A house doesn’t become a home until you’ve filled it with all sorts of furniture and home décor to really put your own stamp on the place.
But the extensive varieties of furniture available can make it difficult – have you ever walked into an IKEA store? And that’s all from one country! Where do you even start? How do colour, size, type and style come into play?
As daunting as it might sound, designing a space that mirrors your personal aesthetic is totally achievable. It’s all about finding the right furniture to match your vision; once that’s done, you’re on your way to creating a home straight from mood board tear sheets.
From defining a style to designing around a signature piece, here are some furnishing ideas that will make your living space the kind of home you’ve always wanted.
Scandinavian style is all about clean lines, minimalist looks, light hues and fuss-free aesthetics. In a way, it reflects the Nordic lifestyle: light, disciplined, practical, elegant.
Timeless designs and quality materials mean that these pieces will fit well in airy, minimalist interiors and pair wonderfully with industrial and farmhouse items, but they’re also very practical.
Long-legged chairs mean lots of storage potential beneath and the simple design lines mean that Scandinavian furniture, in general, is easy to care for.
NestNordic.com is one of the foremost Scandinavian-inspired furniture providers here, and it prides itself on offering pieces that embody all the best traits of Nordic style.
Their three design concepts use different materials and themes to suit the target audience: the Mature series has a darker palette and uses more luxurious materials, the Young series is brighter and more fashion-forward, while Neutral’s pastel-hued pieces are practical yet stylish.
Photo: Coreo Hida-Takayama
Ever heard of the word ‘zen’? In simple terms, it’s often associated with calm, peace and serenity. This state of existence finds its roots in traditional Japanese culture, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Japanese homes seek to reflect that tranquillity.
In furniture terms, it is regularly equated with minimalism and flexibility, using a lot of natural materials and incorporating Japanese aesthetic themes.
Wood and bamboo elements feature heavily in Japanese furniture as a nod to their culture . Japanese also value the space in a room, so don’t try to clutter up a room with too much bric-a-brac – keep it neat and elegant.
Furniture also tends to be low to the ground, such as a squat wood plank table surrounded by plush cushions in place of a dining table with high-backed chairs.
Acclaimed Japanese furniture maker Coreo Hida-Takayama is famed for creating high quality wooden furniture using the traditional Japanese methods of wood bending and joinery, making it highly durable.
All designs celebrate the natural beauty of wood – this extends to tableware, vases, clocks and tabletops made from a single slab of tree trunk. You can even get your own made-to-order wooden dining table or bench.
Photo: Senasia Collection
Bali is famous for more than being just the ultimate Southeast Asian tropical getaway; it’s also renowned for its furniture. It’s said that the Indonesians learnt how to make furniture from the Dutch, and the joins in particular – some of which ‘lock’ by wooden pegs – are a distinct characteristic of this type of style.
Balinese furniture is typically made out of teak or other quality hardwood, which makes it durable. Natural elements are a big part of Balinese furniture and, by extension, tropical pieces in general. Besides hardwood, rattan and bamboo are also used to make furniture, while natural fibres like sisal are used in rugs.
Intricate carvings give character to decorations and furniture pieces – and day beds, placed inside or outside, instantly make you think of lounging around in a tropical Bali resort.
Unsurprisingly, many pieces offered by Senasia Collection are made from wood, but not just any wood – recycled teak wood from reclaimed ships. Each piece is painstakingly handcrafted by skilled craftsmen in Indonesia and Thailand, ranging from cabinets and chairs to dividers and chest boxes.
The intricacy of the work and the interesting colours ensure a room decorated with these items will look elegantly exotic.
Having sustainable furniture made of recycled materials does a service to the earth – and if made well, looks just as good as any high-end piece. This type of furniture is mostly made from solid wood, recycled metal or sometimes a combination of both, while designs tend towards the sleek, contemporary look.
Since part of the point is to showcase the natural beauty of these objects, sustainable furniture pieces are rarely painted and so come in original wood or metal hues.
Advanced tools and craftsmanship transform wood and metal into modern pieces that will suit chic rooms and homes. If well-maintained, these furniture pieces will last a while as they have to be made out of quality materials to be worth reworking to begin with.
Ethnicraft Online, the online branch of international furniture design brand Ethnicraft, produces stunning pieces primarily from teak and oak wood.
They ensure that all their wood comes from sustainably managed forests and all production waste like sawdust and leftover wood is reused. Their pieces draw inspiration from European furniture design concepts: think minimalist, clean and sleek.