Since this story claims to answer all your questions about home interiors, let’s begin with a question that is at the core of all other queries: what is interior design? When you purchase an apartment, villa or duplex, it is a house. It becomes a home only after you complete the interior design of that house. So, you must ensure that the interiors of your home are tailor-made for you and the family. For that, you would require a deft hand at designing that only experts have. Essentially, interior design in India is considered something only the rich and famous opt for, and thus, the average homeowner is riddled with questions to which there are often no straightforward answers; at least not answers that can be Googled!
Many such homeowners have written to us seeking answers to their queries. Hence, we thought it pertinent to answer all these questions about interior design in India with one cohesive article.
Let’s begin with the most frequently asked question on this topic.
#1: What are the salient features of a well-designed home?
What does ‘well-designed’ really mean? There is an enormous element of subjectivity looming large over your statement. Design, much like food or art, is a personal choice. However, because we are talking about interior design in India, it is a usable form of design. Essentially, we are talking about real homes where people live. Thus, we can break down the tenets of good design for a home into 10 very essential elements.
Let us, for our understanding, call them the 10 commandments of a well-designed home. They are as follows:
#1: It should be healthy
Your home should capitalize on the available natural light and provide optimum ventilation. It should care for you and your family by being ergonomically sound and minimising the chances of accidents and injuries.
#2: It should have place for everything and everyone
Your home needs to be accommodating. It should be able to make space for all its people and their activities and belongings.
#3: It should pay attention to detail
Ever heard the saying “God is in the details”? When it comes to the home, this phrase rings true not just for the aesthetic detailing but also the thoughtfulness and thoroughness that goes into making it an enjoyable space.
#4: It should evolve with your needs
When you design a home, you should design for life. It should cater to your present needs. However, you should design your home to anticipate your future requirements. It also needs to be durable. Basically, it needs to withstand the test of time.
#5:It should respect privacy
Your home should be able to set healthy boundaries between common spaces where your family and guests congregate and private spaces which celebrate individuality.
#6: It should be innovative
Your home should be designed smartly: it should embrace products that can make your daily chores simpler and it should be future-proof when it comes to technology that is relevant to your lifestyle.
#7: It should be value for money
You shouldn’t be losing your sleep over the financial upkeep of your home, be it the design or its maintenance. Affordability aside, every rupee you spend should be worth it.
#8: It should be comfortable
Comfort goes beyond the lazy Sunday mornings spent in PJs or a sofa to potate in all day. It is about building a private sanctuary where you feel totally relaxed.
#9: It should help you live better
Why limit your dreams by the square footage. Your home should cater to your needs and aspirations and be the place where you repair and rejuvenate.
#10:It should be beautiful
Because that’s important too! And since “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”; the best way to define beauty is whatever makes you happy and houseproud.
You can get a detailed account of these 10 commandments here.
#2: Why do you need an interior designer?
You would not try to service your car by yourself or cut your own hair (not unless you have some kind of experience in doing either). This is mainly because you hire experts for these jobs; in this case a mechanic or a hair stylist. If you trust only experts for your car or hair, how can you trust your house, which is often the most high-value purchase in a person’s lifetime, with amateurs?
There are several reasons why you need an interior designer. We’ve listed the most crucial seven for you.
Top reasons to hire an interior designer
- They are the experts in understanding your requirements and turning them into workable designs.
- For designing personalised and customised spaces
- For designing functional spaces like kitchens and bathrooms.
- To create miracles you didn’t think was possible with your budget or space.
- As it will save time and money that can be lost in costly design mistakes.
- For increasing the value of your property.
- Because it is now totally accessible!.
You can get a full account of why an interior designer is essential for designing any home here.
Still don’t believe us? Then you must see for yourself how an interior designer can add value to your interiors.
What is the scope of interior design in India?
