Lights are an important functional component of any home, but these are fast becoming swish style statements also reflecting the aesthetic quotient of the homeowner. Here we take a look at some of the home lighting trends that are ‘hot’ this summer. There is a huge variety of new and interesting options to pick up the perfect light for every space. The key here is the joy of spectacular lighting that transforms one’s home and that, too, at affordable prices.
Summers make the statement of being bright and bold in the home and hence the new colour in vogue is emerald green flaunting its rich tone and sophistication. To add to it, monochromatic rooms with a hint of bright, bold and decisive colour choices are in.
Lead with LED
Owing to focus on energy efficiency, the demand for LED, halogen, xenon and fluorescent lighting is on the rise. Using LED lights has become a norm these days and the innumerable LED lighting solutions available in the market are ideal to create spectacular moods and ambience with the advantage of lower electric bills and extended luminescence.
The effective version of fluorescent tube, T5, and compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), also called as “green lighting”, are also becoming popular. These are not only more durable, use less power but also lead to optimum utilisation of building colours, materials and design etc. There are various companies, including firms like Eon Electric, which are working towards developing highly efficient cost-effective LEDs.
Another way to brighten up one’s home is via dynamic lighting using varied lamps whose colour, intensity and temperature can be controlled to create the desired ambience. Apart from halogens and LED recessed lights, another current trend is the use of concealed lighting for illuminating living rooms as well as bedrooms.
Fixtures and placement trend circumscribes recessed lighting and track lighting that are already popular in kitchen and living rooms. Inclination must be towards choosing a unique fixture that highlights your favourite furniture or artwork.
In kitchen, ‘tape lighting’, which essentially are a strip of LED lights taped under and over cabinets are creating a buzz in the market. These are also available in thin, energy-efficient fluorescents with strips of xenon and halogen mini lights. Another effective option is pendants. These are not only available in a variety of shapes, colours and style but are instrumental in avoiding glare, increasing the scope of ambient lighting.
In exterior lighting, low-voltage technology comprising of fiber optics making it safe to use, is in demand.
Other trends include lights aimed upwards dramatising specific features and lights aimed downwards highlighting pathways. So, this summer bring home a range of lights that are crafted keeping in mind that you deserve nothing but the best.
An elegant and classy headboard can become the focal point of your bedroom decor. So choose right and make a lasting impact
Your bed is the largest piece of furniture in your bedroom and thus should create the right impact. The headboard of a bed that you choose almost always becomes a focal point, drawing together various elements in the room and helping to set a theme for the rest of the decor. But despite all this, most of the people perceive bed headboards as an optional accessory. Headboards can add functionality to the bedroom space besides making a bed look more complete. These can serve as an anchor for a large room or as an indication of comfort in a smaller one. In fact, best headboards are true statement pieces, designed to add instant impact and enliven a bedroom.
Choosing the right headboard is an important step in creating the look that you always wanted for your bedroom as these reflect the taste, wealth and status of the owner. Luckily, there are numerous styles to choose from as headboards come in all sizes and styles, are made of many different materials and colours and can be modern or antique. One can also go for custom-designed headboards which would compliment the existing room decor or match other patterns exactly. These can range from very simple to elaborate and they tend to be raised above the level of the box spring and mattress by at least a few feet. The size of your headboard should also match the scale of your room. If you have a large and open bedroom, then you can go for a large headboard. If you have a small room, prefer a frame for headboard that will adequately match the width of your bed and keep its height to a minimum.
Classic and carved
The traditional wooden headboards are made of wood, such as teak, oak or may be made by ply board topped with beautiful polished veneers to give a look of real wood. These headboards may match the rest of the bedroom furniture or provide an accent colour. Wooden headboards can be contemporary in laser cut frame in wood or steel with sleek lines or carved and ornate to complement a more traditional room or may be decorated by engraving mother-of-pearl in wood/ply wood. Wooden headboards can be typically mounted to the bed frame and offer support for pillows while serving a decorative purpose as well.
High on functional
If you need storage space by your bedside, bookshelf headboards are a good option as these bring storage space to the bed by including shelves, and even drawers, that extend above the head of the bed itself. You can have just one or two storage areas or have multiple storage areas located throughout the entire headboard. The bookshelf headboards are great for late-night readers or when space is at a premium and extra storage is essential. Besides holding books, a bookshelf headboard can be a place for an alarm clock, lamp or other small decorative or utility items.
