Tuesday, 27 May 2014


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Typically the decor of a house is characterized by the soft furnishing used. It is the soft furnishings that lends the color and cheer, underscores the richness of the display. Even the most mediocre of furniture can come alive when accentuated by a lively and rich fabric.

The array of soft furnishings available is mind boggling, with multiple hues, rich fabric and fabulous designs marking their varieties.The kind of soft furnishing to be use depends on the nature of the furniture on display, its colors and how expensive it is.Soft furnishing encompasses the fabric used for the seating arrangement. The cushions thrown on them, rugs and curtains on display.

Budget  Constraint
If  the interiors are done up on a budget constraint, an intelligent choice of furniture would be cane. The cane furniture has however, both high end as well as low end varieties.The Indian cane is the cheapest and will suit a very tight budget. To camouflage the cheapness of the furniture, cushions in striking colours like shocking pink can be used.

Says Interior Designer  Aarti Sud, “Even the cheapest of furniture can be made to look fabulous by using gorgeous upholstery and striking colors. An ethnic painting with a good quality frame would accentuate this effect further.”

Instead of woolen carpets, durries can be used, as they are cheaper and also easy to maintain. Jute blinds can be used for curtains as they “complement the cane and add to the ethnic look.The trick is to use deep colours for cheap furniture, says Aarti Sud, “Contrasting cushions  such as in pink, gold, blue and contrasting durries in three to four shades against a white or cream coloured wall would give a rich look to the setting. Here, the entire picture is set by the soft furnishing used rather than the furniture.”

The magic of   wood
Wood suits a mid-sized budget very well. With complementing wooden accessories, the setting is best accentuated when colours like gold, maroon, navy blue and rust are used for the fabric. Paintings too look better against this background when covered with gold frames.Woollen  carpets are ideal for this setting. “Durries will be out of place here as the wood has a rich look and needs a rug that complements it”, says Sud.

Instead of silk for curtains, poly silk can be used as they fall well. “Silk is expensive and would blend well with a high-end decor that includes a leather and antique setting,” she says. She suggests combining this with sheers to enhance the setting. “Sheers come in machine embroidery too and they add to the richness.”If floral printed sheers are to be used, she advocates restricting to sheers alone. “This gives a floral look besides saving on the curtains.”
Leather and antique furniture forms the top-end segment, with leather on most occasions being of the imported variety. The soft furnishing used here is certainly of the high-end collection with mostly silk marking the fabric.“The leather sofas mostly opted for in a living room is of the cream. White or green range and this is heightened by using an assortment of silk cushions, complemented by silk rugs.Occasionally a silk throw in attractive colours further enhances this rich look,” says Sud.

When there are two or more seating arrangements that need to be segregated, they can be done so by using a silk screen instead of wood. “This adds colour to the section.” She says.Says Interior Designer Ranjit Naik, “whatever be the choice, it is important to blend the colours and fabric well. The decor has to blend with the scheme of things, ensuring aesthetics as well as functionality.”

According to him, currently, there are plenty of fabrics that look and feel like the real thing, but is imitation and suits a tight budget.  Thus, if you aspire to have leather seating, but cannot afford one, “you could go for imitation leather or use poly fabrics that look like silk.”To cater to the budget constraint, he also advocates the use of local products such as jute, Khadhi “which are cheaper but lend a very ethnic look.

If these are used appropriately, in a concept, the effect can be stunning. And their prices are extremely reasonable.” He points to the banana fibres and hyacinth used in chattais to reiterate his point.“If the material is used effectively, even the cheapest can be made to look classy,” he says.When it comes to bedrooms, care should be taken to match the colours used for the bedspreads with the curtains, cushions and upholstery for the sofas in the lounge area. “If the colours are not used well, it can be jarring to the eye,” says Sud.

If the wood used for the bed is dark, it is better to use light shades for the soft furnishing. Alternatively, light colour wood like pine would look good against bold colours. Even the mirror frames, dressers, entertainment unit should be in harmony with these colours. It is best to use neutral shades for the bedside lamps.

The choice of rugs would depend on the kind of bed used. An expensive four poster bed would necessarily require a silk rug while a metal bed would fuse very well with durries.Whatever be the choice, the colours once again should match the bedding and rest of the room.If the bedroom is small in size, it would be ideal to use lighter colours, as it would make the room look bigger and brighter. A larger room would fit well with dark colours, lending a cosy look to it.

It is best to avoid silk in a bedroom, as the fabric should be easy to maintain. “The wash and wear variety is more practical here, especially form the hygiene point of view,” says Aarti. She advocates cotton as the best fabric as “synthetic too can cause allergy for some.”

Wall to wall carpeting in a bedroom is strictly not to be done as “it collects dust, can cause allergy and is not hygienic.” It is best to use small rugs beside the bed, in the entertainment unit and where ever necessary. When it comes to children's bedroom, “cottons in floral and check design are ideal,” she says. Durries are most practical as they can be “washed frequently”.


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