If scope is such an important aspect of interior design in India, you surely want to know what it covers. In a snippet, interior design covers the following:
- Designing or creating the plan for interior design
- False ceiling
- Wall treatments including paint, wallpapers, decals, panelling and cladding
- Electrical work
- Customisation or making furniture to as per specific dimensions
- Structural changes (with builder’s approval)
- Decor and soft furnishings
If you opt for end-to-end interior design, which is what Livspace offers, all of this will be covered in the scope of your project.
Interior Designers vs. Decorators
Unlike designers, decorators or stylists do not always have formal training in design. They typically help homeowners with picking out furniture and decor items to do up their homes.
You can get a detailed account of the difference between interior designers and decorators here.
#3: What is the cost of hiring an interior designer in India?
You might have often heard people say, “why would I want a professional to decorate my house, it is something that I would rather do myself!” But do interior designers just ‘decorate’ your home? Actually, they do much more. So, before we delve into the actual cost of hiring an interior designer, let’s clarify what they do and how it is different from stylists or decorators.
How much do interior designers charge?
Like everything else, the amount or scope of work determines the exact fee of an interior designer. If the designer is just designing, the fee will be much lesser. If he/she is supervising the entire process of collaborating with various vendors like plumbers, carpenters, electricians etc, the fee will be higher.
If you want a hassle-free experience, then check for a designer who can supervise the entire work from procurement of furniture and decor, carpentry work for the kitchen and wardrobes along with installation.
How are Designer Charges Computed?
- Per Sqft: Typically, the designer charges between ₹10-₹100 per sqft based on the area of the house. This is, of course, if you’re looking for design alone. However, inclusive of products, carpentry i.e, modular kitchen and wardrobes, flooring and ceiling, this price can shoot upto ₹2,000 – 3,000 approximately.
- Percentage of Overall Cost: First, the designer calculates the overall price of the project inclusive of products and services. Basis the total cost, he/she can charge around 6%-20% as a design fee.
- Markup on Products: To put it quite simply, this means the designer will charge a percentage incentive on every product you buy. For instance, if you buy a couch worth ₹20,000, the designer may mark it as ₹22,000 while charging it to the project. The premium fee charged items will vary from project to project and also from one designer to another.
- A Lump Sum: This is purely based on the designer’s discretion on how much they want to charge for a project. It can be based on a percentage, commission, per sqft or a combination of two or more categories.
For a more detailed account of how much a designer charges, click here.
How much does Livspace charge?
If you sign up with Livspace, you will be charged for the interiors but there is no design fee. In other words, you pay for end-to-end interiors including furniture, civil changes, flooring, lighting, carpentry etc. But there is no cost of designing; an experienced Livspace designer will be assigned to your project and there will also be a separate project management team to take care of the installation.
#4: What to ask your interior designer before you hire him/her?
Most people hire an interior designer only once in their life because home interiors is usually a one-time purchase. Hence, the process of choosing a designer can get overwhelming or even confusing for a new homeowner. To clear the air, every homeowner may have unique individual requirements from their designer, but by and large, some basic requirements need to be met. So, we have made a checklist of some basic qualities that your interior designer must have.
Your interior designer must
- Speak your language: This does not mean that you must share a common language. In a broader sense, your design must be able to break down the design jargon for you and speak in layman’s terms with you.
- Be conscious of your budget: As a designer, you might be capable of building the Taj Mahal but don’t necessarily have the budget to see it through. So, the designer you hire must be cognizant of the budget you have and adhere to it. An over-ambitious design plan might overshoot your budget.
- Be trained in design or have a substantial body of work to show: You can judge the credentials of your designer either with his/her education or portfolio of homes designed.
- Give you a timeline and stick to it: Most people get their home interiors done when they want to move into a new home. There is substantial cost involved in any delays in this process. Thus, your designer must commit to a timeline for delivering a complete home and stick with it religiously.
- Understand your style: Your home must reflect your personality and not the individual taste of the designer. So, your designer must understand your requirements and take note of your ideas. He/she must then convert them into workable designs.
To make sure your first meeting with the designer is a fruitful one, explore the questions you must ask a designer here.
#5: What are the steps involved in the process of interior design in India?
