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It’s Now the Turn of Fine Home Design
July 7 2012 , 11:29 AM   #21
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Make a kitchen that rocks

'Heart is where the hearth lies', thus goes the age old adage. A must have for every household, the good old kitchen has now transformed into a fancy space brimming with smart solutions and trendy designs. No more labelled as a simple smoke-filled space used for cooking daily meals, the modern culinary space is a fusion of functionality and style and comes packed with fancy fittings and stylish appliances to become a connoisseur's delight.

Going beyond just cooking, the new-age kitchen is smart, trendy and occupies a place where utility supersedes every other aspect of design. In most urban households, making optimum use of the available space in kitchen is the key challenge. Contemporary kitchen with its good looking features, handy storage space and enough room is a multi-purpose space with something to interest each member of the family. However, certain things need to be kept in mind while deciding the preliminary design of the kitchen:

The various functions of kitchen such as housing utility spaces, a breakfast nook, small dining table, and desk space should be decided much in advance to avoid last-minute confusion. The effort should focus on having as much storage space as possible. Enough provision should be made for adequate light, both natural and artificial as lack of it will only make the kitchen look gloomy and drab. Various kitchen appliances as well as their sizes should also be selected in advance so that these can be incorporated while designing the kitchen surfaces and counters.

The Work Triangle

Being the most important aspect of designing, each kitchen configuration should incorporate the triangle rule to provide easy access within the work space. The three points of the work triangle include the sink, the cooking stove/hob and the refrigerator. Known as high traffic areas in the culinary space, the distance between each of them should not be more than 3 meters so that it easy to move from one station to another. Depending on the layout of the kitchen, the three points may lie on two or three different walls and in case of a small and narrow space these can be placed in a single wall.

With the onset of modular kitchen in the Indian culinary space both accessibility and cooking have entered a new dimension. Based on practicality, modular kitchen is a fully furnished space fitted with built-in sink, chimney, cabinets, hobs, shutters, shelves, pull-out units, refrigerators, dishwasher and ovens. Add fancy lights and fixtures and you have a kitchen that easily becomes a style statement for the proud homeowner.

However, carpenter-made kitchen counters and cabinets still remain popular and are increasingly becoming functional, comfortable and appealing to suit the taste of modern lifestyle. Nitin Agarwal, Managing Director, Prayag Polymers, a manufacturer of kitchen and bathroom accessories, says, "Modern kitchens strike a symphony between functionality, aesthetics and comfort. An array of smart and stylish appliances available in the market coupled with innovative design ideas makes it a complete multifunctional unit. Whether modular, contemporary or transitional in design, modern-day kitchen is the crowning glory of a home and can be customised to the homeowner's taste with the vast choice of materials and accessories available in the market." While choosing accessories Nitin advises to go for a classic white or stainless steel that matches any décor and remains unchallenged in design and style over the years.

Maximising space

Gone are the days when a random assortment of appliances and utensils were "scattered" in the kitchen. The new-age kitchens with handy storage space for food and utensils, sufficient space for accessories and appliances complete the modern look. While designing one needs to ensure that there is enough storage space for the household items that can't be stored anywhere else in the house. Using devices such as roll out shelves, lazy susans, D-trays helps maximise the available space. Overhead storage units extending till the roof, deeper counters and transparent glass shutters not only increase the storage space but also help create an illusion of more space. Using built-in appliances helps in optimum utilisation of space and lends a seamless flow to the kitchen.

Thanks to the development of modern concepts that draw on the best the field has to offer, companies other than design firms are also increasingly innovating solutions to promote clutter-free culinary space. Keeping in mind the tasteful household needs Usha Shriram Enterprise's latest offering of airtight containers BIOPKIPS has been specially designed to provide functionality and optimum stackability in the modern kitchen. "Understanding the evolving taste of Indian customers, we have ensured that the products enhance the visual appeal and showcase the best possible presentation on shelves and counters in the kitchen," says, Satnam Sandhu, Senior Vice-President, Usha Shriram.

Kitchens and beyond

The new-age kitchen goes beyond cooking and occupies a place where one can indulge in culinary pleasures, entertain guests, serve food and enjoy it all at the same time. A number of new home owners are going in for an open kitchen layout as the absence of any partition walls helps open up the room and provides more useable space.