These are different than the headboards used for bedroom of adults as headboards for kids' beds can function in other ways as well. Besides serving as a comfortable backing or storage space these can also be the centerpiece of a bedroom theme. A painted plywood form in the shape of a clown, flower or race car may encourage kids to sleep in their own bed while making the room look more complete. So, looking to the options available for headboards, when you next plan to have a bed for your bedroom, why not to have one that suits your liking, preferences and utility besides enhancing the beauty, style and aesthetics of your bedroom.
As a contemporary way of having a headboard, it is interesting to see mother-of-Pearl, water jet steel, wood fret work, smoked glass, Swarovski crystal, precious stone and steel inlay used as an integral part of headboards. This trend is catching up fast. So, why not have one for your dream home!
Attached vs. wall-mounted headboards
There are two ways to incorporate a headboard into a bedroom. The board can be attached directly to a bed, or it can be mounted on the wall. There are advantages in both options. Normally when you buy a bed, headboard forms part of the bed and includes struts with their products, allowing the boards to fit directly into the back of a standard-size bed. Many people prefer this type of bed as it tends to be very secure and can help hold the pillows and bed sheets in place. Then, there are wall-mounted headboards which are an easy way to add personal style to any bedroom. These are convenient for many people because they can vary in size and need not match the size of the bed itself. Some consider this style easier to change if one enjoys changing the look of the headboard more frequently as well. Upholstered headboards are the most common type of wall-mounted headboards though other versions are also available. However, you should keep in mind that these do not typically help in securing bed sheets or pillows to the bed and this can be a disadvantage.
Metal headboards are commonly a popular choice of consumers mainly because of the availability of a number of styles available and their relative affordability. Also, this style of headboards matches different types of décor, including country, urban, minimalist, vintage and modern. If you choose a more antique look for your bedroom, an embellished scrollwork headboard is a good option as these have elegant-looking swirls and patterns incorporated throughout the metal headboard, and also come in a variety of colours such as brown, black, bronze or white. You can also opt for wrought iron or brass headboards that can give a bed a royal look while metals like brushed aluminum and stainless steel and laser cutting are perfect for a contemporary bedroom with more modern furnishings. One can also choose to go in a more modern direction with a linear designed metal headboard. These are generally silver, nickel, or black in colour and give a bedroom more of an urban feel.
Though these are not as commonly used as wooden or upholstered headboards yet people who have a fancy for woven styles don't make any compromises and prefer to have woven headboards. For example, the classic white wicker headboard has graced many a little girl's bed over the generations and has been well accepted. Also, the woven headboards have grown up and branched out and the new versions are made from rattan, woven abaca and other natural fibers. They come in a variety of natural tones as well as the traditional and feminine white. This is an environment friendly option for a head- or footboard as these are made with sustainable materials.
Upholstered and chic
Upholstered headboards add a touch of softness to any room. The upholstered padding makes these an ideal choice for those who love to read a bit before sleeping. These also help to absorb sound. These are also one of the most common and versatile styles because these are available in a range of fabrics, shapes and designs. To give a modern and contemporary look, choose a low-profile rectangular shape in textured or neutral fabrics. And for a romantic twist, try a Victorian-inspired shape having more height in the center than on the sides. You can also accentuate fabric headboards with tufts which would look Victorian if these are deep or modern if these are shallow. Choosing to upholster your headboard in vibrant hues such as bottle green or opulent black, turquoise and silver patterns helps create a rich and opulent feel even in the most modest surroundings.
The definition of a bathroom has changed in today’s times. Utmost care is taken in designing it these days as a bathroom is a very personal space in the house for the owner. It is a space where one shuts the rest of the world out and connect with oneself.
The trend these days is to have separate bathrooms for husband and wife as a man’s preferences in the bathroom are very different from those of a woman. And taking this forward, the children also take to the bathroom of the same sexed parent — a boy his father’s and a girl her mother’s. Therefore, designing completely changes depending on whether it is a man’s bathroom or a woman’s. Styling trends to remember about the following:
This is the primary and most important factor. You can jazz up the look as much as you want but if your fittings are not right you will always have a leaking faucet or a dripping corner.
