Ever walked into a room and instantly got a good vibe? A room that’s well put together is no accident. While the contents of any room are unique to each person, at its core, home décor is based on a set of sensible guidelines, if not rules. Here are some of them.

Give your rooms a green upgrade.

In this era of apartment living, gardens are the stuff of dreams or nostalgia. But that doesn’t mean you can’t bring home a splash of green. Think balcony garden or if not that, then easy-maintenance indoor plants like peace lilies, ferns, and succulents.

If you want something more than ornamentation, make a herb garden with plants that grow easily in small pots. For instance, methi, coriander, curry leaves, basil, and green chillies. A window sill, a wall shelf by a sunny window, or even the balcony are great places to grow these.

You don’t have to restrict plants to your living spaces: add some to the bedroom, study, or even the loo – they do plenty to purify the air. The tall and spiky snake plant is a natural air purifier and it grows to fit the space it has. This makes them the perfect fit for any awkward-to-fill spots. You could also consider making your own terrarium and using it as a centrepiece for your coffee table.

Picture courtesy – Nihar Savala via Facebook. Featured here: Scala bookshelf.

Draw attention with negative space.

We have a habit of collecting things – return gifts we can’t find a use for, trinkets bought on impulse, souvenirs collected during travels… That’s perfectly fine, but what’s not okay is the haphazard way in which we choose to display these: stuffed any which way into showcases.

When it comes to beautiful displays, not filling up a space is very important.

If you find your display shelf is getting ho-hum looks, intersperse your collectibles with plants, books or even a small-sized lamp. This will break the monotony of a conventional linear arrangement. You could also experiment with colour-blocking and themes.

Picture courtesy – Dhrishni via Instagram.  Featured here: Boeberg bookshelf.

To make room, make adjustments.

Outsized furniture is a thing in most Indian homes. That large, plush, faded sofa is probably taking up half the living room, but it’s so comfortable and houses so many lovely memories, you don’t want to let it go.

This is where thinking out of the box will help. Keep that can-never-part-with-it piece as a permanent fixture and plan the rest of the room around it. In the case of the overstuffed sofa that leaves no room for a proper coffee table, consider alternative interior décor ideas. For instance, a set of nested side tables that can be brought out at will. Ottomans with firm cushions can also double as coffee tables.

Or if there’s a large double bed that leaves little room in the room, add storage drawers underneath to get some extra storage space. You could also replace floor-standing study tables and dressers with wall-mounted ones to make use of

Picture courtesy: Monisha Singh Diwan via Facebook. Featured here:  Stewart nested stools.

Balance the elements – dark with bright, heavy with light.

We often find ourselves with dark wood furniture that has been in the family for generations. A great way to infuse them into your current décor is to furnish the rest of the space with upbeat, light colours to diffuse the heaviness. Bright linens, rugs and upholstery work well for this arrangement. If you have a set of antiques– separate and place them in different rooms. This way you don’t have to alter the antique to fit into your current décor.

Picture courtesy: Varun Bansal via Instagram. Featured here: Smalna floor lampCarnegie cabinet

Prepare for the inevitable – guests.

Visitors tend to catch you off guard because ‘they were in the neighbourhood’. Instead of succumbing to mad panic when the doorbell rings, keep things in their place and be prepared for surprise visits. Here are some tips that always work:

  • Have an entryway rack or chest for keys, wallets, bills, and other things you have in your pockets on your way in and out.
  • Invest in furniture with secret storage compartments where you can put away things in a hurry
  • Create a 5-minute tidy up routine and go through it every night before turning in
  • A sofa bed is a great choice for those whose friends stay over often. If you have elders or relatives staying over, have a guest room at the ready – don’t use it as a place to dump the laundry you were too lazy to fold.

Featured here: Kowloon sectional sofa bed with storage.

Choose a design style.

It’s easy to find home decor inspiration online – and it’s just as easy to get carried away by these. A common problem in many Indian homes is that the decor is a perplexing mix of styles, inconsistent from one room to the next. It simply doesn’t ‘flow’.

Start by deciding what look you’re going for and identify room decoration pieces that match that look. For instance, if you want an ethnic Indian feel, pepper your spaces with quintessentially Indian artefacts. Solid wood sofas or dining sets, colourful cushions, ethnic rugs, brass or copper planters, and handmade toys like those from Channapatna or Rajasthan.

If you can’t zero in on one specific theme, try choosing a colour palette instead, like pastels. The rule of thumb is 60:30:10. 60% of a primary colour (wall paint, for instance), 30% of a secondary colour (upholstery), and 10% of an accent colour (cushion covers, curtains, etc.)

Picture courtesy: Akshay Mahendra via Facebook. Featured here: An Urban Ladder modular kitchen. Loved it? Book a kitchen design consultation with our designers.

Good home décor ideas are more than just a few pretty collectibles for the living room. They’re a form of self-expression channelled through the lens of functionality. Have a great decor idea that’s worked wonders? Share it in the comments below

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