However, as the system doesn't succeed much in the Indian set up, one should opt for an adjacent, small enclosed kitchen, which is just used for cooking. This also gives the benefit of being able to air-condition the kitchen area. The kitchen island or a portion of the kitchen counter may be designed to double up as a dining space which can become a space for the whole family to spend time together.

Kitchen has always been a favorable staple of our culture and will continue to rule the Indian household, just that it has got a swish makeover!

Go with the flow

Kitchens, whether large or small, must allow for efficient work flow and traffic and thoughtfully planned layouts result in a beautiful and efficient cooking area. Keeping the size and shape of the kitchen in mind goes a long way in deciding its layout. The various types of layouts one can consider while designing are:

U shaped: This layout is the most efficient layout for a kitchen. When not broken it provides the prospect and floor space for several simultaneous activities.

An L shaped layout is suitable for a large kitchen as it keeps the traffic out of the work space. Counters on just two adjacent walls result in free space in the centre of the kitchen that can be used for other purposes.

A G shaped layout works best for medium or large kitchens with a rectangular shape. It comprises counters on two adjacent walls with a peninsula like projection as the third surface. This helps to open up the narrow space, by not completely enclosing the work area.

Galley kitchens are long and narrow with work surfaces, appliances and storage along a single wall or two opposite walls. This layout enhances the appeal of small and narrow kitchens beautifully.

An island is an additional feature located in the centre of the kitchen and can be used in combination with any of the above layouts, if the space permits. This sort of layout serves the purpose of a workstation, additional storage, serving counter, dining space etc.

1) PERFECT PLACEMENT: Narrow kitchen space is jazzed up by having the cooktop and sink in a line. 2) Ample storage space and the use of built-in appliances increases functionality and 3) lends a seamless charm to the cooking area
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July 7 2012 , 11:34 AM   #22
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Monsoon proof your furniture

High humidity levels during the rainy season have an adverse effect on wooden furniture and cabinets in homes. Creaking furniture, damp sofas and smelly cupboards are common during this season. This is because moisture is the biggest enemy of wood. High moisture level leads to swelling of wood as humidity causes the growth of mould on wooden furniture. Temperature changes that cause expansion and contraction of wood cause cracks, raised grain and dull finish. In case wooden furniture is left out in the open or in moldy garages, loose joints and de-lamination may also occur.

There are multiple potential sources of moisture in a kitchen that could result in mold (fungi) growth. Leaky pipes, high humidity and cooking are just a few of these sources. Black mold can cause serious health problems for some individuals. However, mold can easily be prevented by eliminating the source of moisture.

Here are some tips to protect your furniture in monsoon season:

Avoid placing your fine wooden furniture near the windows, as exposure to rain can be harmful.

Cross ventilation is a must for it keeps the room dry.

Furniture undergoes a lot of stress due to change in weather/moisture/infrequent and continuous exposure to water. This may often result in opening of joints and de-bonding of laminates. Use a waterproof adhesive that protects furniture from de-bonding even when it is exposed to water.

Never use a wet cloth to clean your sofas or chairs as moisture makes sofas damp. Use a soft and dry cloth to clean them. In case of a fungal growth on sofas, dip a soft cloth into a mixture of a liquid antiseptic and tepid water and rub the infected area with it.

Always keep a dehumidifier in your room if you have pieces of antique furniture. It is imperative to use a specially formulated bonding adhesive in furniture, which is exposed to water or placed in high humidity areas, so as to lengthen its durability.

Wardrobes and cupboards should be kept a few inches away from the walls as the latter are damp in the monsoons. Place a few naphthalene or camphor balls in your wardrobe as they will absorb moisture. Neem leaves in cupboards are effective against silver fish, a common problem during rainy season. Cloves are an equally effective remedy.

Wooden doors generally tend to get jammed during monsoons. To make these easy to handle, fix a sturdy brass handle to your wooden door in the monsoons.

Wooden floorings should properly waxed (polished) as the moisture content in hardwood floors tends to make them warp.

Garden chairs that are nylon webbed or painted metal should be kept doors during the monsoons. It will prevent them from cracking or chipping of paint
Moisture and humidity are an ideal breeding ground for termites in furniture hence it is critical to pre-treat the furniture with an anti termite solutions.

Use waterproof plywood and adhesive in furniture to increase its durability.
July 8 2012 , 09:39 AM   #23
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Furniture trends have not only gone global but have also become more flexible

Furniture trends reflect a certain shift - while individuality reigns supreme, as it should, its acquires a bold expression in decor and design.

furniture trends have not only gone global but have also become more flexible

With people achieving a level of wealth and exposure that allows them to purchase and live with the finest of luxurious furniture, artwork, or furnishing , the established brands and manufacturers with custom capabilities are working to enhance their collections, so they're not only functional , but also decorative.

