Among things that are quintessentially desi, things that make you say proudly ‘We are like that only’, is the concept of jugaad. The sublime art of making something out of close to nothing. As a nation, we are fascinated by jugaad. Something about it appeals to a collective frugal psyche we’ve inherited. So, why not put this superpower to use in our homes?
As urban spaces get ever more crunched and unaffordable, a lot of us don’t quite end up with the houses of our fantasies. But there’s nothing a little jugaad cannot fix! Learn how to glam up your less-than-perfect home and make it the stuff that interior decor magazines are made of.
Are you home rooms too small?
Living in a modest house does not mean you have to resign yourself to its cramped looks. You can truly do wonders with small spaces – the tiny house movement might never have caught on otherwise! Our quickest hack to make a small room look bigger – mirrors. A big, free-standing mirror placed against the wall can give your room a refreshing sense of space.
Another way to achieve a roomier effect is to paint the walls white and add drapes in a similar shade. Sheer drapes are particularly good for this purpose. You can also make use of furniture that can be expanded, and nested or wheeled away when not in use. And most importantly, remember not to stuff too much ‘stuff’ into a smallish room. Empty space makes for a great accent to your room, giving it a lighter look.
Is there little (or no) natural light in your home?
One of the best ways to up the appeal of your place is to let in plenty of natural light. However, for reasons numerous, you may find yourself in a dark den of a house that allows no light to creep in. How do you survive the gloom? Creative indoor lighting is the solution.
Harsh overhead lights are passe. The trick is to layer multiple light sources in your room – floor lamps, table lamps and focus lights. This creates pools of light that give your home an intimate feel. Floor lamps are very ‘in’ now. They lend so much warmth and character that you’ll soon wonder how you ever made do with just a tubelight. For some grandeur, suspend a pendant light or chandelier. This will also have the effect of drawing the eye upwards, thus giving an illusion of height.
Does your room feel lifeless?
What you need is a splash of green! There’s nothing that brings life to your living room like some well-placed plants. Succulents, ferns, money plants, peace lillies and even herbs thrive indoors. Don’t forget to put them in colourful, quirky planters. Not only does it instantly rev up your room, there’s also all the bonus oxygen at your disposal.
Or maybe your niggle is that your room feels a little too cataloguish? Almost as depressing as a shabby, cluttered home, is a home that looks like a hotel room. Make it personal by using a display case to tell your story. Arrange travel books, souvenirs, books, plants, photos and anything else that tells people who you are.
Big pieces of art can add tons of personality to a place too. Some mass-produced prints have a way of adding to the cookie-cutter effect. The trick is to hunt around and buy a piece that you actually feel a connection to, one that you can imagine looking at everyday.
Is your furniture starting to look shabby?
All furniture goes through a twilight zone. Not old enough to discard yet, but unsatisfactory nevertheless, because of faded upholstery, scratched surfaces or what-have-you. Don’t fret, be smart about it. Draw attention away from old furniture by adding a visual element to the floor or the walls. Tastefully layer some bright carpets online for some textural drama, and add wall decor of the spotlight-stealing variety.
Another great idea is to add new throw pillows over tired upholstery. There’s no sin a bunch of gorgeous new cushions or pillows can’t hide. You can also get slip covers to drape your old sofa in.
Or – let’s face it – are you just plain bored?
Perhaps there’s nothing wrong with your home, but you’re just tired of the sameness. All you need is some zing in your space. Chuck conventional upholstery choices and go for bright colors and bold prints. If you do not want to spend on upgrading your furniture, update your soft furnishing instead. Want to go even more low-budget? Get yourself some throw pillows and a vase full of the season’s freshest flowers!