When you’re gearing up to try something new, whether it be jumping off a cliff into a cool lake, expecting your first child, or buying a new home, you need a cheerleader in your corner. You know, a hype girl saying you got this! It’s going to be great! You can do it! I’m here to tell you Lonika Chande is your hype girl for getting out of your comfort zone at home. She is today’s guest expert, and it’s just one pearl of wisdom after another! CLJ Summer School students, sharpen your pencils and get ready to take some notes.
1. What is something I can try today in my home to get me out of my comfort zone?
There is no doubt about it that with interior design, you gain more confidence, the further you push the boundaries each time. You build this up incrementally. For example, with colour, you might paint a piece of joinery a wonderful bright colour in a family room, and next time you get the opportunity to decorate, you feel emboldened to take it up a notch and to paint an entire room in something vibrant. Paint in particular is so powerful, it’s the single most transformative thing that you can try out easily yourself at home. I generally find that you’re more likely to regret it when you decide to play it safe, and don’t take the risk, and look back and wish you’d taken the plunge, rather than the other way round.
2. What is your preferred source of inspiration?
Whenever possible, I visit exhibitions in London and take a lot of inspiration from these. I visited a Gaugin exhibition at the Royal Academy in London a few years back now and am still heavily influenced to this day by the powerful colour combinations. In terms of far flung travel, I have visited India a few times, and the depth of colour, textiles and architecture there–it is to me, like n0thing else on earth. I haven’t been for some years, but it has influenced my work ever since my first trip at 18 years old. I use a lot of Indian block prints in my work as a lining fabric, and a lot of rich colours I keep coming back to–Indian yellow is a favourite of mine.
3. How can I deal with decision paralysis?
I think the most difficult design decisions have been when it comes to making decisions in my own home. Working in the industry, means you are spoilt for choice when it comes to ideas, but harder I suppose when it comes to then deciding on something and finally executing it. At first I really struggled with our bedroom at home. It is such a small room, and while it does have two lovely sash windows, there is little else in the way of redeeming features – the space is pretty much all bed. I dithered with wall colour for a long time. In the end I went for an off-white and bright green gloss painted wardrobes. As it is all bed – I decided to make a feature of it – and designed a canopy bed. It gave the space the character, softness, and colour that it needed. This was a process that evolved in the end quite naturally. I wanted to use textiles that meant something to us. I had our bed upholstered in a striped fabric that was leftover from a backdrop at our wedding, an Indian block print acted as a lining fabric and we used a sunshine yellow linen as the main fabric with a silk tassel trim that I had lusted after for a while, in colours that pulled the fabrics together.
4. How can I add character to a new build or an overwhelmingly blank canvas home?
Textiles and art help hugely with this. Fabric softens spaces. I like to specify curtains and blinds in the more utilitarian spaces in a home, where they are often forgotten – areas like the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. Rugs and wall hangings instantly make a space feel more characterful, cosy and layered. When layering textures, the fundamental rule is to introduce contrast. Contract in both the texture of the materials themselves, and in mixing patterned with plain fabrics, as well as playing around with pattern scale. You want to mix a larger scale repeat pattern with something much smaller, like a block print or plain. Linen looks great alongside say a velvet, or paired with wool curtains. With art, I would say don’t be too precious. Frame old posters, a beautiful invitation, a piece that caught your eye at a flea market. I love framing fabrics, like an old silk wall hanging, or a vintage cushion cover.
5. What is a home design myth too many people believe?
There are so many. Don’t be afraid to have what YOU love in your home. Veer away from trends unless they make you and your family happy. Don’t be afraid to paint a small room dark– it creates atmosphere and warmth. You could also paint the ceiling in the same dark colour too. This is a little trick to make the room feel cosy and actually a lot bigger than it is, as it blurs the line between the ceiling and the wall–and your eye isn’t drawn to the harsh division between the two.
Lonika Chande set up her London based studio four years ago. Having studied architectural interior design at the Inchbald School of Design, Lonika honed her eye, working at several leading interior design and architecture practices, before setting up her own practice. Her style is inviting and warm, with fabric often at the heart of the design process. In 2020 she won House and Garden’s award for design talent.
Our wood grain Shaker cabinet fronts were designed for busy, high-traffic homes like ours. Clad with durable textured thermofoils, this line is compatible with Sektion, Akurum, Godmorgon, and Besta cabinets from IKEA. It's the perfect, practical way to add the warmth of wood to all the rooms of your home.
We have teamed up with Loloi to create a line of rugs that are as affordable as they are beautiful. This collection houses a great mix of traditional and modern rugs, in cottage-y colorways, as well as vintage-inspired beauties that you’ll want to roll out in every room.
We partnered with Stuga on a line of hardwood floors — The Ingrid is really livable, and the color is very neutral. It doesn’t lean warm or cool, it’s that just right in-between. We have really loved putting it everywhere in our house. It’s the best jumping-off point for design, no matter your interior style. In addition to being beautiful, Ingrid is really durable — we have three kids, and we always have a home construction project going on. Ingrid stands up to it all.
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