Living in the UAE as an expat, you can never be quite sure how long you will be staying for and with the majority of us living in rented accommodation, people can be reluctant to invest in making their house have that homely feel - but why wait to create your dream house?
We chatted to Internationally renowned Interior designer, John Amabile to get the low down on the very latest design trends as well as his top tips for making your house in Dubai feel like your home, without breaking the bank.
Q: What hot design trends can we expect to see in the next year?
A: As people travel around the globe more and more, we are seeing geography playing a key role in interior design – people take inspiration from their favourite destinations and interpret them into their living space.
Whether you love the architecture of the Taj Mahal, the sandy beach paradise of the Maldives or the Middle Eastern way of life, you’re looking for a theme that works for you.
People are looking to personalise things a lot more too – interior design is about understanding someone’s personality and taste, and making it work for them. That stops us all living in a series of cream boxes.
Q: Do you have any tips for recreating a showhome look on a budget?
A: Storage, storage and more storage. If you have a coffee table, get one with drawers. If you’ve got side or lamp tables, look for drawers. And it’s also very fashionable to have a sideboard now; it’s made a big comeback into the interior design of a room.
All these things ensure our everyday clutter is hidden away, and that’s what people love about showhomes – they are pristine. There are no shirts over the back of the chair in the bedroom!
To get the look of a showhome, first and foremost you have to de-clutter and minimalise before adding the wow factor, which usually comes down to adding bling, faux furs, textures and warmth.
Q: If you only have the budget for one big item, what would you opt for?
A: In the bedroom I would say the headboard and bedside lamps are the most important item. If they are fabulous, they can lift the look of everything else in the room even if it’s plain.
In the dining room, I would plump for dining chairs and – if you can – a big chandelier. But in the kitchen it’s the other way around, as often the more minimal the look, the more attractive it feels.
Bathrooms again, keep everything as minimal and sleek as possible – glass panels, walk-in showers and wet rooms are all very fashionable right now.
However, even accessories such as cushions can give an old sofa a fantastic new look. And the same goes for a nice furry throw. For example, a lot of people love the modern Scottish feel – I myself have a few rooms styled like that at home – but you don’t want it to look like a tartan shortbread tin.
It’s about taking the look and working your way back.
Q: Can replacing your soft furnishing really make a big difference?
A: I recently did a quick turn-around for a lovely apartment. We couldn’t put anything on the walls, so with just a pair of curtains, some cushions on a very plain throw, a funky rug and some accessories, the room was completely transformed. And you can do it for a very small budget.
People also like to buy new, but just because an item doesn’t work in one room doesn’t mean it can’t work somewhere else.
Q: What do you think of Ikea?
There are two ways of looking at Ikea. I use Ikea a lot for people who want fitted walk-in wardrobes, as you could not get a joiner for the same price and finish. So for practical reasons, Ikea is fantastic.
I also think their basic range is great but they are probably to blame for a lot of us having the same thing. They really have been a life saver for people over the last 20 years – I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have at least one Ikea item in their house.
Look at their new products, look at their styling tips and look at their bedding. If you can get past the blandness, the brilliant stuff is absolutely brilliant.
Coming soon - John Amabile Design will be launching an Online Virtual Design Service. Visit his Facebook Page to find out more!