While some people are only happy if they are able to buy the most expensive home furniture and furnishings with the most prestigious label attached , there are ways that you can bring the look and feel of luxury into your home at a more digestible price tag, which is the current market trend reflected internationally.

What is the overriding style statement in furniture trends today can be summarised in one word: global. Taking into account influences from all over the world, furniture trends today are more flexible than ever and also, much simpler.

Taking international influences from every continent - Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, America - furniture trends today speak an international language.

The past few months have seen a resurgence of opulent living and a heightened interest in Baroque fixtures , bold design and an element of shine and sparkle in almost all product design.

Grandeur is most definitely fashionable and so is a return to luxury in living. Chandeliers , Swarovski crystals and other 'bling' products are finding their way into every home.

More and more designers say good-bye to minimalism and think that bright and stylish design is not everything we need to make a modern house, there must be a lot of accessories in order to make life more organised: big lamps, mirrors, layers, bright colours, offbeat and unexpected colour combinations are welcomed.

Combinations will be unpredictable and rather unusual, for instance , a soft and elegant chair with a rough textured wood on a coffee table and a bold patterned headboard in a bedroom would complete the look.

Contemporary isn't out of the game by any means and continues to be popular styles for upholstered furniture, where transitional elements help make the look dramatic "themed" rooms and designs are not welcomed anymore.

The metallic colours will definitely replace traditional black and white. Such tones as putty, stone and granite will make a breakthrough . These tones are really deep, versatile and promising. Nice change.

Since formal style interiors are decorated to attract the attention and possible envy of others, highly polished woods, glistening mirrors, luxurious and sensual fabrics , sparkling crystal and engraved centre tables in Italian marbles are unique and interesting pieces of furniture which are important today.

Neutral walls and fabrics look clean and neat in a room. But to really draw someone's eye, add a punch of colour with lime pillows, orange mats on black and white photos, a hand-painted piece of furniture , a Swarovski-studded ottoman. Just one interesting accessory or piece of furniture will help make the room spectacular.

Leather has always been and still is one of the most popular choices for upholstery, and these days, leather is especially stylish when used in collaboration with fabric.

Today, leather is often used in smaller doses, as an accent on wooden and fabric pieces. In all cases, furniture trends today support the mixed media expression.

Furniture trends have not only gone global but have also become more flexible - The Economic Times
July 12 2012 , 02:28 PM   #24
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Fine Homebuilding has expert advice on framing, trim carpentry, home design, and specialized trades with professional how-to videos, step-by-step projects and design. thanks for sharing the informative post.
July 12 2012 , 02:39 PM   #25
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Fine Home Design

It is time to design in less space area but more specious and attractive.
July 14 2012 , 10:56 AM   #26
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Language of light

Little Miss Sunshine now lives in your house and so does its many moods. Having revolutionised the home front for centuries, lighting has moved beyond incandescent and fluorescent to become the latest design accessory


Breaking away from the by lanes of functionality, home lighting has now taken the centre stage, providing options that not only add style to home décor but also dramatise the entire look of the house. Choosing lighting for a space has become more about appearance rather than function and as a result home owners are increasingly experimenting with the impact lighting can have on personalising a room. So, the ordinary bulb gets replaced by its more modern and upscale version and each space gets a customised lighting makeover. Options for a variety of fixtures, accessories and themes currently available in the market leave one spoilt for choice.

Once lighting is seen as an accessory that complements the overall design, it becomes easier to pick concepts that best suit a particular space. The trend currently is to follow a combination of natural and artificial lighting that defines space and creates a traditional-cum-modern look feels Thomas Johan, Senior G.M, Retail Operations and Institutional Sales, @home. “Lighting sets different moods and plays a vital role towards changing the mood and atmosphere of a space. Considered essential for its basic function and purpose at one time, lighting today has becomes an accessory by varieties and growing trend. As home styling becomes a trend to all classes and mediums, home lighting has gained tremendous importance as an intricate part of decor,” he says.