So far, we have spoken only about the scope of interior design in India, the role of an interior designer and the cost of hiring an interior designer. After all this, when you have already made the decision to hire a designer, you must get into the nitty gritties of what transpires after this; in other words, what are the actual steps in the process of interior designing.
Steps in the process of getting home interiors done
- Meeting the designer: The first step is to meet the designer in person and explain your requirements to him/her. At this point, your designer would need your floor plan, your budget and your ideas about how your home should look. The designer may also ask you lifestyle-related questions like do you cook yourself in the kitchen or is there a household help to make pertinent suggestions.
- Site visit: It is advisable for you to visit your new house along with your designer to point out specifics to him/her in person. This also gives a solid visual context to your designer to come up with realistic designs. At this point, your designer is likely to measure your home from one corner to the other.
- Designing: The designer now works on a design plan that can be shared with homeowners as 2BD or 3D renders. This allows the homeowners to visualise exactly how their home will look. There might be some back and forth at this stage where homeowners offer feedback and choose materials like finishes, colours and fabrics for their home. Once the design plan is frozen, the project goes into production.
- Production: If you have picked modular furniture, it is pre-made in factories. But customised furniture will have to be made on site (your new home). This period of time is for all the products required for the home to be made while the house itself is prepared with electrical wiring plumbing and paint.
- Installation: Finally, all the parts come together and fit together to complete the interiors of your home. There is carpentry, furniture, flooring and all other decor items. The house is fitted with all this and cleaned before handing it over to the homeowners.
How is the Livspace process different?
The Livspace process is mainly different in 3 ways:
- You can visit our Experience Centres now present in 9 cities to get an actual look and feel of the products you are buying. For instance, you can see what an actual modular kitchen looks like.
Locate your nearest Experience Centre here.
- You have the option to pick products, modular furniture and decor items from our catalogue via a tool called Canvas. You literally don’t need to step out to buy anything unless you want to.
- The same tool allows you to see how much of the money you have paid has been spent and on what at every step of the design and installation process. So, there is complete transparency regarding cost and progress of work.
You can get a detailed breakdown of the Livspace process here.
Take a sneak peek into our experience centre as our designer walks you through it!
#6: How much does the interiors of 1BHK/2BHK/3BHK cost?
To be honest, interior design in India is a high-value purchase. And most homeowners are daunted by the cost of home interiors. They try to compensate for this cost by going to local players like unorganised carpenters. This has two implications: they do not get quality work and they do not make the best of available space.
This vicious cycle of making interior design mistakes is set in motion by the lack of genuine information. For instance, if homeowners had a clear idea of how much their home interiors would cost, they would probably take more prudent decisions while choosing who does their interiors. Thus, we decided to break down the average cost of home interiors for you.
How to determine the scope of interior design?
In a very simplistic way, interior design projects are broken down into 2 basic categories:
- KWS: This stands for kitchen, wardrobes and storage units like shoe cabinet, study unit, book shelves, crockery unit, entertainment unit etc. These are the basic furniture that all homes need for people to live in them.
- FHD: This stands for full home design alluding to end-to-end interiors that include all loose furniture, wall treatments, flooring, false ceiling, carpentry etc.
Picture it this way, KWS and FHD are at the two ends of a spectrum and most home interiors projects home somewhere in this spectrum. Essentially, a home interiors project can be anything in between just KWS (which costs the least) to FHD (which costs the most).
How to calculate the cost of interior design in India?
It must be noted that the cost of your interiors will also be dependent on the type of materials you choose and also on how much customisation you want for your home. For details, skip to the next section.
#7: What can shoot up the cost of my interiors?
Even if you embark on an interior design project with full knowledge of costs, there might be some nasty surprises along the way. The job of a competent interior designer is to minimise these last-minute shocks and ensure that the cost of the project does not overshoot the proposed budget. However, homeowners too can do their bit to ensure that they do not get any last-minute hikes in cost. And this can be achieved just by being informed about the factors that might shoot up the budget of interior design in India.
