Want a space that’s brimming with original touches? Interior designer Sopranda talks us through her top tips for finding and creating unique home furnishings and decor
As an expat in any city, it’s natural to be reluctant and investing time and money in home decor. But the problem with simply spending an afternoon in IKEA picking up the basic is that many houses end up with a similar, generic feel.
But the good news is that you don’t always have to part with large sums of cash to create a space that’s unique to you. And whether you’re doing up your dream home or kitting out your rented apartment, Dubai-based interior designer Sopranda has the tips and tricks to make your space stand out.
Sopranda’s tips for designing a unique home in Dubai
For a home style that stands out, originality is key
In the UAE, it’s common to see the same kind of look in different people’s homes. And while it’s a dream to be able to walk into a store like Bloomingdale’s and buy everything new, if you’re not in a position to do so, or simply want to build it up over time, there are lots of ways to go about it.
The first step is to earmark any existing pieces you simply cannot part with
These may be items that have been passed down through the generations or pieces you’ve bought on your travels that are close to your heart. Next, separate out those pieces that are great quality but would benefit from a revamp or upgrade. Solid wood pieces, for instance, are always good to keep hold of as they’ll go the distance.
Struggling for inspiration on how to upgrade a piece? Think about contrasting opposites
For example, I reupholstered a pair of classic wooden chairs with a bold black and white chevron fabric and sanded the stained wood [pictured] to give them a contemporary lease of life.
Shake up the design of pieces you’ve fallen out of love with
What might you be able to remove or replace in order to turn it into a bespoke piece? I’m a fan of the Baroque look, and have used gold and silver leaf, such as on the legs of a metal and glass coffee table in my living room, as a way to completely transform its look. Just bear in mind that if you are using expensive materials to upgrade, to make sure the work is carried out by an expert who knows what they are doing, so you don’t waste your money.
If you’re seeking pre-loved pieces to upcycle, check out Dubai Flea Market and Dubizzle. Think big: I turned a teak tabletop into a statement picture frame, which has become a talking point in my home.
Seek out boutique stores for unique pieces
I recommend Obegi Home and Kare for unique, nonconformist pieces. The Odd Piece and ikon house at Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz are treasure troves for items with a vintage or antique vibe. For budget fabric, Naif Souk [near Naif Police Station] is a great place to browse – be sure to barter for the best price.
Adding some original art to your home will make a huge difference to the ambience
If you want some bespoke art, I highly rate Mohammed Rasool [055 471 1445] who is an artist, designer and calligrapher in Dubai. He is the owner of Rasul’s Gallery and has produced a number of stunning, bespoke artworks for my home.