Cut Your Costs
Architect Bharat Gandhi shows
how you can get value-for-
money interiors by choosing
the right materials.
Stretch your imagination – not your budget
Studies have shown that people in our country go in for a complete or partial remodeling and decoration of their homes before the festive season begins. Most of them, however, do not realize that it is possible to decorate a home within a restricted budget and in a cost-effective manner, without losing out on the aesthetics.
One of the reasons why this happens is that sometimes people are attracted to the interiors displayed in films and television serials. They get carried away and end up specifying unnecessary, costly materials and items, which may not really be suitable for our climatic conditions or the specific room.
Only average lighting is required in the living room, but we tend to provide indirect as well as direct lights along with highlights on artifacts or paintings, making it into an art gallery. Just using one form of direct or indirect lighting would be adequate and one can save a good amount on wiring, fixtures, fittings and recurring electrical costs.
A cosy seating system comprising a sofa with legs instead of something touching the floor can make your living room feel bigger as well as easier to clean and mop the floors.
Comfortable furniture with one or two artistic pieces as a backdrop can make the room functional and pleasing to the eye. It is advisable to use a closely knitted fabric for the upholstery, which would collect dust in a lesser proportion.
When it comes to kitchens, greater emphasis should be given to the use of durable material as we use a lot of water for cleaning and our cooking uses a lot of oil and spices like turmeric. Due to this, kitchen cabinets made from particleboards or medium density fiberboards covered by laminates do not last very long. Hinges and laminates fixed on these boards give way easily and screws also corrode fast, due to which the shutters eventually fall off.
Pure teakwood or any imported wood for kitchen cabinet shutters makes them very durable. Water and oil fumes will not easily affect such wood. The price of the teakwood panels may seem to be costlier initially, but when compared to the marine plywood with laminates on both sides comes to more or less the same.
For the casing of the cabinets, there is a cost-effective and more durable material made from cement and wood particle compressed together. Such boards are heavier than the normal boards, waterproof, more solid and slightly brittle. These boards are not at all prone to termites and woodborers. It is advisable to cover these boards with laminates from both sides.
Using the cement and wood particleboard with commercial ply can result in a saving of up to 20 per cent. The only negative point about this material is that carpenters have to put in some extra effort.
One should also try to evaluate which existing furniture items can be reused by refurnishing or dismantling. For instance, an old plywood study tabletop can be cut and used as wardrobe shelves. Existing kitchen cabinet shutters can be turned and reused by passing new laminate on the other side. Six mm and 12mm glass can be used as shelves in the unit.
When it comes to the finishing, remember the hard polish of veneer and wood emits more warmth then melamine polish as it brings out the texture and character of the material.