Interior Design, an Ethnic Approach
Designing your rooms around an ethnic theme can be exciting and fun and allows you to bring elements of other cultures and distant lands into your home. You can be more daring in your approach to colour and with such a wide variety of textures and patterns available, this can collectively add a whole new dimension to your interior design project. Unusual artifacts from different cultures can work very well as focal points in a room and as there are no hard and fast rules to stick to and because there are so many variations, you can go beyond the usual or traditional to portray a style that is not only beautiful, it is unique.
So what do we mean by ethnic?
Ethnic basically means native or indigenous people from a particular area so in relation to Interior Design it means to bring the natural elements that are representative of whatever culture, land or peoples you choose to portray into your own home to define your space.
Naturally the world is your oyster as they say so there are countless cultures to choose from, all you have to do is bring a particular ensemble of colours, patterns, materials and artifacts together to create a “look” that is recognisable and distinctive. What about a Mediterranean flavour, Native American Indian symbolism, or perhaps Tibetan Buddhism? Popular themes include African, Mexican, and Asian but you can go with whatever inspires or appeals to you. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Think of Africa and all that it conjures up in your mind, the landscape, the sounds, the smells, the colours, the mood, and then if you try to pick out the key points, what would they be? Colour schemes might include earthy colours like green, beige, browns and tans, set off with orange and splashes of red. Think about floor and wall coverings, natural substances would probably work best. Finishing touches can include wall hangings, African artifacts, drums, rugs, African fabrics and prints, animals made of stone, clay or wood, ceremonial masks hung on the wall, brightly coloured African bowls and pots, and so on.
What does Mexico mean to you? Perhaps desert colours with sandy tones, beige and khaki, along with reddish, rustic colours and hues. Blankets and woven fabrics in bright colours, perhaps terra cotta pots and bowls, pine wood is popular for furniture. Artifacts can include symbols of the South West or from the Spanish influence, or from the Aztecs, Mayans and other ancient civilisations, all of which can add an interesting and authentic Mexican look and feel.
There are many variations within an Asian theme but two quite popular ones are Japanese and Chinese. Japanese themes tend to lean towards a more minimalist look and have a tranquil and peaceful feel. Consider a futon and using screens to get that Japanese ambiance. Colours tend to be natural and objects from nature often feature as focal points, for example, smooth stones and pebbles, water fountains and bonsai trees. Chinese themes on the other hand might involve brighter and bolder colours, lanterns, dragons and other mythological creatures, artwork depicting the traditional people colours and landscapes and Chinese handwriting.
How to get started
Once you have established which particular ethnic culture appeals to you, browse through books and magazines and the Internet to get ideas that will spark off your own imaginative flair. Identify what elements go together to make up that particular look or feel that you want to create.
Consider the walls, ceilings and floors carefully as this will provide a base for you to work from and then you can add in the details to finish it off. For example, is the texture and appearance of the walls and ceilings rough or smooth? What floor covering is appropriate, should it be wood, stone, tiles or carpets? Will rugs and mats make a difference and if so what are they made of? Are the windows better suited to drapes, blinds or shutters? What style of furniture works? What about plants, motifs, pictures and wall hangings?
The theme you adopt and the way that you choose to portray specific elements of that theme is entirely up to you and your imagination, the end result will be your own unique interpretation of a culture or a place and you will have added a touch of the exotic to your home.
Interior Design Considerations for the Modern Home
Modern homes and apartments vary in design and basic structure, but they share a common attribute-limited space. The typical concept of what a typical home is has since evolved. Now, when we think of a home we do not just see in our mind’s eye the traditional idea of a roomy house where each occupant has his or her own bedroom. In urban centers, people’s homes are two or three-room apartments where the children share a bedroom or units in high-rise buildings with pocket gardens and common areas for recreation.
When designing a home, it is important to consider longevity-whether it will stand the test of time. Some of the factors that must be considered are the quality of the materials used, the overall design, and the location. Although it is tempting to follow dominant trends, there is a need to exercise caution. Some trends easily become outdated. In addition, it is also important to maximize the interior space and provide allowances for future expansion.
Customization is another important consideration. Instead of going for ready-made cabinets that take up too much space, having customized shelves and storage areas made will not only save plenty of square footage, but lends the interior greater flexibility. Creating more storage, as much as can be squeezed out of the current available space-also increases the overall value of the property.
The choice of color is another basic consideration, especially if there is a plan to sell the property in the future. Bold colors may turn heads, but neutral colors have greater appeal to potential buyers. In today’s market, homes with neutral paint colors have relatively higher resale value.
Intertwined living and sleeping areas
Because of the space restrictions, one of the biggest challenges for interior designers is to provide solutions for studio apartments and units where the sleeping and living areas are very much intertwined. Since the space does not allow for the addition of more walls, designers face the challenge of providing occupants with a private space, while still allotting an area to receive visitors. In order to provide the occupants a space that is comfortable and functional at the same time, interior designers face the challenge of choosing design elements and furniture that allows the residents to move and function seamlessly given the overlapping space.
Perhaps, one of the most important considerations in modern homes is the utilization of natural light. A home that showcases natural lighting is generally perceived as having positive attributes. Aside from certain specifications in construction that maximize the entry of light from the outside, some interior décor solutions exploit natural lighting better than others do.