Always insist on the best quality GI pipe fittings and chinaware. ‘Soot’ should be rolled over the underground GI pipes. This is because it absorbs any minor leakage that might occur and prevents it from coming through the tiles/walls. Chinaware should be inspected for any cracks or defects before insatalltion.
As far as the styling trends are concerned, chinaware in pure white and fittings in Chrome are back in vogue.
Rain showers are always a favourite as they distribute water over a larger surface area. Besides showers, bath cubicles with various faucets at different levels dispensing high pressure water are also popular options. This is like a mini standing jacuzzi. These cubicles come built in with a radio to tune in to your favourite station and indulge in some bathroom singing. It is very imporatnt to keep the showehead clean for the water pressure to flow properly.
Many consider a bathtub a piece of art in itself. The shapes can vary from the traditional rectangular ones to other geometric and angular shapes. But you can’t experiment much with shapes as you have to see the feasibility of using oddly shaped bathtubs. Most popular and practical material is ceramic
Mirrors work as a wonderful bathroom accessory. Depending on the look of the bathroom, you can go for a vintage look mirror with a broad laser-cut frame or a modern-looking mirror in an exciting shape. Wall-to-wall mirrors at eye level look great in bathrooms as they give an illusion of space and enhance the look of the bathroom.
In a tropical country like ours, this is not necessary at all. However, for those living in the hill states in the northern region can get it installed. It has to be done at the time of flooring. Neccessary equipment is installed under the flooring material and appropriate vents are left for the heat to come through.
This can be easily achieved by an in-built air conditioner to make the bathroom warm or cold according to your preference.
Heated seat rings are a good choice to be installed over the WC
HOW TO PLACE SUNKEN TUBS OR JACUZZI
This is the most popular choice while designing bathrooms. Jacuzzis are a great way to relax. After a long day at work, you can immerse yourself in its comfort, while sipping a drink and reading a book at the same time. Its like a mini vacation in the comfort of your own home. The placement solely depends on the size of the bathroom and it can even be placed outdoors.
CREATE A LAVISH SPREAD
Dressing room adjoining the bathroom is ideal. TV screens or music systems are specially designed for bathrooms for the electronics junkie.
Accessories play a very important role in adding that touch of luxury. A couch in the bathroom adds a stylish touch.
Other accessories like wall paintings, statues, mirrors, candlestands, a spread of luxurious towels are all essential for a lavish bathroom.
One important item is a green plant in the bathroom. Lavish is good but green is important to absorb all the toxins created in the bathroom and produce oxygen.
PLAY OF THEMES
- A beach or A Mediterranean theme woks well for a bathroom. For this, different shades of blue are used for the tiles. Mosaic tiles are used in the shower area. One side of the bathroom is enclosed and sand is spread over there with some rounded river stones and pebbles over it. you can alternate the sand with gravel which looks great too. You can have water flowing in the bathroom either in the form of fountains or small inbuilt water structures. there can be an audio of birds chirping in the background or any other calming sound
- A small swimming pool can be incorporated with it
- Opting for large bathrooms that open out into the swimming pool. You can go for a heated swimming pool as well. The pool can be indoor or outdoor.
Dress your windows with inexpensive and soothing alternatives and enjoy summer afternoons in style
This summer experiment with some interesting choices to keep yourself cool and comfortable while limiting the energy costs to the minimum. Window treatments are not just decor accessories for rooms but are also essential tools to block sunlight and keep the rooms cool.
Blinds and chiks are widely preferred in summer months as these are energy-efficient alternatives to keep homes cool.
In the hot and dusty plains of north India, chiks have traditionally been used to keep the interiors cool and dust-free during summer months. These have been used in homes to adorn windows by using bamboo or sarkanda / sirki grass as the base material. Over the past few years chiks have become very popular in urban settings, especially in the metros. Right from roadside vendors displaying a colourful array of designs to the upmarket boutiques showcasing the traditional chic, there is ample choice available if you are looking to add this earthy and traditional touch to your home. The makers usually create products on the basis of required specifications. The designs are named according to their shape; the repertoire includes the barfi jaal (rectangle), choori jaal (bangle), makdi jaal, and glass jaal. Craftsmen have started innovating with cutouts, dyed bamboo sticks, printed cloth backings and decorative tassels.
The calming influence of chiks adds serenity to the atmosphere and helps one escape from the stresses of urban lifestyle. An added advantage is the reasonable price. Blinds are the least expensive options available in the market in terms of window treatment as these not only fit in every type of decor but are also low on maintenance and occupy less space.
