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Edition 17

Inspiring living room designs to savour

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It is often refreshing to have a living room design that suits you. Many Kenyan interiors enthusiasts are either building, have homes, or are aspiring to do so. One of the outstanding rooms that require a lot of attention is your living room space. How you design it and make it livable is entirely up to you. But here at Ideal Interiors, we want to offer you ideas that could literally give you a good head start before you make your choice on what design goes into your living room.  By Oliver OWUOR

White living rooms

What better way to decorate your living room than with lovely shades of white? Vary a white colour scheme with various shades of off-white, cream and pale grey for a beautiful backdrop that lends itself to many different styles.

For a beautifully romantic look, decorate walls with an off-white wallpaper in a classic design such as a trailing-leaf pattern, then add linen curtains at the windows to allow soft light to filter into the room.

Choose linen-covered sofas and it would be wise to buy a sofa and armchairs with removable slipcovers that can be easily cleaned.

Add a painted chest of drawers as an elegant way to store everyday items. A white chandelier will lend a feminine feel to the room.

Coastal style and white colour schemes go hand-in-hand. Achieve this laid-back look by starting with fresh white painted walls and pick nautical fabrics such as ticking and deckchair stripes for upholstery, cushions and blinds.

White can work throughout the seasons, too. The key to a perfectly snug winter-white look is to warm up white with layers of neutral shades such as cream, beige and brown. Think cosy fringed throws on the sofa, plump cushions and a gorgeous wool rug that you will want sink in to.

Rustic living rooms

Depending on the layout of your home, a rustic living room can serve many different functions. If you have a separate family room, your living room is often a formal sitting area or parlour used for reading, relaxing and entertaining guests.

If it’s the only living space you have, it’s probably also used for watching TV, playing games and spending time with family. As you start your mountain style living room remodel, think about space’s desired purpose — is it going to have a more formal feel or will you aim for a more low-key setting? Regardless of its intent, any good space should have a few staple items, such as a comfortable sofa, a coffee table of some sort, and a focal point, like a fireplace or entertainment centre.

You will no doubt need some seating options, which can range from small accent chairs to a big roomy sectional. Be careful of cramming a too-large sofa into a too-small space — it’s tempting to go big, but sacrificing walking paths or potential storage space is not always worth it. Definitely have enough seating for those living in the house, plus an extra seat or two for the occasional guests.

A place to put down drinks or snacks, like side tables or a coffee table, is a must. If you have the depth for it, an ottoman or coffee table where people can prop their feet up is always a welcome addition, but skip out on this if the living room is on the narrow side and go for a deeper sofa instead.

Contemporary living rooms

When it comes to contemporary living room decor, there are really no hard-and-fast rules. You’ll want it to be a space that makes your family and guests feel comfortable but is also functional for day-to-day living.

Most people have a tendency to go super neutral or boldly colourful, but be careful of going overboard with either. If you go with neutrals for the big items, like sofas, armchairs and ottomans, then go a bit bold with contemporary decorative accessories — that way, you can easily swap out the small things when a new colour scheme is in order.

Likewise, if you want your sofa to be a statement piece then scale back the decor so they don’t fight for attention.

Don’t forget about the mid-sized items, like rugs and curtains, which can double as functional and decorative when done right. Lighting is also an important feature to consider when decorating a contemporary living room. Do you have the ability to do overhead lighting, or will you need to use table and floor lamps?

Either one can be design features in themselves, as well as putting the spotlight on other decors you want to showcase. Position lighting in accordance to any art you want to illuminate and remember to have a well-lit spot for reading-related activities.

You can also change the light of the space by the paint colour you choose; a room with little natural lighting will benefit from a light and airy colour, while one with plenty of sunlight may have more leniency in colour choice.

Eclectic living rooms

Living rooms were originally intended to act as sophisticated settings for hosting and entertaining, while family rooms were used for more casual, everyday activities, like lounging, playing or watching TV.

However, many homes today will only have one larger room that acts as both an entertainment and primary living space. If yours is the former, you’ll likely be utilizing it as an eclectic sitting room to have drinks and good conversation with guests, without distractions like television.

A bar cart, formal furniture and an eye-catching focal point, such as a sophisticated fireplace and mantel, will help achieve this look and feel.

On the other hand, if it’s your primary living space it should see more daily use, often functioning as a TV room, complete with sofa sectional, media console and gaming spot (that cleans up nicely for guests, of course!).

