Practical living for the home aficionado

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If you are an obsessive, boring, home body like me who loves to spend a Sunday hanging out with her plants or rearranging all the 40 cushions in the house, then you are going to love this one. Mostly, you will see me walking around the house like a woman on a mission, with the resolve and focus of a criminal just about to attempt his first prison break – just because I take cleaning dead seriously and I need everything to be in its place at all times. I’m the Monica who cannot sleep if her footwear is lying strewn on the floor of the bed. But, I am the mom of a toddler and that means that about a year ago, I had to say a very distressed goodbye to my compulsive behaviour. The stubborn brute that I am, I did not give up – not so easily. I found ways to stay organized in the chaos, whether it was in my surroundings or in my mind.

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My home is still a place where a child can play wholeheartedly, a space where we eat chips and watch TV on the bed, a place where love grows, tempers flare, patience is tested, hugs are unlimited and where we can be our messy selves (in moderation!). It is perfect other than the times when it isn’t.

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I always eat snacks on bad hair days. How do you cope?
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My absolute fave place to have some tea – the balcony green nook

Do you wonder if the oh-so-perfect homes of Instagram and decor magazines are real homes belonging to real people who eat, sleep and live there? There’s something so surreal and uber perfect about them that I’m skeptical about their functional quotient. Are such homes realistic in their day-to-day workability and utility?

Also, it is possible to have a cosy, neat home with littles and pets around? To be able to ‘seem’ that you have it all under control – the mommy stuff, the ladyboss stuff and the enviable hostess stuff?

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Planning how you decorate your home in the most low maintenance yet glamorous way is the ultimate goal. What you need is just a few easy home ideas that can be seasonally upgraded or changed to fit your needs and your moods.

So, here I am sharing some simple insights into making your home a chic yet practical space. A living, breathing, cosy cumulation of daily things that you won’t be hiding in cupboards only to have to take them out every 5 seconds. A place for everything and everything in its place, smartly stored to accentuate your style and cater to your everyday needs. Personal, well thought out spaces that mirror your style and your vibe. A fluid space with a few statement pieces that you could move around over the weekend to switch up your space and tackle the boredom that arises from everyday homemaking. The ideal juxtaposition of classy chic and mundane practicality.  It’s nothing that you haven’t seen or heard before, but it’s a cheatsheet guideline for having a home that looks like it’s well-loved. Here’s my lust for gorgeous living made utilitarian in a few simple, easy to implement decor ideas.

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Aesthetic storage solutions

Nobody enjoys coming home to a mess. The only way to tackle things being strewn around the house is to have simple, easy to use storage that looks beautiful and does the job. Placing baskets, caddys, bins, dividers and organizers under sofas, beds or in your pantry can help with decluttering on-the-go. Having a place to dump things rather than having to open cupboards to neatly arrange them, is a good way to avoid messy surroundings. Look for storage that reflects your style and suits your needs. Storing makeup, jewellery, grocery, toys, laundry, stationary or clothes effectively and efficiently saves time and space, helping you stay super organized all the time. Be deliberate and aware to invest in aesthetic, tasteful, photogenic utility, and you have got this one covered.

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Green nooks that breathe life

Having a green thumb is a great thing, but not everyone can be the envied plant lady, and that’s okay. A few low maintenance house plants kept under the right amount of sunshine and watered once in a while should do the job. Start with cactuses or succulents that don’t require daily watering. Placing these green babies where you will see them often – like the window sill beside the kitchen counter or outside in your balcony, can help you to remember to care for them. A touch of green inside the home is refreshing, calming and pleasing to the eyes. It brings life and vivacity to your surroundings. It brings freshness to the smell, feel and vibe of your home. If you manage to keep your plants alive, you might think of getting a pet or having a baby next! Read up on house plants and go adopt some (plants, not babies).

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Building the character of your home

Make your home a place filled with happy memories and positive experiences. Picture frames, Polaroid photographs, fridge magnets from vacations, posters of things/people/quotes, paintings that inspire you, keep sakes from momentous occasions, a chalkboard with the menu or thought for the day, coffee table books that friends can read, books that have impacted your life, curios that you have collected over the years – these are the little inanimate objects that make your house a home. Put thought into them. Make space for them so they can gracefully craft the character of your home.

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Controlling the urge to overcrowd

Too much of a good thing is never any good. Our desires often override our judgment and we end up with the vase that’s too big, the sofa that’s too loud, or the side table that has nothing to be placed beside to. Before you bring a new member into your home, assess practically if you need it, if it resonates with your style, if it can replace something old that you can part with, if it adds value to your space and if it is something you really really want. Overdone or overcrowded spaces tend to look like decorated clutter where no one thing stands out. The statement pieces are drowned amongst the ordinary ones, the gorgeous upholstery or the curtains you had tailor-made are lost in the exaggerated ambience. Guests don’t know what they are supposed to look at.