Lastly, modern homes that are located in the busiest urban areas can still be transformed into havens of comfort, quiet and relaxation with a few interior modifications that allow for the maintenance of a sustainable indoor garden. In the hands of a competent interior decorator, outdoor areas with healthy greenery can also be blended seamlessly with the interior of the home.
Interior Design Ideas for Modern Homes
Interior design is the most interesting concept that is subject of much enjoyment for home owners and home builders. If you like playing with floors, ceilings, kitchen area, wash area, furniture and spaces, interior design is for you. Today, it has greatly revolutionized and home owners with builders are designing innovative and creative interiors through marble. They are continuously using marble products for more efficiency and beauty.
The great thing about marble interiors design is that you don’t necessarily have a deep knowledge about it. Home builders give exceptional ideas to change your interiors and apply marble in it. It certainly gives genuinely modern look to the houses and adds more value to it. Modern home builders also help you choose the best place to apply marble stone.
Today, one of the best ways of interior designing is using marble products. Marble interiors look stunning and redefine its value. One can have nearly limitless designs through marble stones. It simply offers a wide variety of opportunity of creating new interior designs. More number of homes is utilizing soft marble stone to their houses for balustrades, statues, staircases and medallions. Being beautiful in looks, it is modestly used in countertops, vanity tops and statues.
Nowadays, interior designers and builders are widely using marble stone to richly facelift traditional or old homes. They conclude their interior designing projects with marble flooring. In fact, it is the most unique feature of modern homes. They also use wide variety of marble products for stunning looks and aesthetic appeal.
Kitchen and Bathroom Interiors Ideas
Kitchen and bathroom interiors are the major part of any facelift project. These are the main areas of a home that needs to be addressed first. Both granite and marble can add extra appeal to kitchen and bath space. One of the most vital uses of marble is as countertops that can be installed in both kitchen and bathroom. It provides exceptional beauty along with a magical durability. Marble sinks and flooring are additional components adding uncompromising beauty to kitchen and bathroom interiors.
Today, marble interiors are becoming very popular amongst modern home builders, homeowners and architects. In fact, manufacturers are also offering superior marble products for homeowners’ use. To serve the daily rising requirement of interior designs, interior experts and architects are now including magnificent marble products in their design strategies. Manufacturers also offer different types of products for both commercial and residential applications.
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Famous Interior Designers and Their Styles in Interior Design – Part 1
This series of 4 articles takes a brief but informative look at 21 of the most famous and Interior Designers, from the earliest pioneers right through to the most celebrated modern day designers.
The Pioneers of Interior Design
Jean-Henri Jansen (1854-1928)
Dutch designer, Jean-Henri Jansen, launched one of the first ever international interior design companies ‘Maison Jansen’ (House of Jansen) in 1880, which became renowned for designing and creating exceptionally beautiful and high quality furniture which would be utilized in a multitude of interior decoration projects. House of Jansen opened branches in 8 of the major cities of the world. Jansen worked closely with the talented interior designer Stephane Boudin whom he made director of the company. The clients of House of Jansen included Royalty and the rich and famous.
Elsie de Wolfe (1865-1950)
The first lady of interior decoration, Elsie de Wolfe considered herself an ‘ugly child’. This Victorian stage actress was a rebel of her times and was credited by many to be the inventor of the modern profession of interior design, even though there were already established interior designers in her time. Elsie disliked Victorian tastes altogether, her designs were therefore generally made up of light and bright colors, contrary to the drab and gloomy Victorian décor coupled with unnecessary excesses such as heavy velvet draperies. This was a pioneering departure from the contemporary designs of the time. Elsie’s influence continues to be felt in the modern world of interior design.
Ogden Codman (1863-1951)
American interior decorator and architect, Ogden Codman spent his childhood in his birthplace of Boston before heading to France in his youth for a period of time. Codman had two uncles who influenced him tremendously – architect John Hubbard and decorator Richard Ogden. Some of Ogden Codman’s works include Edith Wharton’s Newport home, Land’s End, the Rockefeller family estate of New York client John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and the Newport summer home of Cornelius Vanderbilt II. Along with novelist Edith Wharton, Codman co-authored a guidepost of American interior design, ‘The Decoration of Houses’ in 1897.
Frances Elkins (1888-1953)
Born in Milwaukee, Frances Adler Elkins was one of the most prominent interior decorator and designer of the previous century. Sister of the famed Chicago architect David Adler, Elkins was known for her futuristic designs that brought together different styles and elements from various periods. They included country French styles, chinoiserie and art deco. The furnishings featured in her designs included designers such as Jean-Michel Frank and Alberto Giacometti. The career of Elkins that spanned over three decades is glittered with many high profile commissions in Hawaii, the Midwest and northern and southern California, none more interesting than the restoration of the 1830s structure, Casa Amesti in Monterrey, California.
Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959)
Frank Lloyd Wright was an interior designer and architect whose career included more than 1000 projects, 500 of them that have been complete. Wright was known for his promotion of organic architecture, an example of which is Fallingwater. The Robie House is an example of Wright’s leadership of the Prairie School architectural movement, while the Rosenbaum House depicts Wright’s Usonian home concept. Wright also had refreshing ideas for every kind of building, be it church, office, school, hotel or museum. Along with excellent architectural renderings, Wright also designed much of the interiors of his buildings including the Décor, layout and furniture.
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