A growing number of middle-income earners are leaving nothing to chance to make the interiors of their homes stand out.
Even after paying top-dollar to the best architects to design their homes, this artsy lot is now employing interior designers to model their homes into little havens.
Previously, only high-end hotels, restaurants and hospitals used interior designers but the use of these professionals is gaining momentum, a situation that has further been encouraged by middle-class exposure to glitzy lifestyles on TV and magazines.
Their general argument when spending money on consultancy is that, unlike buying a fancy vehicle, spending millions on a house is not just an investment, but something that will also have a huge impact on the rest of your life.
Mr Amit Shah, an interior designer, told DN2 that the trend has been spurred by the fact that more of the growing middle class and upper class want houses and apartments that feel more like the hotels they wish to go to.
“The general aesthetics of the property is key to building on the ambience and well-being of its owners. Everyone wants to come home to get away from everyday hectic life. Unlike buying a fancy vehicle, spending millions on a house is an investment, especially if the works are done well,” he says, adding that “Good planning for plumbing, electrics, space management and general functionality of buildings is key to having a home with great value both sentimentally and financially for its owners or buyers.”
And to avoid the pitfalls if you cannot afford an interior designer, Mr Shah suggests the following do-it-yourself techniques.
New age interiors are governed by straight line-edges, discreet and intelligent wiring that can be accessed via panels and are fixed behind the walls via conduit piping.
There is nothing better for the home owner than efficient operational and pressured water service to all designated points, especially showers that are powerful enough to relax you after work or wake you up for that hectic day ahead.
In this regard, you can go for solar heating, which is fast gaining popularity. But it is important to note that correct installation and a great water pump ensure adequate pressure without wastage.
And since continuous water supply is not guaranteed in some places, excess water can be stored for future use while used water can be recycled for use in, say gardening. To do this, what you need to do is build a big underground tank.
ELECTRICS TEND TO BE UNIFORM
Electrics tend to be uniform in most rooms and bedrooms with changes in specifications depending on how much you want and are willing to spend.
Down lights with dimmers ensure lighting to suit every individual’s needs. Smart houses can be controlled via smart phones and tablets.
For example, lights can be turned on and off, colours changed, integrated speaker systems for listening and communication. Smart networks enable file sharing, child protection for Internet and TVs, CCTV, remote alarm control and even allow home owners to monitor their homes and compounds on a computer or smart phone from anywhere in the world.
Controlling the mainframe from abroad is key in “intelligent” homes. For example where safety is concerned, it would be a great idea to be able to turn electrics and the TV on when you’re abroad or to be able to shut down or switch on specific areas of the house via the Internet.
This can be password protected and different security levels can be assigned according to personal specifications.
Occasionally, piping works or electrics are affected by faults, so it is a good idea to have panelling that can be accessed and/or removed so that the wire or pipe networks can be worked on without damaging anything.
MATCH YOUR BRAND
Since interior design is about quality, style and intelligence, it is important to match your brand with the right materials. Natural stone, leather and quality wood make the perfect mix for a quality and stylish finish.
For example, granite for worktops and leather for seating ensures a long-lasting clean look for the house, apartment or commercial property.
If you can afford it, use large glass panes, but due to security issues, avoid using them in areas which can be easily broken into.
One big problem with many people is that they try to cut costs by using cheap labour. As a result, they end up using people who non-professionals who do a poor job and disappear after being paid, never to be seen again.
This is why serious clients hire contractors to oversee the construction or renovations. It’s simple: you pay for what you get and get what you pay for. But it is important to note that if you keep keep changing your mind, the labour costs increase.
It is also important to realise that getting the design you want right at the planning stage is the best option, no matter how long it takes.
That way you don’t waste any materials or time taken to carry out the jobs. Remember, doing a repeat job is expensive and time consuming, so get it right the first time.
In this regard, you should ensure that your interiors have a co-ordinated feel in both ambience and functionality. Kitchens with thick granite/quartz counters, soft close drawers, centre islands with breakfast bars are ideal.
Bathrooms with large glass showers and twin sinks, and en suite bedrooms with walk-in closets ensure maximum comfort.
The reduction of clutter and protruding fittings and fixtures will give a streamlined, slick look.
For the floor, you can use tiles, marble, laminates, or real hard wood.
The ‘Look’ of the interiors and buildings are slick, classy and of good quality therefore the materials used would have the same qualities.
Furniture and Décor
This is what you can use to accent the home or office. It all depends on the your personal taste; some people like an ultra-modern feel while others prefer like a rustic look.
If you want an all-natural look, use wooden tables and stools and match them with leather sofas.
And to add colour to your home, you can use curtains and cushions.