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Do away with whatever you can live without. Create a dynamic, fluid space that is roomy, minimalistic and personal; a space that grants you the freedom to play around with new ideas, experiment, evolve and redecorate within the realms of practical living.

Exploring outside the comfort zone

What we love most about our homes is that sense of familiarity, stability and comfort. We tend to stick to trends that we understand, colours that we like to see, patterns that are our signature styles. But sometimes, it is fun to look outside the box. Update yourself and upgrade your home. Find inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram. Research the latest colour trends and pairings. I saw a lot of inspired interiors sprouting from the ‘rose quartz’ and ‘serenity’ Pantone colours of 2016. And for good reason. Pink had its comeback in a whole different light – people transformed their doors, walls, sofas and rugs from boring neutral accessories to rosy hued statements. Don’t allow yourself to remain fixated to what is safe and known to you; try something new and surprise yourself.

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These perky, playful poppies always take me to a happy place in my mind

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Creating what isn’t

Adding depth, texture and colour are the simplest ways to make your interiors pop (not too much though!). How you paint your walls, how you design your flooring and how you play around with lighting can enhance how lively your spaces look. Mirrors, distressed or structured walls, fairy lights, or DIY wallpaper decals can add that extra something to your mundane interiors. Spray paint old furniture, garden chairs, metal frames, IKEA shelves or mason jars to create bespoke interiors. Making your home seem spacious when you don’t have much space, making it brighter when you don’t have a lot of natural light streaming in, making it look vibrant and cheerful without using a whole lot of colour – these are the hacks you need to master. Your home is your masterpiece; take your time to design it one bright idea at a time.

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Committing to an overall vibe

When flashes of inspiration are all over the web, your creative stimulus and imagination will have you believe that everything that you love, you can include in your home. However much you crave that Bohemian rug, that Parisian white upholstery, that Vogue cover print on a gold frame, or that colourful Indian chest of drawers, you can’t have it all. You are building a home, not a museum. Be inspired by all the creativity, ingenuity and originality, but finally decide what sort of theme your home should reflect. Stick to it till the very end. No hotchpotch of uncoordinated concepts . Mixing trends can be fun, but do it only if you know what you are doing.

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Creating the mood (seasonally or occasionally)

It is human nature to nest boredom. You may have accomplished the task of designing the dream home but there will be days when your home makes you feel uninspired, dull, and lifeless. What was in vogue yesterday, may not have the same manic charm today. Go ahead and change the mood of your love nest. Change the bedding, the cushions, the upholstery, the house plants. Add lights, a few photo frames or scented candles, some new cutlery crocks, some fresh hangers maybe? Getting rid of the old, decluttering and creating space for incorporating a new mood into your home isn’t going to be easy. But, every now and then, a new perspective, some new sheets and a new lipstick can do wonders.

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Muddling along what we have already discussed above, being smart with your home hauls will be a good place to begin redecorating. When it comes to setting up of your home, the value of adequate research and pragmatic evaluation cannot be understated. That being said, please don’t over think it either. If you love something, go with it. A style, a pattern, a colour, a plant, a wall print – wherever you find magnificence, grab it. Chances are, it’s going to be something that takes your home from being lived in to being cared for. Irrespective of what you place inside your home, a home beaming with love, hope, positivity and gratitude is always going to be the most envied one on the block.

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Give these hacks a go and enjoy giving your spaces that much-needed makeover.

P.S: Our home is 15 years old and may not be built in the style that matches today’s trends, but we try to upgrade it in the most resourceful, inventive manner, watchful of avoiding too much wastage or spending big bucks on large restorations.

Until next time, keep your homes gorgeous and your lives full of wonder. XOXO

Inspirational accounts to follow on IG : @lustliving, @changoandco, @goldalamode, @diyplaybook, @bluebellgray, @branchabode, @monikahibbs, @thehomeedit, @shaunaglenn, @arapisarda, @elinochalva, @liveloudgirl, @pantone, @tjasha, @mckennableu

4 thoughts on “Practical living for the home aficionado

  1. Very nice article Shreya. I always looked at other people n felt jealous coz my house is definitely not like dream house.. this article will help me change my mind set n make my pad a better place to live n be happy.. simple tips tat u gave can turn pigeon hole flats into awesome home.. will do my part as a husband n send this article to my wife so tat v change our habits n make it a better place to live .. I love the way u made small changes n it looks really beautiful.. especially adding green plants tat really elevate mood Everytime u wake up n see.. thank u for tips

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very practical and inspiring tips. I really liked the colour coordination’s of your home. A neat and a clean house is a blessing which we have the power to bestow on ourselves. However I think all people in the house need to contribute to this. It’s never a one person affair.

    Thanks for the practical tips. Keep writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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