The decorator's den

A quick makeover

12:53 PM

Changing the decor in your home is often perceived as a labour intensive work than involve a fresh coat of paint on the walls, new furnitures or repositioning of old ones. It's of course great provided that you can afford it, and preferably live into a home that you actually own. People living in rentals in India can only dream of fancy wall treatments, custom built in lights, their own choice of windows, and built in furniture. The good new however, is that it doesn't take that much to instil a breath of freshness into your decor, as I have probably shown it several time on this blog.

Boredom can set in quickly with home decor. What looked great when you moved in can suddenly be horrible later on. The reason why home makeovers actually do exist in the first place. So what can one do when they can't really afford or do the whole new paint job and mouldings trick? Two words : Soft furnishing.

Soft furnishing is all the textile items that go into home decor: curtains, decorative cushions, carpets, runners, throws....change these and you can transform your room in minutes. Out of all these the one that will change your decor the most dramatically are the curtains. As an example, here is what my living room looked like until yesterday.


Don't mind the water seepage problem on the right, I managed to dab some leftover dispersion the workers left before we move in over the worst of the blotches, what I am talking about here are the maroon-purple curtains we have. We bought these for our previous flat because we had a big airy living room and could afford dark colours, we also needed longer ones for our flat then as the bay windows were higher than your standard door length and none of our existing curtains works. In this flat the height of the door is even higher than the already high non standard door height in our previous flat. As a result the curtains don't touch the ground, they are a solid two feet shorter. It is less of a problem here, the curtains in this current living room are serving a purely cosmetic purpose. Which is dressing an otherwise bare looking glass door and wall. The balcony is North facing, we never have direct sunlight in the living room, and as you can probably notice no neighbours that can peek into our home easily. The reason why I keep them tied to try to hid the fact they are too short. It is not bad looking, it is just looking dull and dark, and a year later I find myself hating them. What I refuse to do however is buy new curtains since, thanks to all our moves, we have more than enough in that department to fit various sizes and windows configuration. So I went digging into our storage boxes to find the curtains we used in our master bedroom before we moved there, they are the same longer length type, so again shorter than needed in this flat but in the end here is how I made them work in the living room :


The picture is not really doing them justice, they are the turquoise velvet ones from our mauve and turquoise bedroom look. They are too long for our current bedroom so we used some older ones in that room instead. In this living room all the furnitures are dark wood (at the exception of the TV stand), the sofa is a redish brown, the carpet is blue. And that poor old carpet ended up looking a bit lonely as the only splash of colour in the room, which is why I decided to give the velvet blue curtains a try before figuring out if I could live longer with my eggplant coloured curtains or needed to make peace with the fact buying new curtains was the other only alternative.


To make them work despite their short size I needed to keep the curtains tied, like the old ones, but because these are velvet, and far heavier they would look far better draped against the wall instead of letting them hang down with a bow tying them up in the middle. Fortunately I had two nails I could use and the walls were agreeable to my plan, so I went ahead and hammered them at the height at which I wanted the drape on both side, then raided my wardrobe for some of my old bangles to use as curtain ties. And finally I used a piece of turquoise wool I had left from a craft project to tie the bangles holding the curtains to the nails in the wall. The added bonus being that the water seepage damage is now a bit more concealed by the drape. The bright turquoise of the curtain instantly made the room lighter, and a bit less tiny looking. Sadly the picture is not showing it, but I wanted to steer clear from the flash so that the room looks as close to what it does in reality, so just imagine a brighter blue that totally matches the blue on the balcony paintwork I did last year.

As I said, just changing the curtains can instantly change the mood of a room, if you have no dogs, kids and don't mind the constant cleaning you can add throws and cushions in colours you want to match your decor, or change the carpet. My grand am used to rotate her area rugs between the living room and the guest room to change the look. You can buy more than one set of a curtain for a room, so that when one is in the wash, the other can be used, or switch heavy sun blocking curtains in the Summer but light sheer ones during the monsoon and Winter. And then of course if you really do not mind the constant dusting required in India and really have no one who can break things in your home, add some small trinkets, vase, bowls and frames to your decor as well...instant makeover without having to paint your walls.



  1. Annie6:48 PM

    did you get that bookshelf custom made>>> it looks so good

  2. No not this one, I had a few stuff custom made over the years but this one is one of these ridiculously cheap road stride store laminate cabinet, we initially bought it for the kitchen in our Bangalore flat to store pantry items and plates as we had a storage problem, it had two glass doors back then. Several moves later and the unit broke a little, right now only one door is left, and it is very rickety, and sadly in full sight in our living room. I painted it with 3D gold liner paint and painted the left glass panel to hide the mess we now keep inside. A temporary solution until we replace that unit. The picture doesn't show it but the back of the cabinet is deformed, the laminate at the bottom is blistering and all the drawers and doors are falling apart, my paint job is diverting the eye from spotting the obvious flaws :-)

  3. Beatrx5:52 PM

    Do you eat the mung sprouts?

  4. Annie7:36 PM

    :-O so good. why dont you become an interior design consultant?? that business is huge now in india especially in mumbai Hyderabad and Bangalore.. :-D

  5. I won't eat these, but yes I eat the ones that have been sprouted overnight or for a couple of days when the are still white.


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