Monday, July 19, 2010

Who is an interior designer? How do you select a good interior designer?

This is an era where anybody on the street calls himself an "interior designer". In fact, people everywhere often think they are all "interior designers" since they buy their own furniture, curios, flowers, curtains, etc and arrange it in a way they think is right. True...they are all decorating their, if they are doing it good, they can be called interior "decorators".

So then who is an interior "designer"?
A qualified person,
who can
  • identify & creatively solve problems pertaining to the function & quality of the interior;
  • programme, analyse & plan using specialized knowledge of interior construction, building codes, etc.
  • prepare drawings & documents w.r.t interior spaces to enhance & protect the health, safety & welfare of the public;
An interior designer is not a mere decorator, but a professional- as interior designing is not only an involves science & technology. He or she has to possess a wide range of abilities including artistic talent, appreciation of beauty (so as to use inexpensive materials & innovative ideas), psychological insight (understanding client needs, work according to their capacity & go beyond the requirements...see the soul rather than the body), Problem analysis (consider requirements, background & budget of client, materials & labour available, discarding useless concepts, etc.), flexibility (according to the client's view & needs), dependable & trustworthy, working with diverse personalities, business acumen, love for detail & accuracy, enthusiasm, etc.

Choose a designer keeping all these in mind...someone who can co-ordinate everything together in a way which is functional as well as aesthetic. What good is a chair that looks good but is not comfortable to sit on?

It is a misconception that you can save money by hiring a non-professional. People who think so often end up losing out on a lot- valuable resources such as money, time, energy, comfort, aesthetics, functionality, and above all else, peace of mind. Hiring a professional could actually help you save a substantial sum of money.

Why think you are saving money by hiring a non-professional when you can actually save a lot by hiring a professional!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Small Spaces??

Small spaces can be made more beautiful than a comparatively large space. Infact, small spaces will have a more "done up" look, even though very little is done. Careful analysis & execution can do wonders.
Listing out the activities carried out in the space, the amount of storage required,etc will help determine the furniture & layout.
Storage spaces are very important for small spaces. Since the space is small, the ability of the designer to find spaces for storage is what will give her the credits. Convertibles & dual-purpose furniture will be good options. Every corner has to be taken advantage of. Sofas that can be used as pull out beds or storage spaces, under-bed storage drawers, niches in walls for displays, etc can make huge difference. Knocking off a wall, clubbing adjoining spaces, using glass as separators, etc. will not only give a bigger impression, but will also add to the aesthetics as well as function of the space. To give an illusion of spaciousness, focus lights, mirrors & light coloured paints, etc can be used.
Remember always... making a space beautiful is only secondary to making it functional!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Principles of Design

Design has its basics in nature. If you look around, almost everything was derived from something similar in nature. For example, the helicopter is similar to a dragon fly, buildings to shell, etc. Study and analyse any design from nature and you will know how many factors come into play for a good, functional and aesthetic design. Take for instance the human NOSE -
  1. The hair & mucus -prevents dust & dirt ------> Functional (protection)
  2. Close to the mouth - to smell the food ---------> Functional (placement)
  3. If upside-down - will collect dirt, rain water, etc. ------> Problem analysis (position)
  4. Shape - to blend with the rest of the body --------> Aesthetic (proportion)
  5. Cartilage - flexibility ----------> Functional (building material)
  6. Symmetry - to blend with the rest of the body-------> Aesthetic (balance)
  7. Slope - to let water, etc slope away --------> Functional, Aesthetic (solution)
  8. Colour - to blend with the rest of the body ------> Aesthetic (unity, uniformity)

There are many basic concepts in the field of design. We can group all of the basic tenets of design into two categories: principles & elements. The principles of design represent the basic assumptions that guide the design practice, and affect the arrangement of objects within a composition. By comparison, the elements of design are the components of design themselves, i.e., the objects to be arranged.

Let’s begin by focusing on the principles of design. In the coming days we will be understanding the basics of each of the following principles:

  • Balance
  • Rhythm
  • Proportion
  • Dominance
  • Unity

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Build a strong theme

A theme is not just going with the different styles of architecture like the Mughal, the Japanese, the Victorian, the E, etc. Though they are options, there is a wide range of themes from where you can develop one for your own space.
  • One option is definitely the look- Traditional, Trendy, classical, contemporary, modern,etc.
  • Style - Indian, English, Chinese,... or even localised like Rajasthani, Kerala, Victorian, etc.
  • Colour- single colours (monochromatic), contrasts (like red & green), related (like blue & green), etc.
  • Material - like wood, metal, glass, ceramic, jute, etc. or a combination.
  • Pattern - linear, radial, etc.
  • Type of accessories
  • Method of displaying the same
The picture shows a modern yet casual style, colour theme is puprle & yellow (complimentary colour scheme), which is followed even for the accessories -like lampshades, carpets, cushions & seats.

