Making A Statement With Home Decor
We all want our homes to look stylish, warm and comfortable. The decor of a house decides not just how inviting it feels but also showcases the unique personality of the person(s) staying there.
It is therefore no surprise that it can feel challenging to when you think of home decorating! Creating beautiful, welcoming spaces does need careful thought and planning. Otherwise, it is easy to find yourself with a mishmash of accessories and furniture that are lovely separately, but together do not create the impact you want.
Creating a home that mirrors your tastes and personal style involves putting together different elements such as furniture, lighting, furnishings and decor accessories in such a way that it feels naturally "you". Each of them influences the final look so you need to take time to find the right mix. A judicious selection can help you create the mood you want - whether trendy, elegant or mellow. Feeling a little overwhelmed and stuck? These four tips can help you get started:
Creating Beautiful Spaces
- Figure out your decor style: The first step is to have a good grasp of your likes and dislikes so you can narrow down your search. Some easy ways to do this: taking online design style quizzes, browsing Pinterest, scanning magazines and exploring home decor stores.
- Create a mood board: As you research, collect the images that appeal to you. Creating a visual collection of the things that strike a chord with you can help inspire you. Use Pinterest, apps like Evernote or even just a folder on your computer to do this.
- Identify what fits into your lifestyle: While your style preferences definitely are important, you also need to consider your lifestyle and understand what you and your family like having around you.
- Tie it together with striking decor elements: Creating memorable spaces becomes easier with accessories not only reflects your personality but also give a cohesive look to the room. Use handmade artefacts, one-of-a-kind artwork, stylish wall decor or eye-catching upholstery to make a statement.
Irris Home: Luxury HomeStyling with A Personal Touch
Finding just the right decor accent for your living room or your bedroom is not easy. It can be overwhelming to scan through stores to find that unique piece among the multitude of run-of-the-mill options.
That's where stores like Irris Home come in.
A custom home decor store based out of Kolkata, Irris Home offers a handpicked collection of exclusive decor elements ranging from furniture, paintings to table linen. Driven by the founder Vineeta Singhania's artistic vision, this store offers a portfolio of limited-edition luxury products, refreshed regularly, designed and manufactured in-house by talented artisans. The store does not restrict itself to a particular style or a particular medium, so you will find anything from Tanjore paintings to stained glass artwork. In addition to its own collection, the founder also works with customers directly to create original pieces.
Know more about Irris Home's distinctive design approach in this interesting conversation with founder Vineeta Singhania.
Q&A with Vineeta Singhania: Creating a Design Store With a Difference
- Q. Tell us about yourself and your background.
- I am a single mother, and I lost my husband when my eldest daughter was just five and youngest son just a year old. So this is about 22 years ago, and at that time, I was just giving classes from home on stained glass, Tanjore art and different kinds of crafts.
Slowly word spread about my unique taste, and women from wealthier families came to me for getting their homes decorated or getting one-of-a-kind accessories because they wanted something that is not available in the market. I was able to provide this because I had an artistic mind and knew what they would like.
So over time, this became my full-time business and Irris Home was born in 2010 as a stand-alone brick and mortar store on Russell street in Calcutta, which is the prime area for shopping in Calcutta. I started small at about 400 sq. ft and then year after year, space just kept growing bigger because there was a demand for more things and instead of just keeping it to one product category, I spread into a melange of beautiful products that just had to be there! I started with Tanjore paintings and Wall Art & Sculptures. Then grew to smaller home decor, modern sculptures, dry flowers, customized framing, ceramics, brass work, copper work and furniture made from solid timber, agate, brass and petrified wood. I am just very passionate about craft techniques and applying them to modern Indian homes with a taste for luxury, global travel and culture.
- Q. Do you have a background in art?
- I have no degree in the subject, and studied political science instead. But I have been exploring different techniques in Art & Craft since I was a teenager.
- Q. Do you make any of the products yourself?
- Yes I have a team and we have our own workshop which is very close to the store. I have my carpenters, painters, wood polishers, and some of the workers don't work from my place specifically, but they do a lot of work for me. Some of the work I also do myself. Sometimes customers will also find me working with a material within the store itself!
Q&A Contd. Creating A Collection of Unique Decor Accents
- Q. What makes Irris Home products better/different from those of other brands?
- Some brands are into sourcing. I can't say that they are sourcing from China because it has become a trend to say that they are sourcing from Italy and Portugal and all of these fancy places. Some other brands only sell things which are cheap, cute-ish, but not meant to last as an item of value. At Irris, I make products to last and be more of really good quality material, not something that will be there for one year and then you throw it out only to replace it with another cheap thing. Irris products are all limited-edition and one of a kind. That's because they are made with my artistic touch and it's not like I found something, bought it, and put it in my store. Even if I find something I turn it around to give it a new meaning.
- Q. What is your production process and how do you introduce new products?
- I think it's more on the instinct and the way I see the market trends moving. Sometimes I make products based on what people are asking for more. Sometimes I dream and play with materials to come to my new collection. Now, my youngest son who is a Down Syndrome kid, also helps me with work by contributing his very own handloom fabrics. I have been training him in the craft for more than 10 years now, so there is a large chunk of the highest quality fabrics that I am converting into usable products like laundry baskets, toy hampers and library sacks. In summary, a lot of it is based on the state of mind of that moment versus complicated market surveys.
- Q. How do you ensure quality?
- Because we are manufacturing in-house, we have got dedicated staff, and it’s relatively easier to manage the quality because the product is made right in front of our eyes. If there is something produced that is not of the same quality, I reject it for it to be either remade or repurposed into something to avoid wastage of material.