In the end, think about your needs; after all, a family with small children will likely need a playroom more than a formal sitting room.

Modern living rooms

Because this space serves many purposes, you’ll want to be sure to incorporate a variety of different furniture pieces to cover all possible activities. If your home is generally tight on space, having plenty of shelves, cabinets or drawers will be crucial to accommodate any storage needs. Built-ins are the best way to do this, since they take up less space and are often customized to meet your needs, however they can run on the more expensive side.

If built-ins aren’t your style, start with the big pieces, like an entertainment centre or TV stand to house any electronics and accessories, or a bookcase to keep books, picture frames and knickknacks in check. A desk or multi-purpose table can act as a craft station or homework spot, while a window seat can quickly become your go-to reading or nap station.

Edition 17

All about home accents

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Home Décor or accents is a great way to liven up any room in your home! Enhance your Dining room, your kitchen your living room or bedroom, and any others, by installing Home Decor, available from top name brands in Kenya.

Adding or switching out old and outdated home decor for better furniture pieces or more fashionable and stylist décor pieces is a great idea and a way to redo your home on a budget! New home decor can change the room from worn fixtures and décor to a new sanctuary!

The right home decor can determine whether you use a room often and how much you dislike or enjoy spending time there. A well decorated home due to great home decor can mean that you more and better enjoy your space, live and relax it in more often and get the most out of the room.

You use your home every day, but some homeowners don’t enjoy it as they should. This is a shame for such a great, relaxing place. New home decor could really make any room a more relaxing sanctuary for you to come up and unwind, read, play, interact. Perhaps you will get out of the one room in your home you enjoy and use others. The home should be many things: well lit, as well as comfortable and pleasing to the eye. That latter two are where home decor comes into play.

Applications of home décor

Functional, elegant and stylish lighting and home décor comes in all shapes and sizes, in an array of finishes and styles. Some of the many types of home décor in the Kenyan market includes: wall accents, wall accent mirrors, home décor prints, accent paintings, wall clocks, wall décor, wall candle holder, and table accents, such as vases and urns, candle holders, figurines, decorative bowls, decorative boxes, decorative trays, decorative bottles and decorative canisters, decorative chargers, table clocks, as well as home accents, bathroom décor and outdoor décor.

Installation of home decor

Before you make a home décor purchase, assess the size of the room before you begin to choose which type of home decor can enhance your home. The size of the home decor will determine the size of decor it provides in the room, and whether you will need just one table or a few coffee tables, extra chairs, a console table, accent pictures or artwork, etc.!

The decisions are endless and your choices of home decor from market players in Kenya are also endless! Once you have selected a home decor item or pieces, determine whether the decorating process is something you can handle, or whether you will need to hire a decorator or professional to do the job. You may need help to move around furniture, or perform an installation, or you may need a simple hook to hang; the degree of difficulty will vary.

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Edition 17

Celebrating design

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Yes, Ideal Interiors showcasing the best of the good life is at last on television.

Time Flies. Yes It Does. We are here once more, reading, speaking and celebrating design. The climax and indeed the trend setter for it all shall be the Ideal Interiors Expo 2016.

Well, Ideal Interiors Expo is an annual event for East Africa design professionals, products suppliers and fans looking to shake off the past and bask in the warmth of the latest and greatest interior design trends.

This year, we converge for the fête of creative interior design in the month of March so as to match into the future styled-up. Each year, the bar is set high…and for sure 2016 is not an exception. Thanks to the Ideal Team selected by the Ideal Interiors TV and Ideal Interiors Magazine editorial and marketing boards to run with this year’s event themed: Design it Right! Build it Right.

We toast to the Kenya Vision 2030 for upholding the endorsement of Ideal Interiors Expo as a platform of talents and quality business. It is further pleasing to note that the National Construction Authority has this year deliberately chosen to partner with the organizers of Ideal Interiors Expo.   

What’s expected?

Quality foot-fall and quality engagement is highly expected. Over 5,000 visitors comprising: architects, interior designers, home developers, homeowners, real estate managers, hoteliers, procurement/product specifiers and home enthusiasts are lined to dramatically add value at the show.

With the latest and the trendy on show, the place shall be awesome. However, don’t just take my word on this. The exhibitors and visitors shall indeed have the last word. Reason, it’s they to talk about the variety, inspiration and business that re-assembles us together year after year in the world of the sought comfort – the appealing interiors at a good bargain.