It's a good habit to be organised, but this doesn't work for many people and how they'd wish there was someone who could help them with that! Well, when you find your space messed up, get help ASAP!!

Need help in redesigning, organising or changing the look of your space, or even creating a special space for you? ...let me know.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Radial Pattern & a Focal point

One of the many interesting patterns is the 'Radial' pattern. As the name suggests, it radiates from some central piece of interest. Usually this central piece is made the 'focal point'. A focal point is something which the eye sees first on entering the space. It could be an artifact, a flower arrangement, a painting, a wall or a television.
Select your focal point wisely. Since it is the first thing that catches the eye, it makes a statement. Remember, as they say, "first impression is the best impression". Highlight whatever you want as the focal point using colours, lights, or just by placing it in the centre (in this case).
Now that your focal point is established, arrange the furniture as if radiating from it.
The same principle can be followed with wall hangings, plants, etc.
The picture alongside is an example of a radial pattern where, the combination of the tepoy with artifacts and a rug beneath it as it's focal point. The picture on the top shows the evolution of a typical radial pattern.
A radial type of arrangement is casual yet due to the focal point, makes a strong statement.
Why wait? ...Change the same old monotonous arrangement of your room today and be in love with your "new" room!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Care to give some patterns?

I find most houses in Kerala have plain walls, branded furniture with no definite patterns or arrangement, no co-ordination between furniture in the same room as well as with those in other rooms, etc... no pattern be it their rooms, walls, furniture or their accessories.

I just love following a pattern suited for my clients. That is how every architect works.

Well, a recent visit to a friend's house, who spent more than 7 lakhs on some simple interior work was shocking- their bedroom was Victorian; and their kitchen, modern, with no effort to co-ordinate or connect them both. To make things worse, their living & dining spaces were in utter confusion - you couldn't give it a single name...there were at least 3 or 4 types of design... It was unbearable!!!

Just because you see & like something doesn't mean it will suit your space. Try to co-ordinate it with everything. This is where a trained & creative mind works best.

Adopt a style or create your own style and follow it everywhere with some stylish yet careful breaks in between. For example- wood goes best with glass but you can give it a break using golden metal accessories, ivory inlay work, mirrors in some cases, or touches of leather finishes.

It's your home & so deck up in style! Let there be a pattern in just about anything and viola! you'll see the difference!

(Revert for queries & help concerning this topic).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Colours, Colours and Colours...

Colour is a sensation.

When you paint a wall red or when you buy a curio or painting to spice up your room, did you know that a colour in its pure (or saturated) form is good if reserved for small areas? Backgrounds and large areas are easy to live with if they are somewhat dull, grayed or neutralised (using neutral colours like black, white, grey).

Placement of one colour near another makes a lot of difference too. If red is placed with yellow, it gives a warm feeling... but if green is placed with yellow, it gives a cool feeling. Warm colours advance and gives a 'small' feeling whereas cool colours recede to give a spacious feeling.

There are many schemes on how to use colours. Some of them are:
  • Monochromatic
  • Analogous or Related
  • Complimentary or Contrasting
  • Accented
A neat & careful selection makes a whole lot of difference. The colours will talk about you!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Add some colour too!

We live in a world of colours and every colour has a different story!
Choosing a colour for your room therefore, is very important as it reflects your mood, the activities you plan to have in that room and the kind of mood you want others to have upon entering the room.
  • While people like to go with some colours other than white, pure whites are the safest and they also bring with them a kind of elegance and ambiance that no other colour can.
  • Reds, Oranges, Yellows are warm colours that bring in a kind of energy, enthusiasm and liveliness.
  • Blues, Greens are cool colours and they give a calm, restful feeling.
  • Lavenders are romantic.
  • While Silver/Metallic colours are eclectic, golds and indigos are royal.
  • Blacks are elegant as well as mysterious.
With a wise selection of colours that suit your need and a careful combination or accentuation with some more colours, your rooms will turn out to be more than just "rooms".
(Feel free to ask questions, give ideas, etc for your space)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Add some light to your rooms!

There's nothing like a well lit room. But choosing the right light is what makes all the difference. A wrong design or a wrong placement can spoil the whole ambiance. Here are some things you should consider before you choose your lights:
  1. What are the activities you plan in your room? Is it just sleeping & music or do you intend to do some office work or reading?
  2. How much light do you need? some people like a well lit room while others like to highlight only certain areas.
  3. What is the theme of your room? - Modern, or classical?
  4. What is the colour scheme? The colours in a room decide whether you should go for warm lighting or not.
  5. is it cost-effective in itself & with respect to the rest of the design? You don't want to buy a picture lamp that is costlier than the picture itself.
There are more to it than the above listed points. Any help on choosing your lights/lamps, please feel free to ask me!