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Living It Up

Ten Innovative Ways to Decorate Your Living Room

While redoing or remodeling your home interiors, you may need expert advice or professional help in painting the house or lighting it up. But where it comes to accessories and arrangements, you are the best judge. Home is a private space your family defines, therefore decorating it should ideally be a personal project. You can do this wonderfully within your means without having to spend a fortune.

It may be too much to expect to refurbish your entire house - furniture, draperies, wall paint and all in one go, but you can do a lot to jazz it up by rearranging the stuff you have and adding value to it. One golden rule to keep a neat and tidy house is to keep it uncluttered and spacious with a lot of sunlight and fresh air coming in. Nothing enlivens the house better than natural daylight.

Undertake a spring-cleaning exercise - junk unwanted items, wash linen and curtains, dust furniture and vacuum-clean carpets and sofa sets. A spic-and-span, spruced up house looks good to begin with. Next, concentrate on decorative props to give the house an aesthetic appeal.


1. Small dhurries or throw rugs can be placed thoughtfully to redefine pocket areas where you can highlight props. A small peg-table with curios, a cozy nook with an artistic lampshade or some big-size artifact can be accented this way. Set your furniture apart with cushions covered in ethnic Indian handicrafts - from Kutchi thread- and mirror-work to Kashmiri embroidery.

2. If you are interested in aspects of home dècor, then chances are that you have a good collection of curios or bric-a-brac picked from your travels or shopping. You can either intersperse them with your books on a bookshelf or bunch them on a mantelpiece. A niche in the living room or a corridor would be an ideal place to hold a few. Some curios or similar kind, say figurines of different material can be arranged together like an installation.

3. Many households have antiques or family heirlooms passed down from generations. Undoubtedly, these are the best showpieces you can flaunt in your drawing room. Old grandfather clocks, small wall-mounted mirror-cabinet used by grandmothers for grooming and nut-crackers can be touched up and mounted on the walls. They are sure to be the neighbour's envy.

4. Another very interesting way of dressing up the mantelpiece or a showcase is to display trophies and mementoes. This gives the room a personal identity and you will have the satisfaction of not having spent a single penny on these 'objets d' art'.

5. In bigger houses where space is plenty, large objects like brass or copper urns enhance the aesthetics without giving the room a cramped look. Of course, you have to keep them gleaming. These can be used to hold big potted plants such as bamboo or crotons. You can even have candles or petals float on water in these containers. Left by themselves too, they add an ethnic touch to the dècor.

6. Books are good decorative pieces. Coffee table books, particularly, add great value to the center-table in the living room. Juxtapose cookery or foodie books with crockery and jars on the kitchen shelf and see the dramatic effect. Spending hours in the kitchen will no longer seem a chore.

7. Lampshades as props, not just provide spot lighting, but add colour. Lamps and lampshades are available in metal and papier mache, but you can innovate ideas. Orissa handicrafts are very famous for their traditional appliquè work canopies, which now come in small sizes to be used as lampshades. Hang them in any corner and see the nook brighten up.

8. Candle-stands are a rage with the artisans. From wrought iron and wood, to cane and ceramics, candle-stands come in all shapes, sizes and designs. Unlike the table-top holders, the floor-stands (Bastar artisans make wrought iron stands in animal motifs) can be used as punctuation to break lines of furniture placement. Candles, themselves, come in attractive shapes and designs and the aromatic ones also give out fruity or floral scents.

9. You don't have to be an art collector to display paintings on the wall and they, in turn, do not have to be only Picasso's or Hussain's. You can get hold of visually eye-catching pictures from anywhere - old calendars, glossies or greeting cards. Frame them. Frame your own, your children's or even friends' amateur works of art and display them. To add a personal touch, make a collage of pictures from your family album. You can make a photography alcove or photo gallery to hide a door out of view! Framed maps are a fantastic way of decorating the walls, too.

10. Last, but not the least, dot the rooms with potted houseplants. Ferns, crotons and philodendrons in colourful ceramics or earthy terracotta inject life into a room. Flowers, both fresh and dry can be arranged in colourful vases. Driftwood or deadwood is an excellent prop, too.

There is no end to the ideas for decorating one's living room or any other room, for that matter. But the most important thing to remember is, not to overdo it. A house should look like a comfort zone that it is and not like an art gallery or a five-star hotel!

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