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21st Aug 2022

Architect Africa Online

Africa's Leading Architecture Aggregator

Décor and design hacks

Although 2020 brought about the term ‘the new normal’ it has taken some major adjustment to get used to this way of life. We spent a good part of last year adjusting to this term, which compelled us to become more tech-savvy while locked down in our homes


Not only were our eyes opened to this new way of living (and our minds to a new way of thinking), we also sat for long periods of time, forced to really notice our safe spaces – that paint colour on the wall, the layout of the TV room, the overused kitchen – and trying to cleverly create a decent home/office workplace for all. Suddenly our curtains seemed a little shabby, our cupboards a little too tightly packed with unnecessary knick-knacks. Forced time at home simply woke us up. Not only to behaving more responsibly, but to making our personal space more aesthetically pleasing and more deserving of our time. Comfort, and a unique way of working together under one roof, became an integral part of our daily lives.

You may not be a decorator or designer but, despite sounding cliched, home is certainly where the heart is and if you’re reading this you are clearly open to turning your rooms into the best spaces you possibly can. You may even be looking to buy a place for investment purposes or for use as a holiday home. Whatever your need, help is at hand to make it more inviting. These pointers will assist you in accentuating the strengths in your sanctuary, allowing you to create an appealing space without spending a fortune. So, let’s discuss what’s trending in décor and design this year and how to utilise these ideas for your home.

Add a lick of paint

It’s relatively inexpensive and easy to do. By painting one wall a different colour you can create a space that is super relaxing in your home. What colour, you ask? Blue seems to be a popular choice for 2021 and has been known to achieve a calming aura. Paint an accent wall or even a supporting pillar and choose from a variety of blues to instantly add a soothing tone.

See the light

Filling one’s home with sunlight has never been more important. Increase your serotonin levels by letting in as much natural light as possible. Invite in this light by removing heavy-set curtains or adding sheer blinds to your windows instead. If sheer curtains or new blinds are not within budget, simply leave that window space bare, and let the sunshine in.

To plant or not to plant

Plants are awesome and make any space look and feel beautiful. And, happily, the houseplant has never been more fashionable. The sheer greenery and choosing interesting storage pots can lift one’s spirit. Plants are low maintenance, easy to handle, easy to find and easy to care for.

Forget formal

Gone are the days of formal areas within homes. Besides, who are we inviting over anyway? Let’s turn those formal rooms into functional and cosy living areas. After all, we need all the space we can get. Comfort is key for 2021.

Keep it natural 

A natural texture is always a winner in any home. So, try to stick to natural elements such as wicker storage units, some wooden furniture pieces and earthy tones when choosing decor pieces. Go for faux fur, a bit of leather or just about anything natural and clean to create an extra homey touch.

Minimalism is so last year

Let your rooms envelope you with a huge warm hug (it’s been a while). Get rid of unnecessary clutter and play with a more curated look. Do it cleverly – use art, sculpture or décor pieces to create a fabulously warm look and feel. You know what you like, so stick to that and bring out all those cool collectibles or inherited encyclopaedias to create a warm and inviting feel. We are slowly evolving our homes to be fulfilling, memorable and interesting spaces, but on a maximalist level. (Note to self: Maximalism does not equal clutter.)

Toss it

Go through all of the things you love and don’t be scared to get rid of the things you really don’t need. If you haven’t thought about it, you really don’t need it anymore. Cleverly storing items is an art – and easy to do. Find a great unit for storage and choose only the pieces you know you will miss to put away. Keep games and crafts together, but get rid of that old Monopoly set that is missing a few pieces.

Kitchen chic

The kitchen is often the heart of the home. Forget white and grey, it’s time to get creative with your wall cabinets (re-paint them), storage and general layout in this space. Use new wall tiles or add vinyl stickers to existing ones, play with images on splashbacks or show off some of your amazing appliances. The kitchen area can easily become a work of art in your home and a great space for everyone to congregate.

True colours 

It’s time to infuse your home with personality by adding some adventurous colour bombs – bright yellow scatter cushions, a patterned throw or an emerald green piece of furniture. Splashes of colour or some patterns show off a home’s personality and can add warmth and quirkiness to any room. Peel-and-stick wallpaper also creates a great effect. Dare to be different, it’s not forever. You can easily apply a patterned sticker or easy-apply wallpaper and remove it when you grow tired of that look. Or better yet, find an inexpensive, colourful rug to make a more neutral space really pop. The beauty of being your own decorator is the abundance of suppliers you have access to online. An internet search is quick and easy, and you’re sure to find fabulous choices at competitive prices. Be it a few colourful scatties, coffee table books, a great candle or some funky artwork, life’s too short to not take décor chances. If you like it and it works for you, it simply can’t be wrong.

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