BY MALATI K. VIJAY
Luxury is no longer merely about wealth, it is also about how your surroundings make you feel
Luxury in interiors brings to mind opulence and extravagance: top-of-the-line furniture, expansive interiors, glossy surfaces, shiny accessories, splendorous lights, and the like. But that would be a superficial way of looking at luxury. In contemporary times, the perception of luxury goes beyond what money can buy. It is no longer about the objects that surround you; it is about how the surroundings make you feel.
While luxury means different things to different people, what it underlines is creativity, authenticity and a keen attention to personalisation and detail. Your surroundings must, in the first place, make you feel comfortable and happy. They must instil a sense of calm and contentment in you. They are woven around the people living there as an extension of their self-expression, taking into account their specific experiences and lifestyles.
It is about indulging yourself in what brings you the utmost joy. Someone may want to splurge on every element from high-end flooring and designer furniture to the choicest accessories, others may choose to put money on a select few things, and curate a harmonious space that enhances their life experiences.
You do not always need a lot of money to achieve it. Unlike in the past, when luxury was the preserve of the wealthy, today good design has become more democratic. Anyone with the ability to express their creativity and individuality through the spaces they live in can achieve it. You only need an eye for balance and details. And the space needs to naturally reflect your unique personality. If you try too hard, it is not luxury.
SOME FEATURES OF LUXURY INTERIORS
SPACES TIED TOGETHER IN HARMONY
It is not about coordinating colours, or achieving perfect symmetry, or buying high-end furniture. It is about creating a space where everything feels held together in harmony. Shapes and proportions, colours and patterns, scales and volumes should blend cohesively, with no element appearing out of place. “Without a careful balance, even an expensive combination of materials, furniture and accessories could look incoherent. In order to inject a sense of calm, stick to essential design and decorate the space with a keen sense of detail and style. It should be a treat for all senses,” say Hardesh and Monica Chawla of Essentia Environments.
NEUTRAL COLOUR PALETTE
The airy and seamless vibe created by a neutral palette is both soothing and luxurious. Chic shades like grey, white, beige or taupe help in evoking a sense of expanse and sophistication. It is the perfect canvas for a play of accent shades, exquisite furniture and statement accessories. “By dialling down the base colour, you can enhance the visual interest with textures and tonal variations. Also, there is something very soothing about such a palette. It fills the mind with an expansive feeling and relaxes you immediately,” say Hardesh and Monica.
While materials like marble, solid wood, velvets, silk, leather, etc, help in imparting a sumptuous look to your space, you could find suitable alternatives that are less expensive, yet are chic and stylish. For example, micro cement and terrazzo flooring are sought-after flooring options that look elegant and sophisticated. “Micro cement offers a minimal look and can be applied seamlessly from floor to walls to give your interiors a muted, yet luxurious look. Brass- or gold-finished metal inlay adds a hint of glamour to the
flooring,” say Rashi Bothra and Ruchi Gehani of Azure Interiors. There is a range of latest tiles, laminates and veneers that allow you to achieve any look you want for your surfaces. Artisanal materials like cane, linen, cotton too have the power to exude luxury when used cleverly.
CUSTOMISATION AND COMFORT
When everything has the stamp of your personality and lifestyle, you feel naturally comfortable in such a space. Comfort is the main ingredient of luxury. However opulent and stylish, if a space doesn’t make you feel good, then it is not luxury. Whether you buy ready-made furniture or get it customised, it should suit the context and make you feel welcome. “With custom furniture, you can add just the right hue you have in mind, or a shape that stands out. When you can personalise your space to such an extent, that’s true luxury,” says Meenu Agarwal of MADS Creations. Curate curtains, cushions, rugs and accessories to add a unique aesthetic to your home.
LAYERS AND DETAILS
Carefully introduced layers and details indicate that a lot of thought and care have gone into conceiving the design. Wallpapers, accent lights, artworks, rugs and accessories add an artistic dimension to your décor.
“Ceiling details like exposed wood beams add depth to the space, giving an illusion of height. Wall panels create a feeling of cosiness and luxury,” say Bothra and Gehani.
A quilted headboard added to your bed or curtains that hang from the ceiling and almost touch the floor enhance the luxe quotient of your space.
MINIMALISM By taking away the things that do not add meaning to the décor scheme, you shift the focus on things that are really beautiful and belong in the space. “We believe in ‘have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful’. Getting rid of clutter creates visually relaxing spaces that evoke a feeling of
well-being. It compels you to lavish attention on the things that you want to have around,” say Hardesh and Monica.
You don’t always need gold to evoke luxury in a space, but it really helps. “A sure-fire way to introduce a luxe vibe in a space is through gold accents of different shades, whether it is rose gold, dull gold or antique,” says Agarwal. “Metallic finishes, whether in the form of furniture accents or accessories, or even as details on the wall or flooring, inject a sense of opulence into the space.” Changing the kitchen and bathroom fixtures to brass or gold finish adds a lot of oomph to the whole atmosphere.
A NOD TO NATURALNESS
Today, more than ever, luxury has come to mean sensitivity towards the environment. Good design sensibility immediately implies love for authentic and natural elements. A nod to natural materials like locally sourced stones, wood, linen, cotton, cane and their responsible employment are the hallmark of high design. Similarly, natural forms and shapes, and potted plants are an intrinsic part of luxury interiors.
The writer is a Bengaluru-based freelance journalist and content consultant. Formerly with the Times of India, Economic Times and Livingetc India, she writes primarily on design, art and lifestyle. She also enjoys giving a healthy twist to various cuisines.
@malati03 @madscreations @rashibothra @azureinteriors @essentiaenvironments