These can be closed to block the sunlight during mornings and the hottest part of afternoon. One can either pull up the shades to expose the window, angle the slats slightly, or close them entirely, thus having precise control over the amount of sunlight being allowed in the rooms.
Several varieties of blinds are available in the market. These include vinyl, aluminum, faux wood, real wood and vertical blinds. Another type of blinds are the dual roller blinds which conveniently fit two blinds into one bracket. They allow two-fold benefits of a block out blind and a sunscreen blind, creating an affordable and functional window covering. In fact, with the growing popularity of blinds these are now being personalised to suit the overall decor of the home.
Verticals are the perfect solution for curved, arched or irregular windows where a raked blind is required. Whereas when a strong blind is required within a constraint budget, faux blinds may prove to be useful. Those looking for a natural and organic material for room décor should try out cedar blinds. These are not only evergreen but also add warmth and texture to the overall ambience of a home.
So go ahead, dress your windows this season with inexpensive and soothing alternatives and enjoy summer afternoons in style.
- Regular dusting with a moist cloth is sufficient to keep blinds and chiks clean and fresh
- Another option is vacuuming (brush attachment), but across the slats, not up and down.
- For fabric or vinyl blinds, use a rubber dry sponge to remove dust.
- While washing wooden blinds, make sure not to over saturate the wood. Wipe off any excess water immediately to avoid discoloring and/or warping.
- Extremely dirty fabric blinds, should be dry-cleaned.
If simplistic and minimalist decor appeals you then draw inspiration from the Japanese interiors
belu jain maheshwari
Interior designing may have a few ground rules and techniques which are fundamental to good decoration but each country will have its own style and indigenous material which is used in interiors. Style and material depend a lot on environment, tradition, habits, climate and culture, Japan is an example of the amalgamation of the above factors. Being an island it has a long coastline, which is prone to typhoons and with volcanic pressure in the ocean it is in constant fear of tsunamis also. It gets a lot of rainfall with high degree of humidity. The worst fear is of earthquakes which are a regular occurrence.
Why am I talking geography? No I have not forgotten that I am writing on interiors, this is just to highlight that Japanese interior designing which has become famous, has been shaped by its environment and tradition. Small and simple are the two key words in their decor, there is very little ostentation. The minimalistic approach that people of this country adopt in their interiors is intriguing as well as fascinating. We Indians who are basically hoarders and cannot throw even old raddi will find their interiors bare. But due to their culture which celebrates privacy, also because they have paucity of land and also because they are visited by natural disasters, they have made a virtue out necessity. The houses are small. The roofs are sloping and made of light material like thatch or wood so that water can be drained easily. Danger of earthquakes and typhoons, makes them use light materials in construction. The structure is made of wood logs, and the walls are made of wood board or engineered brick tiles.
Small and simple
Even their tradition and culture is based on the philosophy of Taoism which emphasises the S&S line. For them true beauty is in its empty spaces, which is a tradition that comes from laozi ( Taoism) which is aesthetic ideal of emptiness. Believing that the mood should be captured in the imagination and not so heavily dictated by what is physically present. The influence of Buddhism also celebrates less is more. So you will not see over clutter in their rooms.
Close to nature
The emphasis is also on the use of natural materials, fine wood, bamboo, silk, rice straw mats, paper screens called Shoji are used. The inner space divisions are fluid. The interior of the building normally consists of a single room at the centre called Moya. The division of space is by sliding panels or sliding doors. These walls can be made of panels called Fusuma and are traditionally hand painted.
The furniture is minimal, Japanese prefer to use cushions to sit on the floor or light wooden backrest, used again with cushions around a low table. This sitting arrangement doubles as sitting as well as eating area. Japanese design is based strongly on craftsmanship , beauty and delicacy. It is low maintenance, and has a connection to nature. Even the colour schemes are neutral palettes, including black, white, off-white, grey and brown.
Impermanence is a strong theme in their tradition. The room size can be altered, cupboards built smoothly into the wall, Futon used as mattresses, which can be hidden in the walls and pulled out at night. For us sitting on those low chairs was a problem because we are not as flexible but the Japanese are light and supple.
