Decorating your home? Express your uniqueness without overdoing it

Wednesday October 24 2012

Traditional theme decor style is  enduring

Traditional theme decor style is enduring, orderly and comfortable rolled into one. photo by Ismail Kezaala 

By Jacinta Odongo

Instilling a little personality into your home without over decorating it is a delicate balancing act. Most of us have at least visited and disliked various homes because of a number of things. It could be because of the color theme used on the walls, floor and furniture by the homeowner which is far too common.

According to Rice Nsiime, a home owner at Luzira, decorating a home can be done in a simple-unique way to avoid over-matching items as seen in many homes. One can decorate her home by playing around with her wall hangings, curtains, furniture and carpet.
“Large rooms can present a decorating challenge because there is so much space to fill. Successfully decorating a large living room means giving the space a definable character or style without doing too much. Large spaces require striking a balance to avoid adding too much or not enough, which could leave the room feeling chaotic or empty,” she explains.

“Most people go wrong in one direction or the other, either because they have no sense of where to draw the line as far as personalizing their space. Others leave things so plain that you would never know an individual with personality and a distinct history lived there. However, the trick is to create a living space which is comfortable for you and expresses your personal style, while also being appealing and welcoming to visitors,” Nsiime explains.
Annie Kamanyiro, an interior designer with Annie Metals Works, identifies three types of themes used for decorating homes. “Modern theme, contemporary theme and traditional also known as craft, are the three theme recommended for a unique home. However, blending together modern colors, décor, furniture and lighting with a contemporary or traditional look, can achieve the best interior style,” says Kamanyiro.

Modern theme
This is a type of interior that is made up new classy furniture to create a relaxing atmosphere with a cutting-edge look. Modern interior furniture is sleek and functional. “Asymmetrical circular and square lines should be incorporated into a few pieces which are used to decorate the interior. For example a simple square coach combined with a traditional wavy chair and a vessel can work out things,” she explains.

Modern is recognizable by its clean, unadorned interiors. Use of natural materials such as wood, leather, teak and linen are prominent. Molded plywood and plastic are also very popular in modern furniture, as well as polished metal.
“In modern design, the furniture is very open and raised off the floor allowing for an airy feeling. Walls are often white adding to the expansive feeling. Modern interiors generally have bare floors and if a carpet is used, they are typically wool, and neutral in color,” she says.

Contemporary theme
Contemporary by definition means existing, occurring, or living at the same time. And that is exactly the same for the use of the term in interior design. Contemporary design refers to what is popular or used right now. It can be very diverse, because it is ever changing and borrows pieces and styles from all different eras.


“It is made up of off-shelf modern furniture. Basically, it does not have to be something that is designed right now for example, furniture and art from the modern era are often used in contemporary design, and tradition moldings and millwork are incorporated in many cases,” Kamanyiro narrates.

Currently many elements of mid-century modern design are very popular and are being incorporated into contemporary designs. A contemporary home might incorporate large windows, unique or odd shapes, with the surrounding landscape. The finishes would use a lot of natural elements such as cedar and stone. Comfort and sustainability are key values that are important in a contemporary home.

The common characteristic of this style includes simple, clean lines with large windows devoid of decorative trim. A concrete ceiling, polished plaster walls, stunning timber flooring are also other characteristics of contemporary.

Traditional theme
Just like the name suggest this is a type of ageless interior design style that has the ability to provide a relaxing, casual and neat environment, using regularity and order as the main features to develop elegant design lines.

“This decorating style is durable and lasting and defines all different lifestyles, being rather functional than formal. It now a cliché that everyone has to buy a flat screen for his home but you can choose to stick to the old big screens to bring this antique. It is considered by many designers the best way to develop order and elegance without losing the touch of comfort, the casual look and the welcoming atmosphere,”Kamanyiro explains.

Traditional interior spaces usually reside in consistency which is generated by heavy furniture, regular arrangements with a highly developed sense of proportion. Within this style, everything seems to be in its own place as if it was meant to be there.

Paint and colour
Use paint and colour to warm up the large, open space of your living room. Choose a warm color for the walls to create a cozier feel in the room. Black Beige and gold are ideal if you want to keep the paint neutral. Red, chocolate brown or olive green are darker warm hues that can easily work in a large living room. Your entire color scheme should include a variety of warm colors as cool colors can make the space feel more expansive and create a cold, uninviting feeling.

The colors that are used to define a modern interior seem to be changing every day, but there are two underlying themes which are a mainstay for today’s modern look: natural colors and black/white combos. Natural colors such as warm reds, toned down yellows and greens and soft browns are often used to create a modern look. Black and white combos are utilized as well; though they are generally used alone or sparingly with the addition of natural colors.
To add up the traditional look, when considering walls, you should always make use of architectural features like moldings, rails or other trims and paint them in neutral colors, such as cream, white, light blues and greens.

Though you can always be creative, choosing them according to your personality and the mood these colors develop. You can even combine shades, by choosing different ones in your interior spaces, but make sure that the tones are similar, so the color transition won’t be noticed. The floors are not very important elements in the Traditional style, so don’t count on them to drag attention. A perfect pick for this style would be a hardwood floor covered with a carpet or rag.

Small, slender furniture will look out of place and easily be swallowed up in your large living room. Instead, opt for heavy pieces of furniture that are on scale with the size of the room. Use high quality wood essences like cherry or mahogany that pass their attributes on to the furniture pieces, lasting longer and not losing their elegant aspect.

“Always keep in mind your design purpose that is to create visual unity in the room. Thus choose matching furniture pieces and focus on their placement, developing arrangements that are symmetric, balanced and full of harmony. Larger sofas, overstuffed chairs, large tables and solid bookshelves will hold their own in a large room. Choose pieces that work together whether they complement or contrast each other rather than throw a bunch of mismatched pieces in the room just because of their size,” she adds.