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Sprucing up your space with classy home textiles in the time of Covid-19

Sofa fabrics, curtains, rugs and bed linen add a refreshingly warm and welcoming feel to your home. Picture Courtesy: Clarke & Clarke available at Maishaa
If your clothes speak volumes about your personality so do the bedsheets, blinds and other home textiles that deck up your castle. What's more, your spirits get a huge lift every time the light drapery allows light to filter through or a set of throw cushions spruce up a neutral sofa.

This summer the focus is on pastel colours and natural fabrics that make the home a cool, comfortable place. Says Anshu Garg, founder, Maishaa: “With the temperature soaring, people prefer pastels but even in winters, we were selling them. Customers today know what they want, have enough exposure to travel and social media and want to access the best brands.” Her company is an exclusive dealer of German home textile brand Nya Nordiska, Clarke & Clarke of the UK, and other well-known European brands. 

There is a trend towards premiumisation of home textiles. With people spending more time at home, they're willing to spend more on high-quality furnishings. And it’s no longer the exclusive domain of the woman of the house. Men are finally doing the household chores and are keenly interested in decking up their floors, walls and beds. Says Mandeep Wadhwa, founder Seasons Design Centre: “Everyone wants a pleasant ambience to live, work in. For the first time in so many years, I am seeing even teenaged boys and middle-aged men taking active interest in home interiors.” His firm Season’s Furnishings offers value-added services such as home styling along with at-home delivery of all design samples of furnishings in the wake of the pandemic.

Any number of domestic and international brands are now catering to demand for premium home textiles and furnishings such as Sarita Handa, Address Home, Ishatvam, Atmosphere, Good Earth, Jagdish Store, Home Saaz, D’Décor, Floor & Furnishings, Obeetee, Cocoon Rug, Ralph Lauren, Armani Casa and Clarke & Clarke.

The sofa story

This season the upholstery fabric is more about woven material and textures, with emphasis on subdued and muted colours.

Commonly used upholstery fabrics for sofas include blended fabrics, velvet, suede, chenille, leather, linen and cotton. Velvet rules in luxury homes for its plush texture, durability, the range of rich colours it comes in and the luxurious feel it lends to the room. Some customers go for polyester-blended cotton as it adds years to the fabric. Others prefer hundred per cent polyester for its longevity and low maintenance.

However, sofa upholstery is not something you can change according to the season. So depending on your style, usage and budget, you have to make an informed choice. Say Hardesh & Monica Chawla, founders and interior designers, Essentia Environments: “Depending on where you place the sofa, you need to choose the right kind of material. In areas of heavy usage, it is better to use synthetic materials that withstand the wear and tear. If you have pets, you must avoid fabrics with heavy texture. Also don’t use bright coloured fabrics for sofas that receive a lot of direct sunlight. Regular vacuuming and spot cleaning spills by blotting out are some ways to keep your sofa clean and long lasting.”

A material like velvet with its rich texture and soft touch is increasingly in demand. Where colours are concerned, natural neutral shades stay trendy forever. You can accessorise them with cushions of your favourite colour, pattern and prints. Light pastel shades work well across seasons, but if you feel adventurous, you can go for bold colours in warm and inviting tones.

The price range is staggeringly wide from Rs 100 per meter to upwards of Rs 9,000 or more. There are fabrics in every range with prices varying depending on the material, finish and design. For velvets and silks, the price range is huge, starting from Rs 200 per meter for synthetic fabrics to upwards of Rs 1,000 per meter. Says Essentia’s Chawla: “Rich natural materials like silk and silk velvets are expensive. Add to that embroidery or prints, the price will go up. However, pure silk and silk velvets aren't practical for upholstery and are used sparingly. Blended versions are better. Today the luxurious looking velvets being used for upholstery are all synthetic. Some designer synthetic blended fabrics can be pricier than silks and velvets. So it is a combination of look, feel, durability and functionality that make a luxury upholstery.”

In most foreign brands, you can find the Martindale rub count. This 'Martindale Test' or 'Rub Test' is internationally recognised, and measures the durability of the upholstery fabric for general domestic or commercial use. Brands like Manual Revert have products with Martindale counts ranging from a few thousands to a hundred thousand and more. While 75,000 is good for high traffic zones such as commercial office spaces and restaurants, a count up to 25,000 is good enough for residences. 

A lot depends on what fabric you choose and what design your furniture requires. Maishaa’s Garg cites some examples: a round-armed sofa can’t have too thick a fabric or a Chesterfield can’t have a too big print as the whole print won’t show up. On a winged chair, you can take a good bold print or an embroidered upholstery so that it becomes a showstopper – if you have a printed sofa then have a plain winged chair and a plain armchair for balance.

Curtain call

Choosing a beautiful drapery can add fun and flair to your home. Curtains create privacy and cosiness, regulate the amount of natural light and breeze coming in from outside, and serve a decorating purpose by adding colour, texture, prints and patterns.

There are several factors which determine your final curtain call. Say Vivek and Ritu Gupta, founders and interior designers, Pramod Group: “It depends on the interior theme of your space and the weather. Traditional and classic luxury spaces may call for heavy drapes, while contemporary and minimal spaces look great with lighter or sheer fabrics.”