A bouquet of choices

An array of light fixtures or accessories available in the market today offer numerous options to suit one's taste and pocket. Ranging from the stylish LED lights and lamps to more energy-efficient products - some of which are environment friendly — one can choose from a plethora of options available. The decorative arena brimming with the good old chandelier along with its modern and sleeker version and lamps beaded with stones and crystals carry enough bling to satisfy a fashion-savvy customer. Another favourite riding up the popularity chart is natural light defined by scented and floating candles that come in different shapes and designs such as flowers, fruits etc. Giving company are the newly introduced designer fan lighting and fancy wall-mounted lighting fixtures that add a huge dollop of elegance to the room.

“There is not a single, unified trend or direction in today’s lighting options, other than making your home a unique expression of your personality,” says Parul Walecha, Executive Director of R.L Walecha and Associates, an interior designing firm based in New Delhi. “Meeting the needs of customers both aesthetically and functionally, lighting has become the easiest and the most cost-effective way to update interiors. Whether it’s a show-stopping chandelier or a quirky little lamp, a new fixture can freshen an entire room for a more dynamic and fashionable look,” she adds.

Let us take a look at some of the styles used to “highlight” the décor quotient:

Contemporary charisma

Personified by simple yet sophisticated finishes and forms, contemporary or modern lighting is a popular choice among today's discerning homeowners .Characterised by the complete absence of ornamentation, clean and uncluttered lines, the style can usually be seen in ceiling lights, pendant lighting and chandeliers cascading down the roof.

Transitional trance

With everything from eclectic to casual chic, the transitional style offers an unexpected combination of elements that work well with today's diverse lifestyles. Complementing both relaxed and formal decors, this style unites traditional and contemporary to create a classic, timeless design.

Metallic magic

The calming, cool look of metals is prevalent in contemporary interior design. These range from brushed nickel to antique bronze to iron. It's not important that all of the lighting fixtures match but that each compliments and works together with the other textures in the room.

Layered lighting

While designing a home's lighting scheme, the use of layers, including ambient, task and accent lighting throughout a room, lends a warm and inviting feel to the space. Dimmers are also increasingly becoming popular as they give inhabitants an ability to control light levels throughout their home.

Functional player

Various ways and lighting ideas can also be used to one's advantage. It is a known fact that yellow lighting provides a warm tone to the overall lighting and hence a cozy feel to the space in general. Therefore, it would be a perfect option to use in large spaces where one wants to provide a sense of warmth. Similarly, in a smaller space where one wants to add a sense of space or even to provide coolness to the atmosphere it is advisable to use white light for "the" effect. Similarly, instead of using one flat light source like a halogen lamp, it is always better to use mood lighting and break the space into smaller lit pockets in order to add drama to the entire setting. For this concealed lighting makes for a perfect light source. Arranged strategically the small LED lamps draw attention to smaller details or spaces (for e.g. a plant, a painting, and corner of the room, an artifact or even a bookshelf). Categorised as “enhancing lights” these usually work as mood setters and perform the same function as what probably a backlight would do for a portrait.

Growing avenues

The home decor market having grown three folds in the past few decades, offers both branded as well as imported products to the Indian customer. According to Johan, "Earlier the trend was only limited to a niche market but now as every home concentrates on decorative and essential lighting options, the market is only likely to grow providing home decorative lighting a wider base." Some of the players offering various lighting options in this category are Phillips, Surya Roshni, Havells, Keselec India etc. Home furnishing stores such as Nilkamal's Home, Hindware's Evok, Big Bazaar's Home Town, Lifestyle's Home Store and others also offer lights in both functional and decorative range. The price usually starting from Rs 250 and can go up to Rs 20,000 and even beyond.

Within a space, light accomplishes multiple functions. With umpteen lighting options available, it becomes important that the lighting concept reflects one’s style and becomes a unique expression of one’s personality. As one flat light cannot perform all the functions, it makes sense to put into use multiple light sources and fixtures to provide the home a perfect ambience and to do justice to one’s décor style. Remember, regardless of the design aesthetics, the right lighting concept can help bring any room together in a harmonious space.

LED lighting is the latest rage in the modern interior design circuit. Gone are the days of fluorescent or incandescent bulbs, and today, homeowners are increasingly focusing on beautiful fixtures that cut cost, last longer and save the planet. While LED solutions can highlight a product, create drama and interest they can also reflect mood and help in create a perfect environment for the whole experience.