Factors that can increase the cost of interior design in India
- Demolition: There is a certain cost involved in demolition that we often tend to overlook. If you are renovating your home, this cost of demolition could be substantial. However, even in new constructions, if you want to change the layout of the kitchen or make small structural changes, then too demolition charges could shoot up the cost of interiors.
- Customisation: The thumb rule of interior design is that modular furniture always costs less than furniture that has been customised for particular dimensions. The more you opt for customised items, the higher your cost of interiors will be.
- Materials: You can get a modular kitchen for ₹1.5 lakhs or even ₹5 lakhs. What do you think makes the difference? The materials used for the carcass cabinets and the finishes you choose determine the cost of interiors. You can use MDF that is not very water-resistant but affordable for cabinets or BWR-plywood for durable but slightly expensive kitchen cabinets. Similarly, acrylic finishes are the most expensive but also easy to maintain.
- Structural anomalies: If you have a ceiling with lots of bulky beams it might shoot up the cost of covering it up with a false ceiling. Also, if the shape of your room is awkward, flooring will cost more than usual.
Don’t know the difference between cheap and cost-effective home interiors, find out here.
#8: How long does it take to get interiors done?
Most homeowners, especially first-time homeowners, opt to stay in rented accommodation while the interiors for their new home is done. So, for a period of time, they are paying both EMIs for their home and the rent for their current accommodation. Hence, any delays in handing over the finished home can incur serious financial losses.
How to divide the time taken for completing interior design?
To understand what is the timeline for getting your home interiors done, you need to break down the timeframe into three segments:
- Designing: This is the phase where the designer is proposing ideas to the homeowner. This phase could last for anything between 1 week to 3 months. It depends on the amount of back and forth that happens to finalise the designs. The responsibility for the length of this time period is shared between the designer and the homeowners. While it is the responsibility of the designer to come up with fruitful designs, the homeowners must also be sure of what they want. Every time they propose a change, the designing phase will get extended.
- Production: Once the designs are frozen to the time you start installing them in the house is the production period. This is the time where all the parts of carpentry are prepared, materials are acquired and everything is made ready. This should take between 15 to 30 days depending upon the scope of the project.
- Installation: This is the final coming together of all the elements of home interiors. The modular units are assembled and installed, the tiling is done and the loose furniture is placed within the home. This could take anything between 10 to 20 days.
What can increase the time required to do interiors for a home?
The reasons for stretching the timeframe could be anything starting from insufficient labour to operational delays. However, these are avoidable with proper planning. Among unavoidable delays, we can name customisation. It takes more time to customise and make furniture on site than picking modular furniture that just needs to be assembled. Also, if it is a renovation project, it takes a certain period of time to prepare the site (house) for installation. Finally, structural changes will also require time because they involve demolition and other civil work. All these aspects must be factored in while calculating the time required for interior design in India so that the homeowner has a clear understanding of the timeline.
Want to know Livspace makes a difference here? Read this.
#9: How does the cost of interiors change as per cities?
We all know that the cost of real estate, and consequently, rents, in Mumbai are sky high! Also, Delhi is well-known for affordable clothes. In Kolkata, we have the best street food that is easy on the pocket. The standard living differs from one city to another. In fact, the correct way to put this would be to say that some things cost more in some cities than others. So, does the cost of interiors too differ citywise?
If we answer this question purely from a Livspace perspective, then not really. The cost of our modular furniture does not really fluctuate depending on the city. However, the cost of labour, vendors and materials may differ. This is particularly true when you compare metro cities with tier-2 cities.
#10: What are the most popular styles of interior design in India?
So what do we mean when we say ‘interior design style’?
After an exhaustive survey involving Livspace designers, we have identified 11 such styles of interior design in India that are popular among homeowners. And they are:
Let’s begin with contemporary because the word gets used rather loosely. Whatever doesn’t look traditional and is hard to place anywhere else is bucketed under contemporary design. However, you will be surprised to know that if we go by definition, contemporary is not a style at all; it’s a movement. It encompases whatever is ‘here and now.’ What we consider to be contemporary today may change completely in less than a decade.
