Before you get caught up in those last-minute alterations to your Eid ka jora, we would like to remind you that the festive nature of Eid ought to be depicted not just in your clothes but in your homes as well. With about two more weeks to go before the celebration begins, why not give your home an Eid makeover? These innovative project ideas can help you rejuvenate a stale interior and impress all those guests.
Make an entrance:
Re-doing the lighting on the exterior of your home is a great way of endowing your front porch a new personality. A well-lit exterior makes the interior appear warm and welcoming so swap your white lights for warm, yellow bulbs and make your home a golden-coated wonderland. “Try to enhance the nicer areas of your home with warm lighting — general lighting is no good,” suggests renowned interior designer Sam Abbas. “Focus the glare on one attraction, say a particular tree or a large pot of flowers. Anything that will highlight the plus points of your outdoors.” Sarah Bilgrami, Creative Director at Najmi Bilgrami Collaborative, a Karachi-based architecture and interiors firm says “Make sure there are ample plants to go with the lights! The two combined will make a great first impression on your guests.” For added measure, you can install a few low-voltage garden lights to help you and your guests carry the conversation into the night whilst enjoying the monsoon breeze outside. “Solar lights and garden lanterns look beautiful at night, especially with a long driveway,” adds Sarah. Word of warning though: avoid too much wiring as it can prove quite problematic outdoors.
Primp the powder room
The poor powder room is often a cramped room under the staircase, but who knew that could be a plus point? “The best thing about the powder room is that it is small and there is no shower there, meaning no steam issues, so there is plenty that one can do to spruce it up,” explains Sam. A contrasting wall-paper on one side of the powder room can brighten it up instantly and make it appear new.
There is also a great variety of decorative towels, scented candles and even flavoured hand washes and lotions to add colour and personalisation to the powder room. “Since we are having a summer Eid, it is best to go with whites or pastel colours. Change your towels and floor mats to peaches, creams and other light summery hues and create a contrast by adding soaps, candles and bottles of a darker colour, like purple,” Sam advises.
“Make sure the bathroom fittings are shiny or all your efforts will prove futile,” adds Sarah. Clean and polish all bathroom fittings at least two days prior to Eid so as to grant ample time for the smell of bleach and polish mixtures to air.
Doctor the drawing room
Accent walls can inject life into a dull drawing room by becoming the focal point. To create one, select the largest or most prominent wall and adorn it with wallpaper, paintings, carpets, calligraphy and other forms of artwork. If your drawing room is small, adding a large mirror to the accent wall will make it appear much larger, especially if it is flanked by a pair of big chairs or planters. You can also paint the accent wall a darker, contrasting colour to draw the guests’ attention. But remember, “placement is everything” as Sam warns. Once you have selected a theme and colour scheme for the accent wall, the rest of your decor should fall in line. “Add matching knick-knacks like cushions, candles and flowers to accessorise the room,” says Sam.
According to Lahore-based interiors specialist, Attiya Noon, “people tend to have linear and dull drawing rooms which over time become very boring.” Oftentimes, conversation is lost across the open space or people get divided. “A great way to avoid this is by adding a pair of chairs or a tiny settee and making the drawing room more open to allow for easy traffic,” suggests Attiya. Creating angular seating in the room also encourages free-flow of conversation.
When your guests flock to the Eid table, give them more to look at than just the siwaiyaan and cholay. Every dining room needs a beautiful talking-point and a dining table centrepiece can leave your guests dazzled. Create a large, flowery centre-piece by investing in a high-quality crystal vase and getting a fancy bouquet made. Think carefully about the colours on your table and match the centrepiece with your dinnerware. According to Attiya, “Tall vases make the most impact” and bright-coloured flowers boost it further. “Personally, I would avoid plastic flowers as they accumulate too much dust,” advises Sam. “Real flowers add much more colour and charm. Match your plates, crockery or table-runner with the flowers and you will have a table fit for a royal feast!”
If flowers are not your thing, you can still make a beautiful table centrepiece using Moroccan candle-lanterns, candelabras or even a glass vase filled with seashells and painted pebbles, as shown in the picture. “The idea is to catch the guests’ eyes so anything big and conspicuous should do,” concludes Sarah.
Serve in Style
There are plenty of tray trends out there that can come in useful when you are serving your Eid guests. “Personalisation goes a long way when it comes to trays,” explains Sarah. “Don’t just place the platter in your guest’s face but add a touch of creativity by mixing and matching plates and bowls, arranging the cutlery in an artistic manner or including flowers on the trolley tops,” she advises. Tiny candles lit around food dishes make for great presentation. Sam goes a step further by stressing upon the importance of placement once again, saying that “how things are arranged, be it furniture or food, can change everything.” Try to stage the trolley such that not only are all items visible clearly but also look appealing aesthetically and the colours and patterns become evident. Invest in new equipment or polish old one to give a treat to both your guests’ tummies and eyes!
The first thing we notice upon entering a room is how it smells and with all those guests coming over to your home, that too in this scorching weather, it is crucial that your drawing room and dining areas maintain a pleasant aroma throughout! In fact, according to Sam, “A pleasant smelling home should not just be reserved for Eid and other occasions. It ought to be an everyday pleasure.” Local markets are full of room fresheners, scented candles, incense sticks and potpourri making it easy to create a great ambience for your guests. The scent you choose should convey not just your mood but the festive spirit of Eid!
Published in The Express Tribune, Ms T, July 28th, 2013.
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