A new year is fast approaching, and with it, the usual hard sell of current, modern lines of furniture, three piece suite sales and discounted kitchen sinks. If you’re planning a DIY project for the new year, it can be daunting to know which way to go, style wise at least. With such a huge array of products, online mood boards, and interior design themes totally obtainable at an online click, the first step is to make a decision and going with it. First, write down a list of your current favourites; whether your treasured accessories, wedding gifts, pieces of furniture, artwork or window dressings, your project doesn’t need to cost the Earth for a ground-breaking new look to make a positive start to the new year. This can give you a head start, and, with just a few tweaks – a coat of paint, some trendy re-purposed items, polished metals and a couple of statement furniture pieces – these can be all you need to ignite the spark to get your new year home décor project up and running.
Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or prefer to get the painters in, the bleak midwinter doesn’t have to be a disengaged whitewash. The ability to transform your city home in to a warm, inviting and opulent world away from the bitter winds and the unsightly grey outside your front door can work for every budget, with a little careful planning and imagination. If you aren’t getting away to hotter climates over the winter, injecting some cosy, luxurious sparkle can while away the winter blues.
Drawing inspiration from the British Empire’s colonial years, check out our style tips for adding some luxurious Indian-made, or Indian inspired style for your home.
Dark wood furniture and floors – Ebony, teak, and mahogany were originally used in flooring, furniture and shutters in colonial homes. Often quite costly, sanded floorboards can easily replicate this richness with a dark stain on pine. Indian art was heavily featured in the Great Exhibition of 1851 at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Queen Victoria was perhaps the most famous champion of Indian infused décor in the UK, even learning Hindustani, commissioning a room at Osbourne House in a colonial Indian style.
Light walls (white or pale colours) – Originally, walls were painted in light colour to keep the tropical colonial homes cooler. In design terms, light walls work best with the dark wood floors and bold furniture. The high ceilings, cornices and pendant lighting roses of London’s period properties can provide a perfect canvas for the addition of stunning, Indian inspired design flourishes.
The bespoke Indian made furniture based at Iris Furnishings offer a huge range of statement pieces. Their new ‘star’ range of mother of pearl inlaid furniture is finished to the highest quality of craftsmanship, and can be ordered in any painted colour. Their furniture ranges include large chests, tables, almirah cupboards and bedside consoles that are made from ethically sourced sheesham and mango wood. With a high-polished white metal range or inlaid camel bone – both equally decadent statements for any lounge or bedroom, while their charming carved wood or hand painted ranges with traditional flower and plant motifs have been dominant in Indian art since the reign of the 17th Century emperor Shah Mughal and the palaces of Rajasthan.
The addition of jewel colours and intricate statement furniture can work incredibly well in a listed building, with drapes, shutters and swags framing a room to give a colonial Indian theme reminiscent of the Victorian British Empire. Monochrome colour schemes such as this feature by Houzz uses the effortless chic of dark wood or even black finished shutters. Indian-inspired paisley patterns on cushions and tapestry look fantastic when blended with stunning neutrals, creams, black-framed artwork, faux-furs, while an additional texture of velvet iridescence caught by opulent lighting can finish the look with awesome results.
Tropical Inspired Accessories
A fun way to accessorise your sumptuous new room, the colonial style began to make exotically designed candlesticks, jewelry storage and even cake trays in the shape of trees, palms, pineapples, carved and moulded in golden resin and metal materials. Original pieces can still be found in antique shops, while Urban Outfitters and Oliver Bonas offer a few kitsch pieces at a fraction of the price. Silvers, bronzes and faux metal vases, teapots and tableware adds some of the opulent glitz any house-come-palace needs.
Woven Materials – Cane, Rattan, Bamboo
The natural colours of woven wooden elements provide a beautiful contrast when combined with dark furniture and floors. From lattice cane chairs, wall hangings, rugs and screens, these natural fabrics can offer light relief to the heavier fabrics, leathers and dark woods. Throughout the UK, cane furniture can be found in junk/thrift shops at a reasonable price and are more robust than it looks. Woven screens made from rattan, jute or sisal can be found, alongside light shades, rugs and even wallpaper – the lattice designs can all help to add texture to your home.