Showstopper Show-House

For one, uniqueness of this year’s show wouldn’t be complete without the creative input of Impress Interiors and dramatic actualization of a showstopper expo show-house.

The show out to unpack talents and celebrate creative works, rare to find interior design ideas as well as longed-for solutions and worthwhile products is a must-visit for all. Showcasing the very best selection of interior design products and service in the market, this year’s Ideal Interiors Expo marks yet another beginning of festivity of quality.

Reloaded as a celebration of great interior design, filled with awesome displays, expert and practical advice from leading professionals the eventful show captures the spirit of clients and the  essence of space.

And what’s New?

The show is of equal significance to design teams, the architecture and procurement specifiers and is full of things to see whether one is working as an interior designer or, just as importantly, as a Tier one or two component manufacturer. This is the solutions show with a tremendous number of innovative products to see!

For the first time, this unique event is having a FREE-TO-ATTEND Professionals’ Business Forum spiced with an evening networking that’ll bring the exhibitors and idea buyers together at the exhibition bay.

Visit, tour and connect with the best of the good life.

Learn more! Enjoy more!

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Edition 17

Hire qualified architect and interiors designer for your construction

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The importance of hiring an architect and involving an interior designer from the onset of a construction can’t be stressed more, writes George Washington.

Think about the last time you moved. Your former house emptied and cleaned, and all of your possessions are stacked randomly in your new space. It was time to start setting up the new house. You took a deep breath and started arranging your furniture.

Power outlets dictated where you placed your furniture so you can plug in the lamps, and determined where you put your TV. Your dresser only fits on one wall and your bed only fits one way if you want to walk across the room. That’s when the realization comes that the design of the house is controlling how you use it.

Back to bite

Most people think they are being clever by ignoring services of an architect. Regrettably, they aren’t. Shortcuts come back to bite them. It usually costs them in either time or money or both. The most successful projects are when you have a team of professionals involved from the beginning. I say it is a three-legged stool — great architect, talented interior designer and an experienced contractor. “Add an open-minded client and you have an awweeeesome, (if such a word exists) result.”

With a collaborative design approach, the time to build the team is at the beginning of the project. It is the idea of having multiple sets of professional eyes. Many people have the misconception that hiring an interior designer means they are going to suggest you buy all new furniture and scrap everything you own. This is not true. In fact, you should fire anyone who works for you who suggests that.

Measure the pieces

An interior designer should take an inventory of all your furniture and consult with you as to what you want to keep for the new or re-modelled house. They will also measure the pieces you are going to keep. It is important to know how big your nightstands are before you build your new master suite.

On the plans, you will just see boxes representing a queen size bed and the basic 25-by-25 nightstands, but you have 36-by-18 nightstands and a king bed. That will change what you need for your room. When you understand the problem at this early stage, you can decide whether to adjust the size of the room or replace the furniture. Knowledge is power, indeed, when you plan the end from the beginning.

In the beginning stages of schematic design, it is our practice, as the architect and interior designers, to add furniture symbols into the plans to help provide a sense of scale. For instance, we can easily see that a certain dining area comfortably fits a table for six. This can be valuable information if what you really want is a table that seats eight, and this is the time to discover this, as opposed to the day you move in to your finished project. Part of our job as architects and interior designers is to make sure we all deal in reality rather than in wishes or hopes.

As we synthesize our various schematic plans and zero in on our master plan, in collaboration, we can begin to replace the generic furniture symbols with the true measurements of any critical furniture pieces. These placements will help shape lighting layouts and outlet placement.

You may have a beautiful piece of furniture or piece of art that may need specialty lighting. This great piece of furniture may need a lamp but there is no existing plug in the area. This early point in the design process is the best time to have these conversations. After construction is not when you want to talk about wiring new lights and outlets.

Since you are paying a significant amount of money for a new home or a substantial remodel, you don’t want to be frustrated about the little things. Hiring both an architect and an interior designer provides the best possibility of a seamless result for your project.

Interior design is more than arranging furniture and plumping throw pillows. A good designer will help with the hundreds of decisions and specifications involved in remodelling. Choosing paint colours, finishes, light fixtures, flooring, knobs and trim are all choices that need to be made in a home construction or remodel.

In addition to all of these issues, an interior designer will help design the new space to accommodate everything you want to include in your new space. Ultimately, the goal is to control the design and not have the design control how you live in your home.

George Washington is the CEO Invision Concepts Limited, President Interior Designers Association of Kenya and Lecturer at the Technical University of Kenya.

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