Seasons also play an key role. In winter, heavy curtains keep the cold from seeping in through the windows. In summer, when you’re trying to keep the décor light, thinner fabrics or sheers with more flow look better. Cotton and linen curtains are theoretically good for summer, however, being natural materials, they tend to undergo wear and tear faster when exposed to sunlight. So blended materials that are light and flowy are ideal. 

Says Pramod group’s Gupta, “As we are looking up to nature for comfort and healing, earthy tones and pastel shades like dusty pink, baby blue, blue-grey, sage green are in vogue. Whether you want them in thick materials or sheers depends on how much light you want in your space. Prints are trendy and add vibrancy to your space, however, combine them with sheers or neutrals so that they don’t look overpowering. Embroidered fabrics in muted shades are always an elegant option.”

If you have blinds, you don't need curtains, and vice versa, say experts. They serve the same purpose of adorning the window. Says Raghav Kanwar, Founder, Window Passions: “The trend in the furnishing industry for modern homes is more of designer window blinds or of natural material curtains like linen. Clients and architects are going for naturally textured fabrics with simple borders that complement the look of the space. Premium blinds would have an element of design, whether it’s a border or an exclusive application technique.” 

Carpet couture 

A rug is the perfect way to give context and it can transform a space in design and spatial layout. In larger spaces, it helps anchor a layout and in a smaller space it adds character.

Be careful about the size. If the rug is too big it will make your space look cluttered and if it is too small it will take away the sense of space from the area. Many synthetic and viscose carpets are available in the market in standard sizes such as 5x7, 6x9, 8x11 while standard sizes for luxe carpets are 8x10 and 9x12.

Hand-made rules the luxury market- all the yarns are hand spun and and customers usually opt for hand-knotted carpets beginning with 100 knots. One such carpet typically takes 6-7 months to make. Says 50-year-old Mumbaikar Shaina George: “I love the natural faults of the hand-made carpet - it has a very disintegrated surface, never too polished or too finished and even the pattern tends to change. Every single motif is different and there is a bit of a ruggedness and nothing is uniform.” Imperfection is the new perfection.

Prices vary with the type of weaving, raw material and design intricacy, and may start from Rs 1.800 per sq ft. But in luxury brands like Obeetee, they start at Rs 5,600/sq ft and go up to 8,100, depending on the silk wool composition and intricacy of the pattern.

Design aesthetics

Aesthetics usually depend on factors such as balance, colour, movement, pattern, scale, shape and visual weight. In design terms, aesthetics are our perception or opinion of an object.

Home interior is much about your personal style. You could have an armchair or a sofa or an ottoman cladded with leatherite curtains. If you have a printed wallpaper you could go for a plain and textured curtain. If you have a plain wall, you can have a printed sofa. Even in curtains, thick curtains with sheer at the back can complete the look. Some people prefer just sheer curtains esp on a glass section.

It’s also about whether you are a minimalist or a maximalist. A minimalist would typically make the beds by using plain white cotton sheets with white pillow casings, and a light comforter. The other way is with cushions and all. Say Monica Chadha and Rishabh Kapoor,  founders and interior designers, Design Deconstruct: “The maximalist way, or over the top, which we use for grandeur comes with a ton of cushions of different sizes and patterns, and a neatly laid out blanket at the edge of the bed. The only change the pandemic has brought about is a lot of people have gone more simplistic in making their bed. One of the major reasons is the ease that this offers and also the easy access to the bed anytime during the day. Lack of househelp due to the pandemic has also led to this. But we still recommend going all in on the cushions and throws for special occasions.”

Ditto with sofa story. You can create a monochromatic theme if you want to keep it simple and less chaotic. And you can juxtapose colours and elements to create contrast. Says Design Deconstruct’s Chadha: “Sofas or sofa sets don’t necessarily have to match with each other in a living room, but should continue the language of the space, which can be done through contrast as well. Aspects like the choice of upholstery can be completely different. We always advise our clients not to get bogged down with the idea of matching everything as that complicates things and ends up limiting your vision. The biggest progression in the field of design in the last decade or so has been the gradual drift from ensuring symmetry and matching everything with each other towards contrast.”

In the end, your home should have that perfect ambience for work, live, play and exude a vibe that is both pleasant and positive.

Table: What it costs to do up your home with drapery, upholstery, bed linen and other furnishings

Category  Price range
Sofa Fabrics Rs 500-5,000 per metre plus additional Rs 1,200 per seat labour cost and separate for foam. Luxury sofa fabrics cost between Rs 3,000-12,000/metre
Bed Linen Rs 1,500 to Rs 28,000
Carpets Rs 1,800-5,600/sq ft, going up to Rs 8,100/sq ft for 8x10 and 9x12 sizes
Curtains Rs 1,800 to Rs 6,950 per metre; Rs 995 to Rs 9,495 per panel for a 9-foot-high, 54-inch-wide curtain 
Window Blinds Rs 3,500/sq m and upwards for exclusive designer blind series
Cushions Rs 400 to Rs 6,390; Designer cushion material costs Rs 11,000/metre (Velvet), Rs 8,000 (Cotton), Rs 9,000 (Cotton Linen)
brands

  



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