CAIRO: Redecoration is always a burden, whether financially or the amount of time involved. Summer homes are even worse; once people have spent a winter of frequent traveling overlooking the decoration of their beachside house and spending a fortune in the process they don t even want to think about renovations.
But giving the house a new look doesn t necessarily need the time or the money spent the first time around. There is more than one trick to save money and time.
For a fresh look, interior designer Rania Fahmi suggests a change in furniture upholstery, just rearranging the layout of the room provides a significant change. Buying a few cushions or changing the covers on the existing ones, Fahmi continues, would also give a different look to the place.
Interior designer Nahed Ghorbal says summer furniture doesn t require expensive fabrics and suggests opting for the cheaper alternative available in places like Wakalet El Balah.
All designers stress the element of space and the importance of avoiding clutter. Ghorbal prioritizes practicality, which means minimizing furniture to their essentials, whether in the living room or the bedroom.
Interior designer Karim Fekri says that space is perfect for summer home usage and also translates to less money spent on furniture. To accommodate the influx of visitors, he suggests using sizable cushions for seating.
Also changing the table covers would give a new look to the house. Fahmi suggests using runners and colored glasses and plates, especially on the dining table for both usage and decorative purposes. The way you layout the table with colored glasses will give you a sense of difference in the room, Fahmi explains.
As for the curtains, Fahmi says using inexpensive multi-colored fabrics will change the way the room looks and will brighten it up. Using stripes of different fabrics is also recommended. Another suggestion is to get rid of curtains all together and enjoy the panoramic view of the beach or the resort, Ghorbal notes. She says using transparent fabric for curtains could also do the trick.
Decorative accessories are also important and there are many inexpensive options in this category. Fahmi notes the way accessories could change the appearance of a room. She explains that qualitative artwork like flower vases, paintings, candles and glasswork could do, and make cheap furniture look better if properly placed and color coordinated.
Ghorbal recommends using sea and beach themed materials, like sea shells, star fish and sailor-like ornaments. Natural products made of earth material, like pottery and bamboo, are both cheap and fashionable.
Fekri suggests the recycling of old furniture and accessories. Old table stands, he explains, could be used as stands for the bathroom sink. Also, old birdcages and baskets could be used as lamp covers. A couple of old books casually placed on tables or end tables could decorate a room.
Ghorbal stresses on uniting the color scheme throughout the house. She recommends bright colors that best match the beach setting: blue, yellow, red, green and off-white. Fahmi suggests lime green, turquoise, purple and fuchsia. She says, however, to keep the walls white to accommodate future color changes.
Never be afraid of colors, says Fekri, stressing on the bright. Fahmi even suggests to paint the house yourself, using many of the easy-to-use, health-safe paints available at stores around the country.
Lighting is another area for economizing. Instead of the expensive chandeliers opt for lamps. Ghorbal says indirect lighting helps reduce the feeling of the hot weather.
All designers pointed to the importance of utilizing the outdoors. Ghorbal says not to economize in this area, since it is the most used in summer houses. Whether it is the garden, terrace or roof, built-in sofa settings are the best.
Fahmi says lighting is vital in places like the roof, since it is usually used at night. She suggests using dim lights and plants. Cushions could be in phosphoric lights, she adds.
For gardens, Fekri says making rock corners is both cheap and visually appealing. It s advisable to add different light colors.