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July 28 2012 , 07:44 AM   #27
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How green is my wall

Want a dash of nature in room? Check out the latest trend of having living or bio walls within homes and add life to your decor

Open green spaces have been a part of the Indian lifestyle since ages, be it the Char-bagh system, which was introduced by the Mughals or the British bungalows surrounded by huge gardens. Although private green spaces could only be owned by the wealthy, public green spaces were also prevalent and were used for leisure, as meeting places and even as venues for open markets.

Today, the increase in population in the urban areas has resulted in reduced green cover within city limits. With the advent of high-rise dwellings and requirement for optimum utilisation of the built-up area, residential green areas have been compromised with. From a psychological point of view gardens and parks are soothing and relaxing spaces which allow a person to unwind. Thus the importance of such spaces increases manifold given the high-stress lives that most people lead nowadays. So no wonder that green spaces are fast becoming as part of the home décor or interiors. With the materials and techniques available today, it is possible to have green areas within a house or an apartment even if there is very little space.

Besides having pots or planters scattered within a house or a roof-top garden, there is another innovation which has made it possible to bring natural beauty within a home. This is the concept of "Green walls or Living walls".

This is essentially a vertical planting system in which walls can have anything from grass to flowers growing on them. These bio walls can be developed inside a building or even outside it.

There are several options for the system of installing green walls. The selection of the system to be installed depends upon aspects like:

Nature of the wall on which the system is to be installed i.e. whether it is a load bearing, non- load bearing or a fabricated wall.

Area of green wall to be installed.

Choice of vegetation to be planted.

The most common installation systems consist of directly fixing pre-fabricated modular panels on load-bearing walls. This system is slightly cheaper than the others as no additional structure or support system is required.

Another system entails fixing of a combination of foam planting material and a wire mesh on a wall. The wire mesh provides additional support to the installation and this system is used in cases where the installation is vertically extensive.

In the case of fabricated walls horizontal support members are required
to be installed on which the prefabricated panels may be fixed.

Once installed, the various components of the system as completely hidden by the planted vegetation.

One of the major misconceptions about green walls is that they require soil in order to be propagated. This is not the case as suitable mineral solutions are used to provide the plants with the necessary nutrients. The foam base keeps the vegetation constantly supplied with the solution.

The best part about having a green wall is that it does not occupy any additional floor area but instead provides a vertical garden within a room. There is a wide choice in the kind of vegetation that can be grown with such a system. It includes grass, creepers, flowers, lichens, moss, crotons, ferns etc. Landscape design may be done for these living walls which can convert them into an interesting and attractive feature in the interior of the house.

Some specialised green wall systems have also been devised to cultivate kitchen gardens.

There are other benefits as well of a green wall such as the fact that they provide insulation and contribute in regulating the air temperature within a room. They also help in improving the quality of air within a building by purifying it and controlling the humidity levels.

Essentially, living walls help to bring the beauty of green spaces within the house and are a wonderful solution in a small space, especially for those who yearn for a garden of their own within a flat or an apartment.

Making a bio-wall

The various components required for the installation of a green wall are:

Waterproofing membrane.

Support structure (if required).

Pre-fabricated panels or planting medium.

Drip irrigation or mist irrigation system.

Suitably designed drainage to collect any run off.
August 4 2012 , 01:08 PM   #28
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Get a chic

Personal retreat Make your bedroom an oasis of comfort, calmness and luxury

With space having become a luxury, the craving to a have a ‘place’ that resonates in perfect harmony with one’s lifestyle has become even more compelling in the current scenario.

Often called the heart of a house, bedroom is one place where senses get rejuvenated and worries melt away. Various elements, styles and trends go into making the bedroom a perfect personal space. Although new trends in bedroom design often echo those in the fashion world, a careful selection of colours, textures finishes and materials can add character and individuality to a room that is a haven for comfort and serenity.

Talking about how bedrooms have suddenly become a crucial part of the home décor, garnering as much attention as the living rooms, Sachin Sehgal, Director, Studio a+i, a New Delhi-based interior designing firm, says, “Earlier with limited resources experimentation of interior design was mostly confined to the living room. However, with the changing times and rising income levels, the demand for luxury living and style has risen tremendously and this desire is reflected in bedrooms being viewed as exclusive zones of comfort and luxury.”

However, an important aspect that is often missed by home dwellers is that a fine balance between aesthetics and functionality should be maintained as it can make any space more conducive to the flow of positivity. “A bedroom must cater to the basic human needs such as enough natural light and good ventilation, and at the same time incorporate elements to create an aesthetically superior ambience,” adds Sehgal.

