Makeover Your Home

A splash of colour and a dash of accessories; here are tips from Lim Wee Lee, Ascott's Interior Designer, to design your home

Issue: Nov 2010

Modern Asian Style
The modern Asian inspired style of the recently renovated Somerset Liang Court

Somerset Liang Court Singapore recently completed the renovation and refurbishment of all two-bedroom residences and one-bedroom executive residences. Reflecting a refreshing and modern Asian style, the interior design of the apartments is the work of Lim Wee Lee, Manager of Product & Technical Services, The Ascott Limited. She has 15 years of interior design experience. Using her makeover of Somerset Liang Court as an inspiration, we bring you her 10 design tips that you can apply to your own homes.

Tip 1: Comforts of Home

Lim’s design principle is derived from her definition of home. “Home is a place we feel familiar, comfortable and homely,” she notes. Through wonderful combinations of fabrics on furniture, window treatments and accessories, Lim has imbued the residence with softness and built up layers of comfort. Besides that, she also thinks from the point of view of the residents. “When designing a serviced residence, it is important to consider a design that would be practical, easy to maintain and comfortable in the extreme,” she says.

Tip 2: Essentials for a Modern Asian Theme

To create a modern Asian theme akin to what you experience at Somerset Liang Court, Lim suggests drawing your inspiration from the natural world. Make use of wood such as walnut and beech, and colours such as wheat and taupe. “Neutral interiors are always serene and uncluttered,” she comments. “They are calm and soothing in their simplicity.” Above all, balance is important for the modern Asian theme, so none of the furnishings or colours should dominate or fight for attention. Every object therefore has a value and is chosen for the inherent beauty it brings to the particular environment.

Tip 3: Map out Your Game Plan

Part of the challenge is to stay focused on what the priorities are and what the budget will allow. Lim shares, “It really does help the creative process when you are strict with yourself. Work within the constraints and create something that meets and satisfies your needs – one that is functional and versatile as it is beautiful and nurturing.”

Tip 4: Dump the Rules!

Enjoy freedom when you are designing for your home. Combine elements that you would not expect and always design with texture in mind. For instance, clear glass appears more brilliant when placed next to opaque, hence the interesting contrast in texture will add depth and character to a space you can truly call it your own.

Tip 5: Making the Most of Your Space

Space is usually a major constraint for home owners, but look at your property as a fluid whole in order to derive the best spatial solution for the required functions of each room. By zoning it effectively, you can make the space workable. Once you have worked out the zones, it is like a canvas on which you can start your masterpiece. Make the most of original features, such as beams, windows and floor finishes, and add on accents of colour and texture to enhance what you already have. Find pieces of furniture bold enough for the dimensions of the room, and add lighting to different zones for a dash of character and wit.

Wallpaper
Turn your walls into canvas of art with the use of wallpaper or interesting paint colours and textures

Tip 6: Don’t Wall Up Your Imagination

Unless you have a collection of art to display, the wall is not simply a backdrop for your home. Push out the boundaries when deciding how to cover it. “Walls are all about creating surprises, so engender excitement with over-scaled images or unexpected accent colours,” shares Lim. “The only restriction is your own imagination!” So explore ways to add texture; whether through something contemporary such as accent emulsion paint, or invoke a more retro feel through bold flocked wallpaper.

Funky Lighting
Mood lighting can transform your room instantly

Tip 7: Transform with a Flick

Lighting can instantly create the right mood for the environment. Lee says, “Functional, atmospheric and sculptural lighting has become one of the most dynamic design ingredients of the era. Good lighting can transform an average room into something truly wonderful.” So how do you create a visually stunning multifunctional space? Lim shares a quick tip: Use lighting to zone different areas of your home. In that way, you can bring out the beauty of texture and colours within each zone. Remember to build maximum flexibility into the lighting scheme so that pieces of furniture or pictures could be moved around in the future and still be well lit.

Tip 8: Balance Aesthetics with Practicality

Lim thinks designing a home is akin to getting dressed in the morning: you may have a lot of different styles in your wardrobe, but you would not try to wear everything at once! She emphasises on the importance of texture. “Texture helps us to recognize the hot and cold atmospheres within a home,” she said. “Kitchen often feels harder and sharper in comparison to other rooms but it is possible to add natural ingredients that will warm them up, such as woods or woven baskets. Bedrooms should be sensual and warm: satins, chenille and carpets have a part to play in achieving this.” So create a balance by added touches of warmth to cold environments, and vice versa.

Oil burner/ flowers/ scented candles
Add a sensual touch to enhance the beauty of your home

Tip 9: Accessorise for a Finishing Touch

The final fun is in adding layers of sensuality to your almost-complete work of art. Scent is important and gives a comforting experience, so introduce this through scented candles, oil burners, flowers or a combination of all of them. “One should notice the smell of your home the moment they walk through the front door,” says Lim. “Music is also a wonderful ingredient, because it helps us to unwind and relax.” So don’t forget these finishing touches before your visitors arrive!

Simple accessories
Simple accessories give an instant twist to your home

Tip 10: The 3 ‘Must-Splurges’ for an Instant Home Makeover

And if you are planning on a home makeover on a budget, Lim suggests three items you can splurge on to get maximum impact. First, the need for cushions. They are inexpensive and freely available in myriad of colours and textures, cushions can transform the look of a room in seconds, taking it instantly from winter to summer, or formal to informal. Second, express your personality and wit through artworks. An attractive centrepiece can be a great talking point for gatherings and parties. Last but not least, why not revamp something old to something new? Revitalise existing pieces of treasured furniture and give them a new look by changing its upholstery or transforming its usage to something else. By giving it a new lease of life, it’s greener for the planet too!

Inspired? Start planning for that home makeover you’ve always wanted with these simple tips!

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