On the floor are placed Tatami mats, made of rice straw (chatais as we call them ). Again this is dictated by culture where everyone sits on the floor, it is easily maintainable, carpets would be difficult to manage in that climate.
There is an area called Tokonoma, which is the focus of the room. It can be a painting or calligraphy or a Japanese art which can be a sculpture or a beautiful piece of pottery.
Another traditional aspect of the house is an alcove and is part of the reception area. The curtains are only placed on the outside door and these are not full length , they are also cut into panels and are half the length of the door. Interior space is effectively used for human activity.
The bathrooms and kitchen may be small but are functional and technically well designed, these are modernistic, they have warm WC seats and sauna baths. In limited space the kitchen is functional and has all appliances.
Japanese design is simple yet the attention to detail is very strong, for example their entrance though unpretentious will have a beautifully crafted wooden design. They might technologically have moved to the 21st century, or be way ahead of most other countries but in their living spaces they have beautifully blended tradition, indigenous material with modernity, they are in sync with their homes.
Multi-functional set up
An important aspect of Japanese decor style is the division of rooms by Shoji screens made of translucent paper that allows light to be diffused through the space and create light shadows and patterns. Another way of dividing the rooms is through sliding panels made of wood and cloth. The Shoji screens are made of paper attached to thin wooden frames that roll on a track when pushed open. The spaces are used as multi-functional rooms. The rooms can be opened to create more space for an occasion or closed to provide privacy.
Love for nature
Even in a small space, the love for plants is evident. Plants are grown even in a small space in boxes or they have bonsais. To add to the beauty the Japanese rely on ikebana which is such a beautiful way of adding colour to any area, each flower arrangement has a message to convey. They use pebbles, water, bamboo — material they are familiar with and which is easily available— to add to the design.
Japanese design is simple yet the attention to detail is very strong as can be seen in this unpretentious entrance with a beautifully crafted wooden design
BLEND OF MODERN AND TRADITIONAL
Indegenous material has been used artistically to highlight a wall
Whenever someone enters your home, he will probably encounter with entry door. The doors too may be expressive of your lifestyle. So why don’t you make some efforts to design or decorate doors or surroundings particularly. By using following tips you can enjoy praise from guests and your own family members.
1. Apply Decorative Nameplates or Door Signs
You can hang a wooden or metallic name plate on door on which are inscribed your surname or whatever you name your house. This will help visitors to know about who lives in or to whom this house belongs to. You can also use grooved alphabets made with vinyl plastic, wood or metal. Name plates or door signs look good and attractive.
2. Use Flowers /Plants on Both Entry Corners
Placing natural or artificial flowers on entryway or on both corners of front doors is really inviting. You can stick seasonal wreath or flower bunches in the middle of door. A florist, good gardener or your own imagination can do for you.
3. Paint Doors in Superior Shades
You can paint your doors in shining shades or create a sort of paint design. You can follow color themes of your interior rooms for it or may go with some contrasts. Paint door shutters in different colors of door or window.
4. Make Use of Accessories
There are lots of decorative items available in local market like iron door knockers, wind chimes, small bell shapes pieces of metal, soft toys and much more. Your door will be master piece by using a good wind chime or a bear or Micky mouse shape soft toys.
Besides all these decorative things you can use your own creativity to decorate entryways and doors to welcome your guests.
Well-designed interiors can successfully augment the aesthetic appeal of any house. As a consequence while working on the interiors, it is imperative to stay focused on the basic elements and render a unique, creative dimension to them. When one talks of concentrating on the basics, stairs in a house immediately come to our mind. How people choose to design the stairs of their house is a matter of personal choice. Well, gone are the days when staircases were made solely for the purpose of functionality. Today, these can be a central design feature capable of transforming the interior of a house. In fact, they do more than connect levels; their visual presence is a design statement in itself. Staircases are fast becoming a priority for home-owners, seeing their potential to add that 'wow factor' to a house. Not only that, a well-designed and accessorised flight of stairs not only adds a touch of glamour but also complements the specific design theme of the house interiors.
A staircase is a practical necessity in any house. Whether a house is built in a classic style or a contemporary one, the choice of banisters, balustrades and handrails of the staircase greatly impact the overall design. For instance, a sleek, stainless steel staircase works well in homes with a high-tech, contemporary style whereas a very grand home with an impressive entrance hall requires something more majestic. While most old, traditional colonial houses have large banisters and an elaborate staircase with carved handrails, the modern ones may flaunt a spiral staircase and curved banisters with designer metal handrails and decorative grills. Converting spiral stairs into show pieces for in-house libraries or family rooms is also quite in vogue.