What is ‘contemporary’ right now for interior design in India?
Currently, when we say ‘contemporary interiors,’ we mean a home with clean lines, a subtle colour palette, and great priority given to natural light. Sophistication in simplicity sums up this trend
#10.2: Indian Traditional
India is a melting pot of different cultures and each of these influence the pan-Indian style of design. Naturally, the traditional Indian style as we know it today, is a potpourri of several regional styles. If we must tie it up with a common thread, there is a distinct love of ornate carvings, handicrafts, solid wood furniture and distinctly desi elements like swings and jaalis.
At its core, minimalism is a set of aesthetic principles that has snowballed from a design style into a lifestyle. It is centred around living with fewer things to reduce distractions. Don’t confuse this intent of editing your home with frugality. Though the objects in a minimal home are numbered, they might be, and in fact most often are, of high value.
The bohemian style is essentially free-spirited and rings in what we call the ‘thrown together’ look. For all practical purposes, you can recall the interiors of Phoebe Buffay’s apartment (from Friends)! The absence of rules is the only rule applicable to this style which presents a ‘layered’ look for any space.
#10.5: Art Deco
Art deco as a style is unapologetically bold and luxurious with a certain penchant for drama. Short for Arts Décoratifs, the art deco style invokes opulence with a massive sense of scale and geometry. We see a weakness for fine craftsmanship and precious materials, which is backed by solid design. Imagine the great Mr. Gatsby in his iconic mansion and you would have captured the soul of this grandiose style.
If you like monastic simplicity, then the Scandinavian style with its white walls, clutter-free approach and love for nature will appeal to you. It has become quite a rage in recent years, it even contributed a new word to the Oxford dictionary —. ‘Hygge’, the Danish term for cosiness stemming from contentment and wellbeing, which was added in 2017. This word perfectly captures the pulse of this style. It’s akin to the feeling one gets on entering an Ikea store!
#10.7: Minimal Glam
Most millennials love the sheer simplicity and clean design of the minimal style. But our desi heart would always long for a bit of glitz and glamour! So, the style for young Indians is minimal glam, a crossover design style that has no historic origin; meaning it did not evolve as a design movement or get propagated by schools of art. It evolved from a need for plush finishes that go with the clean design of the minimal style. Minimal glam retains the design aesthetics of its namesake—the minimal style—but goes glam in its material choice and accents.
#10.8: Mid-century Modern
Why do you think this style is called ‘mid-century modern’? Hint: there aren’t any tricks here! It emerged in the middle of the 20th century, and hence the name. If you like clean lines, uncluttered spaces and organic shapes, this is the style for your home. Don’t hesitate to go for it; if this style that you can see in Don Draper’s (of Mad Men fame) New York apartment is still popular after a century, it’s not going out of vogue in a hurry!
The coexistence of the traditional and the modern elements together is defined as the transitional style. It alludes to the ‘transition’ from one time period to another. So basically, you have design elements from different eras within the same space.
You wouldn’t have missed the Victoria Terminus in Mumbai with its towering dome and projecting gargoyles or the Writer’s Building in Kolkata, iconic for its red brick facade. These parting gifts from our colonists—predominantly the British but also the French, Portugese and Dutch—are structures that are emblems of the colonial era. We identify them with swooning arches, tall ceilings, Georgian columns and pearl white walls studded with cross-cultural decoratives.
After going through all these styles you surely would have a couple of favourites? Are you fascinated with certain elements of different styles and want to cherry pick them for your home? Or better yet, do you want to create your own signature look? Because we hear you and we present to you the eclectic style. It borrows from a variety of styles—spanning across regions and time periods—and thoughtfully and very intentionally stitches them together to create a very unique personalised style.
To understand which of these styles resonates the most with you, you can check the origin and also get more details on how to adopt these styles in a home here.
Also, enjoy this short DIY style tutorial by our stylist Rahul Kukeja.
Send in your comments and suggestions.