Before you start making decisions about decorating your home or buying furniture and equipment, take a good, long look at your lifestyle. For example, are you living solo or with a partner? Do you have a young family or teenage children? However, this is the time to imagine perfect solutions and ideal environments. At this stage you can be as aspiring as you like. Consider your personality – are you out going and gregarious? Will you be doing your own cooking or mostly eating out? Are you a fitness fanatic with exercise equipment and special clothes to find room for? Are you a romantic who loves scented baths and satin bed sheets? Do you want to luxuriate in a king-size bed? All these things will affect how you arrange and furnish your home. This is the moment to think about who you are and how you’d like to live.
Assesing your Needs: The way you’d like to live
Throughout the centuries many different design styles have evolved, most of which have survived in some form as models for today’s interiors. It’s worth spending some time pinpointing your preferred style so that your home will have a coordinated look, as this:
“You may not realize how much time you spend in your home. The hospitable will want a home that is welcoming, with a carefully organized layout that creates a feeling of spaciousness, not how small”
There is a large choice here, from the timeless English country look, to Gothic, American country and colonial, French provincial, and Victorian. You could be specific and go for a retro 1930s style such as Bauhaus or Art Deco, or embrace the general timeless country look of floral chintzes.
The furniture in all these styles is usually simple, beautifully made, and of wood, the chairs and settees plumply upholstered. They may have loose covers, or have “throws” draped over them.
Use of space relies on a careful but informal arrangement of good quality furniture and fabrics, seemingly causal but carefully thought out.
“You will want your home to be both efficient and pleasant, with a generous feeling of space and a high level of comfort”
Modernist is an uncompromising style that won’t mix or match easily with traditional styles. Its simplicity and restrained look, fitting in well with today’s rather fast pace of life and smaller interiors, is the core. It’s summed up well by the phrase “less is more”
Furniture shapes are strikingly simple, often surprisingly comfortable, but not usually upholstered. Leather-covered sofas in boxy shapes, and stark industrial materials such as tubular steel furniture and glass tables are the appropriate for this look.
Objects such as television sets, music systems, records and books are all hidden away. Pictures and other decorative objects are displayed one at a time, if at all. In fact there are no unnecessary bits of furniture, curtains, or objects on show.
Rural styles are based on timeless peasant or country styles that have evolved from local vernacular architecture, materials, and craft skills.
Simple furnishings rely on color and handcraftsmanship using local materials such as wood or rattan and cane, or woven rugs such as kilims laid out on the floor or used as cushion covers for seating.
Nothing is fitted. In many of these rural areas much of life is spent outside, so furniture is sparse. There are open shelves in the kitchen and the rooms are usually small, so the less furniture the better.
This is often based on the fairytale interiors produced in the movie world. Materials are plush, shiny, slinky, and expensive. Curtains are lined, ruche, swaged, and heavy. Beds are mostly king sized and carpets inches deep. Ornate mirrors reflect and enhance the overall effect of sumptuous unreality.
There is no particular style for the furniture as long as it’s large, imposing, and probably leather-covered.
The bed should not only be big enough for a giant but also covered in silk or satin.
Since the whole look is designed to present the unattainable, the size of the rooms is usually enormous. Luckily mirrors are a great part of this look and they can be used to enhance the size of even smaller rooms, particularly when carefully placed to produce never-ending reflections.
Hany Saad is one of the rising stars of the Egyptian Interior scene. He will reveal his secrets in a monthly column. Mail your inquiries to: email@example.com mentioning Hany Saad in the subject line.