As far as custom-made stairs are concerned, there are different options available in the market like - steel, glass, timber, copper or aluminum. With them one can experiment with newer and bolder styles of banisters, balustrades glass and handrails while maintaining parity with the overall style, design and theme of the house and its interiors. From practical utility to high value artistic renderings, stairs are indeed witnessing an experimental revolution in terms of designs and varieties.
There is a lot more to stairs than one can fathom. Besides being used for reaching upper and/or elevated sections of a house, stairs can also be used to add life to an otherwise dull space - in a unique manner. A staircase can be developed in many shapes like curved, cantilevered, and spiral or suspended depending upon the aesthetic maturity of the home owner. In fact, there are innumerable possibilities which can turn the staircase into the most important focal point of the house.
Typically, stairs are expected to be a long-lasting addition to the interiors of a house. Therefore, they must be versatile to withstand time as well as rapidly changing interior design trends. One of the latest trends is the use of glass. The light, ethereal aesthetic of glass creates an illusion of a floating staircase. The translucent nature of glass maximizes the use of light and space, creating an 'airy' feel. A frosted, opaque effect, achieved through sandblasting, can be a good way to increase the safety of the staircase since it provides a better friction underfoot.
Stainless steel is another material gaining popularity on account of its strengths and looks. Although it is often associated with very bare, minimalist architecture, it can, in fact, take on a range of different looks. A combination of stainless steel and glass creates a dramatic as well as stunning look. The trick is not to over-use it and to experiment with different finishes like bright, matt, brushed etc. One should invest an equal amount of time to define the design of a staircase which can magnify the look of a house. After all, they are the one's responsible for taking us a level up, isn't it!
Home is where the heart lives, and we all look forward to our dream home after a long and tiring day to relax and relieve stress. However, our home also needs small changes or renovation time to time to gel with changing weather. Rather than changing everything, some experiments with colour themes of fabrics, furnishings, wall and roof, curtains, furniture and light can give entirely new look to your home décor.
Colour combination: The right combination of colour and fabric for furnishings, bed spreads and curtains makes your house look livelier and also increases its fashion statement. Firstly, avoid using dark printed bed sheets and pillow covers from bedroom and living room area. Remove all the brighter shades curtains and go for a soft and smoother look. Use lighter shades bed sheets and curtains, especially during summers. Shop for floral prints bed sheets and curtains in the market and if there is a painter inside you, you can explore your creativity skills. For curtains, use of linens in neutral tones or even diluted coloured tones is highly recommended. So, opt out for shades like pastel, white, off-white, mint green, light brown. Stylish cushions and accessories in luminous colours with varied designs work well and definitely match the perfect ambience.
The colours used in the home should be cool neutrals or pastels with pop of colour in accessories and accent pieces which match its present mood itself. Some of the hot colours of the season are in trends like orange. It is basically continuing in popularity from last season, and has become brighter and more prominent. Yellow is a warm and happy colour of sunshine, which is a great accent colour to be used in home furnishings. Poppy red is another exciting colour for spring summer which adds lots of energy to a space. And if you are fond of green, then emerald green is vivid and full of life. If you don't want to take so much pain, then try keeping walls neutral with a focal wall covered in wallpaper subtly matched to the décor. Choosing furniture: Furniture should be light with a few white high-gloss accent pieces along with some dark wood veneer polishes forms up a cool metallic look. Usage of fresh flowers in the flowerpot will add a refreshing factor in your living room. Also, it will make your house look brighter in summer.
Handy tips: Vijay Kumar Jindal, CMD- SVP Group says: "To suit all weather, one can select white colour for the roof and the wall. You can play with light colours for walls like light green, sky blue, sea green for kids. Light coluors, especially white colours, actually suit in the shinning summers and easily gel with winters, too. In our projects we don't go for yellow, green or red coloured lights because it automatically increases the heat capacity in room and raises temperature from normal and consume more electricity. Generally, we install CFL lights or tube lights to make a room bigger and beautiful and cut down the heat capacity and heavy bills."
