Sunday, January 23, 2011

Give your home a smart makeover

Buying a dream house, it seems, is an easier task than converting that house into a dream abode. The right seating and lighting arrangement , the right colour of the fabrics, the comfort factor... the list just goes on and on. No wonder then that the Indian middle class is spending a lot of its time and money on renovating homes.

However, many would confess that the task is not an easy one. “After running around for locating a house and securing a loan, we thought doing up the house would be a small task. We already had the colour scheme in mind – actually , we picked it up from the hotel we stayed during a holiday. However, the colour just wouldn’t work for our house because of the lack of sunlight,” says Shilpa (surname with-held ). “We spent a lot of money and we had to put up with the stuff for around three years. We invited very few people home during the period,” she adds. Now, you know why certain neighbours would never open their doors completely or invite you over.

Keep it simple :

The house in that glossy magazine or your favourite holiday resort may have looked stunning. But imitating the same design won’t get you the same results. For example, space is a big issue in many large cities, especially in Mumbai. So, rule number one in doing up your home is to keep it as minimal and simple as possible. Says Sanjay Puri, prinicipal architect, Sanjay Puri Architects, “You must stick to a minimal design for your house. Most houses in Mumbai are small. Keeping that in mind, you should not spend too much on storage, and other things. Have lesser number of elements in your home. That way, you will be able to give your home a spacious look and also it will help you save money,” he adds. That tip should stop people about to clutter their homes with stuff they have seen in western interior magazines .

Draw up a Budget :

Sure, you can already picture the house after it goes for a makeover? That’s a good sign. At least you know what you want. But how about your wallet? Do you know much it would cost to make it look like a Devdas set? Sort of, right? That’s not good enough, you must have a figure in mind. This is because once you have a figure in mind, you will be able to pick stuff that will stay within budget. For example , you can redo your bathroom for a lakh or a few thousands. It is entirely up to you. Also, having a budget ensures that you don’t overspend on a particular section. For example, if you have already overshot your budget doing up the drawing room, then you may have to break your deposit or liquidate your investments to do up your bedroom.

“Most people start renovating their home without having a proper plan in place. Many of my clients come to me confused. They do not know what they want,” says interior decorator Tina Dharamsey . She offers an example: “When it comes to finishings, they don’t know whether they want a sunmica finish or a laminated finish. There is too much of trial and error. That way you end up wasting too much money.”

How to draw up a Budget :

Don’t blow up your savings doing up the house. Remember , you may want to redo it in the next five years. Two, don’t borrow heavily just to beautify the house. Borrowing large amounts can be justified only if your house needs urgent work to make it inhabitable.

Avoid a theme :

Often people tend to replicate a theme they have seen somewhere . However, experts are of the view that you should never have a fixed theme for your home. The problem with a fixed theme is that you would then have to get all the artefacts according to the chosen theme.

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