A mélange of ideas

As bedroom is the second place after workspace where one spends the maximum time in a day, it becomes the only ‘personal space’ where one can feel at home. Suggesting ways to dish up an eclectic mix, Sehgal says, “A surefire way to achieve a highly personal bedroom is to create uniqueness by cleverly mixing styles and periods. For example a sleek contemporary dresser topped with a beautiful Venetian mirror will not only enliven the room but would also exemplify style and capture uniqueness.” The right use of various elements and style reflects good taste and artistic sense.

Colourful hues

Colour being the most important aspect in bedroom décor, sets the pace for the drama to unfold and plays a key role in creating the desired mood. Choosing the right colour is half the battle won. If it is the ‘easy-on-the-eye feel’ that you desire, then pastels are the right shades for you. Pastel shades not only soothe the senses but also allow for a more meditative atmosphere. In order to make the space more inviting, energetic and fresh, a range of electric colours can be splashed across the walls setting cheerful tones. One can even use colour selectively to create an illusion of space.

Bed bliss

Another vital aspect of bedroom decor is the choice of furniture. A huge variety of beds available in the market today promise ultimate comfort and unmatched quality. An ottoman can be cleverly placed at the base of the bed and it can further double up as a storage space.

The bed headrest should be comfortable, especially if you prefer to read in the bed. The headboard being the most important feature of a bed together with its shape and size can totally transform the overall look of a room. According to S.K Malhotra, Director, Sales & Marketing, Springfit, “A wall-mounted headboard allows the mattress to sit underneath without creating a gap between the mattress and the wall. One should opt for straight headboards clad in leather and fabric as these not only work better than wood but also lend a more spacious look to the bedroom. Changing headboard is also a fun way to change the entire look of the bedroom without spending a fortune.”

Mattress magic

It is well known that good sleep is integral to having a refreshed mind. Therefore, a good mattress is indispensable to a comfortable bedroom. Interestingly, the trend of selecting quality and medically approved mattresses such as spring or memory foam rather than coir or simple foam mattress has caught the fancy of the new age health-conscious customers, says Ashok Sharma, CEO and Director Spring Air India. “The foremost role of a mattress is to provide ultimate comfort and superior body support. A good mattress is like a good doctor. A mattress should provide equal distribution of body weight and pressure. Very hard or very soft mattresses with unequal pressure can disturb sleep and cause pain and stiffness, so a mattress must be chosen very carefully,” he adds. Orthopedic or Europedic mattresses are also being preferred nowadays to get that luxurious sleeping experience.

Funk and punch

Several other ways can be employed to make the bedroom a reflection of one’s personality. Bringing in new accessories such as aromatic candles, unique artifacts, adding plenty of photographs or re-upholstering traditional chairs in contemporary fabric can give the room an eclectic punch.

Carpets and rugs can also be used to add a splash of colour to the bedroom.

Flooring available in different shades and textures such as bamboo, laminate, linoleum or wooden can be chosen depending on the type of style and design that one envisages for the room.

Painting furniture bought from the flea market in bright colours or metallic finishes can also add oodles of funk to the entire setup. Using fresh linen, fancy bolsters and curtains or blinds that go with the décor of the room are other things to consider.

Market mantra

Having witnessed an upsurge in home décor interiors in the past few years, the market is brimming with products that provide stylish solutions at affordable prices. As Sehgal puts it, “Doing up the bedroom doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It just has to represent what one wants from the room.” The availability of accessories and decorative items at furnishing stores such as Home Town, Home Store, Evok, @Home has led to home decor items gaining a wider base.

With items such as vases, designer candles and candle holders, trendy lamps, cushions and throws in rich fabrics, decorative boxes, beautiful mirrors, photo frames etc, people now have a chance to turn their bedrooms into more inviting and cozy places to be in.

Ideas that work

Alluring Accent: Use decorative pillows and cushions to create a delightful accent in the room. Pile your bed high with pillows and cushions using a variety of sizes and styles, colours and patterns. Layered pillows give a lush feel to any bedroom.

Add Floral Fragrance: Candles serve a dual purpose as an accent item. Scented floral candles can be used to add a splash of colour and fragrance in the room. The judicious use of potpourri can give the room a perfect finishing touch.

Use Natural Neutrals: Decorating the bedroom with neutrals can help you achieve a new look everytime. Change comforters, pillows and pictures to easily achieve fresh look and colour schemes on a regular basis.

