Thursday, August 19, 2010

Go traditional, or trendy

With Hari Raya around the corner, a celebrity interior designer shares tips on giving your living space a fresh look.
UNLIKE the fashion world, the paint industry picks only one key colour for an entire year, and this shade will be marketed during its year of reign.
How do the experts arrive at the colour of the year?
Every year a group of interior designers, colourists, economists, fashion designers and architects will get together to anoint a key colour.
Use olive green for your feature wall and dark brown for beams, Leong suggests.
As 2010 is deemed to be airy and optimistic, sky blue, a liberating and soothing hue,has been chosen as the colour of the year for interior and exterior spaces by Colour Futures, an ongoing worldwide colour trend research, forecasting and development effort by one of the world’s leading paints and coatings manufacturer, AkzoNobel and ICI Dulux Paints.

With Hari Raya around the corner, we caught up with celebrity interior designer and ambassador for ICI Dulux Paints, Eric Leong.
Leong, with his signature bald head and ever-ready smile, is the host of popular interior design makeover TV show since 2001, Casa Impian(now known as Deko Bersama Eric) and Cantik tak?, his latest TV show where he picks impressive show houses in Malaysia and shares his views on the interior design at these units.
At an interview in Petaling Jaya, 39-year-old Leong says that colours have a very powerful influence and they affect the outlook in the world.
“The year 2004 will be remembered as that of the Gulf War and when the economic outlook wasn’t very good. So orange became the key colour in 2005 – representing hope. In 2008 gold was a hot favourite, to reflect the spirit of the Olympic Games,” he points out.
Closer to home and for this Raya celebrations, Leong says if sky blue is not your shade, he recommends a traditional Raya makeover for your urban home.
Eric Leong
What’s a traditional Raya?
Just think about the rustic feel of your kampung, the wooden beams and stilts, the guli guli (marbles) that kids play on the porch, the fairy lights hanging on thatched roofs and an assortment of greenery to complete that warm fuzzy feeling.
For this Raya, Leong picks shades from the kampung and sets the colour tones for your home using dark browns to greens. But he adds, “Apple green is over, so this Raya use olive green instead. It has a darker shade and is perfect for a feature wall.”
Doing a makeover for your home can be perplexing so Leong has come up with an easy eight-step guide to help you along, plus some tips on Raya accessories. .
First, determine your Raya décor theme – it is the main theme for your home, especially the living room, as this space gives the first impression of a home.
Then select the festive colour scheme to represent a unique Raya theme. Leong says this colour can be similar to the colour of the house owners’ baju Raya, for a complete look.
Step three involves the selection of the feature wall. What’s that?
“It’s the first wall you see when you enter a room. Painting this wall with a darker colour creates a visual depth.
“Non-feature walls should be painted in a lighter tone of colour. This method can be applied to any room, except the bedroom (where the feature wall is always the wall behind the bed),” he explains.
Move on to step four: re-arrange your existing furniture and add soft furnishings, such as throw cushions or runners to create a festive ambience.
“You needn’t buy new furniture. Just buy material to wrap over or throw over existing furniture and add on cushions to make it look new,” Leong says.
The next thing to do is to select your Raya lighting. He recommends the use of warm lighting to create a yellowish and warm ambience for a room; add fairy lights to enhance the festive mood.
To soften the interior, bring in soft furnishings, including curtains, throw cushions, rugs, carpets, comforters, bed sheets, etc. Leong advises that you should select the same colour family as the feature wall for these.
Then, on to step seven, the fun part of choosing your festive décor accessory – which is crucial in further enhancing the festive spirit.
“Avoid selecting small décor accessories. Instead, choose one or two big or over-sized items to create visual impact. Besides, you wouldn’t want to spend time dusting and cleaning small items!”
Leong points out that the placement of the décor item is also important:d you need to identify the “hot spot” in each room.
This is where a guest will look directly at immediately upon entering a room.
“A festive accessory is not only a decorative piece; it can be a talking point or an ice-breaker for your guests. So, choose something unique that will get people excited about.”
Finally, Leong recommends the use of candles and fresh flowers.
“Candles are one of the most economical warm light sources. They can be placed on the floor or the table. If it’s on the table, make it the centre piece. If there are children in the house, always be careful when using candles.”
Leong says that plastic flowers may look appealing for a few days, but after awhile you’d forget about it.
“Fresh flowers bring life to a room and you can change them every week to give your room a new mood,” he advises.
Well, if you’re not in the mood to follow tradition this Raya, Leong says that going for a trendy Raya may just make your home stand out.
So, go ahead and reinvent your private space with sky blue, the hottest colour for 2010. It’s a shade that encourages fresh starts!
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