As we tend to stay indoors more during the hotter months of the year, we turn our attention to this magical place that we call home.
Differently from other countries in the world, in the Middle East summer is when we spend most of our time inside our homes. The pandemic has just increased the amount of ‘at home’ moments. And because we are spending more time in our nests than ever, making them cosier and reflective of our mood, style and personality can be a hobby or a mission over the following months (if Covid-19 hasn’t put you in home improvement mode already).
We talked to Marilia La Marca, an Italian architect based in the Middle East, to learn more about home décor and how to improve our spaces. We have to start by understanding that everyone is different and has a unique style and taste. “It’s exciting when I enter a space, and I can immediately recognise the owner’s passions. It would be best if you weren’t shy to add your personality to your home. If you love travelling, why don’t you highlight it in your décor? Create a wall with floor to ceiling maps and interesting pieces coming from each place you have been,” says Marilia.
Transporting some of your interests into your home decoration is a way of adding a unique touch to some of the fast furniture you might have, or to your fullyfurnished expat lifestyle. Not only will this make you feel more at home when away from your ‘real’ home, but these are also small details that will make you happy. Even when you don’t know how long you are staying, investing in your present life is imperative. If this is your country or if you have created long-established roots here, your personal interests can grow more extensively and become the heart of your home decoration.
Now that we know how to add elements to make our home a special place, we need to understand how to create the whole ambience as a nice place to live. “Be attentive of proportions; it is important to create a nice equilibrium between empty spaces and furniture,” highlights Marilia. If you pack your home with lots of big furniture and all sorts of decoration without creating some empty areas, it will feel cluttered. It is all about balance in life! Another key tip is to use soft neutral tones and contrast them with decorative elements that standout, such as a colourful abstract painting on a neutral background. The eye-catching element can be a striking sculpture, a nice rug or even a lounge chair. When creating the feel of your home, try to choose one style and stick to it in the whole house. If you opt for minimalism, make it clear in every room. Consistency is vital to sustaining the tone you want for your home.
Things to be Avoided
Always avoid extremes. Homes loaded with too many things can be translated as messy and confusing and might not reflect a calm place that you want to return to. Especially in the challenging days that we are living in, we need a space that gives us serenity and peace, reassuring us that all will be fine. On the other hand, rooms that are too minimal and without enough functional elements can give you a feeling of solitude, a cold and uncomfortable place. We go back to the essential point of looking for balance when putting your space together. And, as in the fashion world, don’t shop by impulse. “One of the biggest mistakes that I see is that people tend to go to home stores or even when they are online shopping, and they randomly buy some pieces because they fell in love with them,” says Marilia. “When they arrive home, they realise they don’t match or go along with what is already there.” A way of avoiding this kind of situation is to take pictures of your home spaces or even create a floor plan. You can check the images to be sure about the colours and have an idea of the available space.
The movement that started with the pandemic has made us realise that home is the place to be. But how can we create a more comfortable and pleasant space? “Bring some greenery inside, try to recreate an outdoor garden indoors or create a relaxing corner,” says the architect. To make this space ideal, she says that rule number one is to make this particular area near a window to connect with nature; it would be even better if you have a patio outside. You can create a beach feel with a carpet made with natural fibres and some colourful pillows. “Maybe during sunset, you can dare to crack the window open for a while to let some fresh oxygenated air blow inside. I know that when it is 50 degrees outside, you need to be brave to do that!” she adds.
If you want a simple change, create a new ambience without a total revamp. An easy way is to add some horizontal lines. They give you an immediate coastal atmosphere, refreshing the style. Horizontal lines are known to provide you with tranquillity and help your body and mind relax. They recreate the warm feeling of looking at the horizon. For the opposite effect, vertical lines are the best option for offices and gyms where you need a burst of energy and rhythm.
Other small suggestions include: change the pillow covers, add a nice pot with one big plant for a splash of green or add a distinctive lamp to the area for a warm light or even just light a candle to achieve the same feel. If your home allows, move things around, change the placement of your furniture or interchange the spaces, this will also give you the feeling of a new scenario. In terms of adding a statement accessory to your home Marilia suggests: “I personally think that a nice rug does the trick. A nice big rug brings everything together. Your sofa, coffee table, lamps and pillows, they will all be connected through the rug.”
Her last words of wisdom are: “Your interiors need to reflect your personality; otherwise, we risk having all the same impersonal spaces. And be surrounded by what you love; these items will give you positive vibes, every single day.”