Having and maintaining a clean,tidy and stylish bathroom is no mean task. Bathrooms surely reflect the true style of a homeowner, so extreme care has to be taken on a continuous basis to maintain a “clean” track record. With the amount of choice available in the market regarding different accessories and fittings, there is a lot you can do for this small yet very important space in your home. Sometimes the number of items required in a bathroom is much more than those needed in a room. The planning for all this has to be done at the initial stage, the water pipes, cold and hot pipes, geysers, drains, sewerage line connection, the bathing area where divertors have to be imbedded all have to be carefully looked into.
Some of the ground rules that should be kept in mind while designing a bathroom include the number of persons who are going to use the bathroom, how many bathrooms are there in the house, do you have a water shortage, do you spend a lot of time there. If too many people are using one bathroom, then it makes sense to have the bathing area separate from the WC, even the wash basin can be separated so that different people can do different activities.
Another point to keep in mind is that the bathing area should have a surface which dries easily, so that the rest of the bathroom does not get slushy, a wet bathroom is a complete no no.
Stick to simple fuss-free design and opt for neutral tones in a small bathroom.
We all know a bathroom needs a WC with faucet, a jet or a hand jet. The bathing area should normally be enclosed within a glass cubicle or a shower curtain. By enclosing it you leave the rest of the bathroom dry. A bath tub is good but it can usually not replace the shower area, it can be an additional bathing accessory. Now you have loads of bath tub designs to choose from. These can also be custom made with stone and tiles.
Another necessity is a wash basin, these also come in varied materials, from stone to glass, steel, brass, acrylic , ceramic etc.
Provision for proper or smart storage is another important component of a modern bathroom. Depending on the space an interesting space enhancing trick is to use niches in the walls for additional storage. Even mirrored storage can be used to visually expand the space and lend a sense of openness to the bathroom.
Use unused areas, behind a counter, behind cabinet doors to keep hand washes, cleaning supplies etc. Open shelves can be used to keep towels; wasted corners can be used to put chest to keep soaps, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet rolls etc.
Do not clutter the counter tops, keeping your toiletries on top looks untidy. Adjustable glass shelves in the wall allow you to customise your storage. If you do not have space to keep a basket for dirty laundry, use empty wall space. A handy tilt-out bin could be another option. Be innovative and try out different things to add a special touch to your bathroom. For example an old wooden ladder can be painted and used to hang towels, or an old matka can be used to keep toiletry.
A big problem in bathrooms is of bad odour or smell. This is normally, handled by putting an exhaust fan. There are new ones in the market which do not make earth shattering noise. There are many other ways to clean the air these include air filters, good ventilation, dehumidifiers.
But a good way is to use plants. They act as natural filters by transmitting oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide. Tropical house plants are perfect for bathrooms. Use pebble trays for humidifying the air. Different plants absorb different gases, Aloe Vera absorbs formaldehyde and gives out oxygen. Bamboo, helps control interior pollutant . Boston fern removes benzene.
Accessories add to the functionality and beauty of a bathroom. Again the market is flooded with them, their are great designs in mirrors, bath set utility holder, towel rings, soap dishes, bathrobe hooks, soap dispensers, Italian jars to keep cotton buds, dried flowers.
A trend which has caught on in a big way is of baskets. They come in different shapes and sizes. These can be coloured or in the natural straw colour. Besides wicker and grass one can also get leather and wooden baskets also.
Faucets make a huge difference to a bathroom. The market is flooded with choices here and the price range starts from a few hundred rupees to several thousands. What has to be kept in mind is that they should be from a standard company with a warranty of at least a couple of years, for replacement.
As far as possible use bath mats matching the colour scheme of the bathroom. These should be washed and dried frequently. Do not use carpets as any drop of water makes them smell.
Lights are an integral part of bathroom design. There should be a light on the mirror in a small bathroom and two lights on the side of a mirror in a big bathroom.
Light points should be easily accessible , even in the dark.
There needs to be a light in the bathing area and one on top of the WC, rest depends on the space, a badly lighted area gives a dingy appearance.
Use of glass in homes has seen a rapid rise over the past few years. Earlier, it was used mainly in the window panes. Now, it adorns a dozen of items. It has, in fact, become a major item of consumption for which the home owner has to do carry out a thorough survey instead of simply assigning the job to a glass supplier on the telephone.