Create Space: Colour is the key to create space. Use cool light colours — whites, blues and greens to make the walls apparently recede. Another trick to help your space look larger is to paint the moldings to match the walls. Keep things clutter free to make the most of your livable space.

Mix Fun Ideas: Personalise your room to add your individualistic style to the décor. Instead of a picture, gather small mementos around a theme and display them in a shadow box like a few of your collectibles from your college days etc that serenade you with warm memories each time you see them.

Contemporary Charisma: Use neutrals with nice accent colours such as a muted navy to accomplish a contemporary look. The idea is to stay crisp and clean. Florals don’t belong in this look. Go for minimum clutter to flaunt this stylish look.

Romantic Retreat: There is nothing as delightful as a bedroom that invites romance. Have soft lighting available and think plush — with lots of pillows and fabrics to give tactile pleasures. An excellent sound system with speakers discreetly tucked around the room will envelope you with mood-setting music. Use colours on the softer side which appeals to you personally. Surround yourself with luxury to create a perfect romantic retreat.
August 4 2012 , 01:13 PM   #29
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Not lost in the 'woods'

The selection of good quality wood at affordable rates is one of the biggest concerns of a home builder right from the day one of construction. Wood has become extremely costly these days and to add further to the woes of a buyer, hundreds of varieties of wood are available in the market. A house builder often finds himself at sea when it comes to choosing the right variety as to a layman all varieties appear to be the same. The main concern in such a situation is that even after paying through one’s nose one is not sure of having got the right wood. Here are some guidelines which may help the house builder in making the right selection:

What to look for?

Four factors should be kept in mind while selecting the wood for your house.

The wood shouldn’t warp with changing seasons and the doors and window shutters should open and close smoothly,.

The wood shouldn’t be prone to termite or insect attack.

The wood should add to the beauty of the house through its grains and texture.

It should be affordable.


The woods used these days are: Teak, Deodar, Sal, Kail, Hollock, Champ, Tahli, Chir, Red Meranty, Yellow Meranty, Pine, Mango, Ivory Coast, Maple, White Ash, Steam Beach, White Cedar, Burma Teak, Rose Wood, Sudan Teak and a few others. Among these, teak further has a few varieties like MP teak, CP teak, Panama teak and Burma teak. MP teak, undoubtedly, is the best. It is also called Nagpur teak. But it has become very costly and has gone beyond the reach of a common man. One has to, therefore, make a choice from the rest of varieties keeping one’s budget in view.

Technical classification

Technically, wood is classified into four categories, called a, b, c and d. Category ‘a’ wood is of the best quality. Teak falls under this category. Deodar wood falls in ‘b’ category. It also has become very costly and is hardly available these days due to a complete ban on the felling of deodar trees in HP and J & K. All hard woods other than teak, also called non-coniferous woods or hard woods are placed under ‘c’ category. And coniferous woods or soft woods fall in ‘d’ category. Woods under ‘c’ category are used the most these days.


MP or Nagpur teak further has three grades. These are Superior grade, First grade and Second grade. It is difficult for a common man to judge the grade of teak wood and one has to rely on the dealer’s word. CP teak means Central Province teak. Its quality is slightly inferior to that of the MP teak. Both these woods occupy the top bracket in the wood quality. Burma teak is an imported wood and that is why it costs more than even MP teak. If one can afford to buy any of these teak woods and gets a genuine lot then he has made the best deal for his house.

African connection

Ban on deforestation has resulted in non-availability of good quality wood in India. These days, most of the wood used in houses is imported from the African countries. The wood imported from the Ivory Coast, a country on the South coast of West Africa, is known as Ivory Coast wood or ivory teak. The last decade has seen its extensive use in housing in India. Now, the produce from country almost stands exhausted and the focus has shifted to Sudan. Wood imported from Sudan is called Sudan teak. Both, Ivory teak and Sudan wood are hard woods and are quite suitable for use in homes if the lot purchased is ensured to be of good quality.

Other imports

Meranty, Champ, Sal and Arau are the varieties imported from Malaysia. Pine wood and White Ash wood are imported from Denmark. White and Red Oak is imported from Australia. Pine wood is imported from Australia also. There are other woods imported from USA, Canada and Nepal. But while buying it is better to restrict one’s choice to the tested and known few.

