with the colours and prints of upholstery. Yellow cushion covers on a grey couch add the extra zing. I love the combination of yellow and grey anyway. Another very important aspect is lighting. While I do have one white light in the living room for reading, all other lamps, wall lights and spotlights are warm yellows. If the fittings have not been done accordingly, you can choose the place of decor on the basis of electrical connections, it need not be the centre of the wall! Gone are the days of drapes and POP, please let them rest in peace. In the race of having a ‘modern home’, their places end up looking like the homes they were probably trying to compete with. Most walls in such houses have too much wood, or worse, ply covering them. This leaves no space for art pieces that can add life to the room. I love how the Europeans naturally include art in everything they create. The way they use wood is warm yet minimalistic.
I travel a lot so I collect local art pieces from the places I visit. I also like to pick decorative items from local craftsmen instead of buying them from expensive stores. I especially mentioned this for those who don’t travel. For remaining needs, online shopping can always come to your rescue.
For instance, I bought the above painting from Bandung, Indonesia for less than 6$ and got it framed in India. The signature Indonesian masks were bought from Bali and Jakarta. Indonesia is incredible for wooden, stone and canvas art. You will have goosebumps if you visit their art galleries. For people willing to go the extra mile, I highly recommend visiting the place and having your cherished artefacts shipped in a container.
The vertical and horizontal Egyptian paintings are from the Global Village Festival in Dubai. Bargaining works at such places so you can get lucky with a good deal. The vibrant, handmade chair is worth INR 8k but I bought it for INR 1800 from Pepperfry. Ain’t I cool! 😉
On the top left are two Buddhist chant paintings that I bought from Laxman Jhula in Rishikesh. The narrow lane colourful market has little shops that sell Buddhist artefacts and ornaments. The four ceramic plates hung above the dining table were picked from a roadside pottery seller in Ahmedabad. Khurja in Uttar Pradesh is the pottery hub of India, so do indulge when around. I found the Buddhist Tree of Life at a small shop in Mcleodganj, Himachal Pradesh.
What looks like a big, brown bottle guard is actually a fruit used by a tribal community in Gujarat to make musical instruments. It is old and broken so doesn’t play, but certainly makes a rustic wall decor. I used a neck string to hang it on. The same tribals made the cane lamps, wooden wind chime and the ancient fire lamp. If you love wind chimes, wooden ones make the most soothing, harmonious sound.
The small corridor has a cabinet for crockery and a wall mirror from Urban Ladder. I had bought the Buddha Face made from coconut wood for INR 600 only. The silver and brass bowls are from a utensil market in a nearby town.
Last but not the least, this balcony is an extension of our living room and my favourite part of the house. I love to have my morning coffee or midnight introspection while swinging away in this cosy corner. Most apartments have at least one balcony that can be turned into a zen spot; unfortunately, it does not happen! My terrace is not huge, yet I have managed to plant a number of greens, kept a small stool, a comfortable cane chair and a swing. Besides, it can accommodate more vertical humans on Saturday nights. I feel it’s an utter waste if you don’t utilise your outdoor spaces well. When I moved to a polluted city from a green town, I used to hate the dusty browns around. I had no front yard or mountains to overlook and sooth my senses, so I created this green zone with a hint of sunshine. To create an illusion of a walled garden, you can extend and pin money plant stems to the wall. Easy to maintain, beautiful to look at! I added 2 small lamps, a windchime, t-light candle holders, a ceramic Sun, a tribal mask and voila!
I have put this all together without digging a hole in my pocket, by just applying a sense of beauty. I want my home to be an extension of my personality, an ambassador of my interests. Does your place do that?