Different type of glass is used in different items of the house. The right choice of glass helps in adding to the 'wow' factor of the house. Let's first have a look at its use in the window panes of the houses:
Window panes: Largest consumption of glass in the house rests with the window panes. The size of windows has increased considerably these days. Most of the houses have windows with sill level just 6 inch above floor level and 8.5 feet as their top level. The glass used in windows is either simple float glass or toughened glass.
Thickness: Thickness of glass used in windows increases with the size of the window panes. Small-sized glass panes may be just 4 or 5 mm thick. For large-sized window panes, 8 mm thickness should be chosen. In houses, 8 mm thick glass panes look quite heavy and sturdy. For window panes of size up to 5 sq ft, one may choose 5 mm thick glass. For panels up to 40 sq ft size, 8 mm thick glass is sufficient. For bigger panes, one should choose 10 to 12 mm thick glass.
Float glass: Float glass used in windows is made by floating molten glass over a bed of molten tin. It is made perfectly flat and uniform in thickness. It has been used in window panes for decades. It is also called clear glass or flat glass. Though it breaks easily, it is used for window panes due to its cost effectiveness.
Cut to size: Whenever toughened glass is chosen for the windows, care has to be taken that the exact sizes of window panes are worked out and physically checked at site before the toughening of glass. Glass once toughened, can’t be cut or altered. Even its grinding is not possible. Therefore, the sizes of various window panes should first be noted from the drawings and then corrected by actual measurement of each window pane at site. No holes can be taken out in toughened glass.
Measurement: While noting down the measurements of glass panes for getting the glass cut to size and toughened, the width is noted first as a standard practice. A window pane of 4 ft width and 6 ft depth is noted as 4'X 6' and not as 6"X4". In plain glass sheets, it may not matter but in panes with designs, etching or painted surfaces, it may cause problems. When a list of dimensions is sent to the glass dealer, he’ll always take the first figure as the width not depth.
How to proceed: Once the exact size of each window pane is available, thickness of various panes should be decided depending upon their size. At the most, two or three thicknesses should be chosen. Most popular thicknesses are 5 mm, 8 mm and 10 mm. Next, the glass brand should be decided. A few very reliable brands are Saint Gobain, Modi guard, AIS and Asahi. Glass should be checked to be free of distortions, holes, cracks and bubbles. Normal glass panes of required sizes and thicknesses should now be drawn and sent to the industry for toughening. Toughening process normally consumes 15 days or so. Action to order for the glass should, therefore, be taken timely to avoid delay in its fixing at site. How to check: Toughened glass, which is so popular these days can't be checked without breaking it. And nobody checks it by breaking it. On breaking, it shatters into small particles instead of creating sharp and cutting angles. More toughened a glass is, the smaller will be the size of particles when it breaks. Toughened glass can withstand impact, shock and high temperatures.
Some physical checks: On toughening, the glass becomes a bit greener than the normal glass. It carries the stamp of 'toughened' and the name of the industry that toughens it in one corner of each pane. The glass toughening industry also furnishes toughening certificate if demanded by the customer. Edges of toughened glass are etched and it has slight warps or impressions in it due to its handling during toughening. These warps or impressions can be noted when viewed closely. Another check of toughened glass is that black lines can be viewed in it when viewed with 3D glasses.
Correct storage: Always keep the glass panes on their edges, in vertical position and resting against a support at a slight angle. These should never be laid flat on the floor or on a bed or any horizontal surface. If done so, these may soon develop cracks as the surface on which these are rested may not be exactly flat and may cause stresses in glass. It is better to let air to circulate between the sheets.
Cost difference: Toughened glass is about Rs 50 per sq ft costlier than the normal glass. If the cost of 8 mm thick normal glass is Rs 70 per sq. feet, the cost of 8 mm thick toughened glass is around Rs 120 per sq ft. Similarly, 5 mm thick toughened glass costs about Rs 80 per sq ft while the normal, 5 mm glass costs around Rs 30 per sq. ft.
Installation: Installation of toughened glass has to be carried out very carefully. Greatest care has to be taken of its edges. Edges of toughened glass have great stress and glass may shatter if the edges get damaged during installation.
Silicone fixing: Silicone is used these days for fixing of glass in window panes. Application of silicone in the window rebate should be uniform and sufficient. Glass panes are fixed in position with the application of silicone and then wooden beading is fixed outside it.