- Q. How large is it at the moment?
- About 20 employees.
Product Showcase: Selected Creations from Irris Home
Game of Thrones Chess Set
A perfect gift for a chess fan and a Game of Thrones fan! This collecter's item is a handcrafted beauty that will amaze you. Made of mother of pearl, all the pieces are hand carved. The chess set comes with its own storage. This stunning item is available for Rs. 48,000 on the Irris Home site
Classic Trolley and Bar Cart
Storage, serving, display - trolleys are very useful and convenient indeed to have in any house. Whether you are having a get-together or just have guests, you can use trolleys to keep essentials like drinks, snacks and cutlery in one place instead of having to carry it back and forth. Made of wood, this classic trolley measures 38″ in length, 33″ in height and 16″ inch width. Available on the site for Rs. 35,000.
Stained Glass Wall Art
Give your living room a touch of whimsical charm with this beautiful Frosted Stained Glass Vintage Dreamcatcher Stained Glass. Featuring a combination of butterfly and flower design this vibrant and striking piece art has been handmade using age-old authentic techniques that was employed in making Church windows, where hand-cut glass is placed into Leading Trim. This gorgeous decor art is available on the site for Rs. 8,500
Q&A Contd: Useful Tips from A Decorating Expert
- Q. Can you give us some guidelines on how to select home decor as gifts?
- First thing depends on the budget. I know the budget can vary a lot, but at the end of the day one knows what is the maximum one wants to spend on a gift. Then, it's also about if they want it to be a “cute” or cliche Instagrammable gift, or they want it to be something classy, longlasting and meaningful.. Something that the gift-recipient appreciates in a cultured, well-informed way. The gift should enhance the value of the space that it’s kept in, not be thrown out the day after the event, and become garbage.
- Q. What advice do you have for people who are doing up their home?
- I will ask them to have a specific style in mind and not leave everything to the interior designer. Because then it becomes more of the interior designer’s home versus their home. We have seen this with many of our clients and it happens sometimes they come with their interior designer to our store and they like something and the interior designer says, “oh no no this is not gonna match... this is not our theme” and then at the end they get so disappointed because they don't get what they want and they also don't like what the designer bought for them.
A home is meant to satisfy the home owner’s taste, so my advice is this: “If you have an interior designer, you can give them the bulk of the work but not all of it. Also don’t compromise on your own taste and dream products. Take time in handpicking everything, even if you take two to three months to do up the whole home.”
- Q. That happens a lot when somebody else is picking up something?
- They should take two or three months to get the whole package together so they can buy something else a couple of weeks later but don't rush in to finish the house just for a housewarming or some other one-time event.
- Q. Is there some range of products from Irris that you want to recommend?
- Most of the thing that I get are inspired by because I read a lot and I am a very visual person and most of the people that come to our shop they are more of people who know me from before or they have heard of us from somewhere else and they come to Irris sometimes because they have nowhere else to go and they were like we would just love to spend a couple of hours looking at all the unique things covering what's new because you know what's there now three months later its a totally different trend. We have a lot of things with embroidery going on right now and I am making these myself with my mother’s age-old hand techniques. I am at home, with my son, working together as a team. I have made sets of cocktail napkins and table runners. Some runners are woven by my son, and I am enhancing them by my embroidery which is non-floral, and with rarely found motifs. My whole family is quite creative in that way. My daughter is an interior designer and marketing specialist for architecture, my other son a photographer, and my Down’s son a weaver.
Tips for Making Home Offices Chic and Comfy
- Q. As Work From Hom (WFH) becomes the norm, how can people make living spaces more comfortable for work?
- I feel many houses in India are typically designed by interior designers. They usually make the kid’s bedroom really tiny and covid or not covid it’s very strange that just because they are kids you make their rooms smaller when they are the ones who need a bigger space to play and to study, to really let their mind flow. So even now with covid coming in, WFH becoming the norm, my advice is that it's good to separate different zones so that you don't get sick of the same place, and get a mood change. Have enough ergonomic furniture that is keeping your back straight, keeping your posture good so that by the end of the day you are not suffering from severe back pain or just dizziness because the light is so bad. Get enough sun, and make sure there is ample natural light in the rooms.
- Q. What about from the home decor perspective?
- From the home decor perspective do not make your home like a hotel and put in all kinds of stuff on the match just for it to look nice on Instagram or your phone but keep things that are more comfortable to your eye.Don't feel it up with a lot of products, but just enough to make the house feel welcoming. For example, just because there is a niche carved out in the wall, does not mean you have to put something there. If anything, put a small plant.
Next Steps for Irris Home
- Q. What are your own interests?
- I love doing things with my hands so apart from what I am doing I just cannot resist but make something that's actually good for the market, so if we say embroidery, just for my own clothes or for gifting to friends & family, does not work for me. I am always creating something that will eventually find a place at someone's home through a sale. Other than that I read a lot. I am a big fan of Kinfolk magazine which is about slow living. I also run 3 guest houses under my umbrella Serena Villa, so I spend time with my guests. I am currently building a fourth guesthouse, so now I am doing the interior design & execution in the space.
- Q Are these linked to Irris or they are completely independent?
- My guesthouses are independent of the brand Irris, but all their products are from Irris, something the guests have always appreciated. They can see the same soul and simply love the curation.
- Q. What’s next for your brand?
- We are going more digital. We are also spending time on store renovations, but we do foresee that footfall will be less, covid or no covid. Our market is more upscale, with almost nothing less than $50, average cost being $200-$300, and furniture that can go upwards of $1.000. We have tried aggregator platforms in the past, but they have been disappointing.