The cost factor

Burma teak costs about Rs 2,700 per cubic foot these days. MP teak costs Rs 2,500 to Rs 2,700 per cft. CP teak costs Rs 2,200 per cft. Ivory Coast and Sudan teak are in the range of Rs 1,800 to Rs 2,100 per cft. Champ and Hollock wood cost around Rs 1,400 per cft. The cost is not fixed and varies depending upon the size and length of logs or sleepers and the quality of the lot.

Additional costs

There are a few additional costs which should be sorted out with the supplier before finalising the deal. In addition to the cost of wood, cost of sawing the logs or sleepers into the required sizes is charged by the supplier. Normally, this cost is Rs 15 to Rs 20 per cubic foot. Then there are loading, unloading and transportation charges. Whether the taxes are included or not in the rate finalised should also be decided. The tax imposed is 12.5 per cent and it raises the per cft cost considerably.

The size matters

The bigger the size or diameter of the sleeper or log, the better is the quality of the wood. The price also depends on the length of the logs and sleepers as the longer ones cost more. The suppliers classify different-sized sleepers of the same wood and charge different rates for them. Bigger size means more age of the wood and more rings in it. Such a wood has least percentage of white and soft wood in it. The size of a wooden log is represented by its circumference. A ‘51 up’ wood log means the one having a circumference of more than 51 inches.

Size & size

Two types of sizes are involved while buying wood. One is the size of the wooden logs or sleepers which are noted to determine the quantity of wood purchased. The other is the size required by the buyer as per the sections and size of doors and windows of his house. Ask your architect to work out the cut-sizes required to manufacture the doors and windows. Take these sizes to the supplier. From these cut sizes, his man shall work out the size of sleepers or logs required by you so that minimum wastage of wood is caused.

Physical features

While selecting the logs or sleepers, see that the selected pieces are dark in colour, having minimum of whitish wood in them. Also see that these have no knots or cracks in them. No sap should be coming out of any log nor should any worm holes be visible in the wood. Try to smell the wood. It should smell sweet. The grains should be straight and distinctly visible.


The measurement of the quantity of wood purchased should be done very carefully. All logs or sleepers should be numbered. The length, breadth and thickness of each sleeper should be carefully noted. In case of logs, their circumference at minimum girth point and the length should be noted. While the supplier’s man takes note of the measurements, buyer’s man should separately note all the measurements. Later, the two sets of measurements should be compared and differences, if any, should be sorted out by re-measurement.
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August 11 2012 , 08:55 AM   #30
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Providing attractive interiors is, no doubt, a daunting task, especially when one encounters certain problem areas. Decorating corners is a tricky deal as in most cases aesthetics and functionality have to be combined keeping in mind the overall décor of a room or home. Playing with contrasts in corners can prove to be suicidal if one is not careful enough. But at the same time it is these little nooks that can make innovative ideas bloom like nowhere else. Well as a person decorating home, you can get “cornered” in your living room, kitchen, dining area, lobby and even in bathroom. When it comes to do something to corners in these areas one generally gets stuck about how to make these more creative and out-of-the-box.

This wrought iron corner piece placed in the dining room matches the straight lines of the space in a functional way

In most of the Indian homes you will find corners occupied with a table, a vase or nothing at all. But there are many more creative things that can be done and make these interesting areas of our house.

Display focus area

Turn your void house corner into a display focus area that includes a nice huge hanging or standing lamp that has a reflection on to rest of the room or even a nice huge candle stand that can grab attention.

Nature's call

It's always good to be close to nature and have freshness around. House corners are really good to keep a nice indoor plant which will make you feel more close to nature and also keep the freshness and positive aura around.

Utilise the space

Storage is a major problem in flats and apartments and corners can be used to mitigate your storage concerns. Angular book shelves or wall-mounted trendy cabinets with ornate front panels can be picked up to store knick knacks.

My space

If there is a tricky corner in your bedroom or lobby place a customized rocking chair and a small cabinet/ rack of books or anything that interest you to turn it into a cosy retreat to indulge in your hobbies and relax or read and rejuvenate.


Hang around

The most common way to showcase the decorative items is to put right angle shelves in the corners and place a decorative piece on it. Let's make it more playful, alive and add newness to it. Time to get out of the rigidness of shelves to more alive and playful options of hanging it. A corner that has a hanging fixture shelf at different height which can hold the items stably and at the same time give the hanging look at one corner of the room showcasing the decorative items.

Magic of colours

Colour adds a very lively environment to the space. Keeping that in mind create an attractive corner space by using different colours and painting or pouring different colours on the wall which will make you feel lively and happy whenever you will look at it.
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