In a transient market, where most of us rent our apartments or villas, it’s easy to make do with the anonymous neutral walls and tiles they come with. But a house doesn’t become a home without the people who live in it, and the personality of you and your family as conveyed through your interiors can really speak to your guests, as well as make you feel more settled.
Develop your home’s unique tone and give it a voice with our guidelines for getting into character...
Mix & match
Don’t be constrained by a strict design scheme – blending styles and eras will express your individuality. Then add an unusual element that says something about you: this ball-and-claw-foot cupboard has been painted a flamboyant red, which is a sure sign the owners are anything but boring.
Tip Take a photograph of the room that needs a new look—you’ll be surprised at how different it looks on paper, and how much easier it is to see what works and what needs to be changed.
Show your true colours
Colour says a lot about personality; red, for instance, is associated with energy, passion, love and boldness. Here red is used to create a focus wall, and is also carried through the scatter cushions and bedspread. The flowers wrapped around the bed pay homage to the owner’s whimsical nature.
Tip A beautiful evening top on a wooden hanger and an anituque mirror above the bed add a playful touch of glamour.
Set your mood
Choosing a theme for a room makes it easier to combine different decor elements. If you are fascinated by French culture, choose a French decor style. Or what about an all-white, modern, glamorous or romantic feel? Remember, a monochrome white scheme will create an airy and bright ambience, while a dark room has a more sedate and moody atmosphere.
Tip Paint a cupboard, chair and wall hangings a crisp white for a refreshed look. The individual styles may differ, but you’ve united the disparate elements, stamping them with your personality.
Texture and pattern are two design elements perfect for character building: you can create a focus point with a set of weathered leather suitcases, or use wallpaper to uplift a bathroom. If you like patterns, incorporate them in your curtains, carpets or tiles. If you prefer earthy textures, go for stone walls, wooden furniture and raw linen for a rustic look. Satin, lace, faux fur and furniture with a high-gloss finish will create a more luxurious feel.
The writing on the wall
Words, sayings or poems are a playful way of adding personality and it’s something you can easily do yourself. These home owners have painted famous quotes on their wall — literally making their mark.
Dare to be different
Old furniture and designs go a long way in creating a unique look because they have oodles of character. If you love antique, vintage and a touch of extravagance, try combining all three for a fun, eclectic feel.
Tip The porcelain figure and pot reflect individuality. Check out markets, antique and secondhand stores for interesting pieces – or ask grandma for an early heirloom.
Art offers an easy way to convey personality – and you don’t have to spend a fortune on original paintings to make a strong statement. Frame anything that grabs your fancy and, for extra impact, include your children’s sketches or even your own favourite doodles. The frames you choose for each piece, and where you choose to display them, will add to the effect.