Great interiors books – India Mahdavi, Home Chic

11/24/2015 06:00:00 am HELEN STILES 0 Comments

This week I've been re-reading a book I've owned for a while – Home Chic by India Mahdavi. I know it's a bit geeky, but I just love a great interiors book, and I go back to my favourites over and over again. This tome is particularly reader-friendly, and very easy to dip in and out of with its clear, concise chapters and easy-to-read tips and suggestions. From its shiny gold cover to its mustard yellow section pages, Home Chic conveys the designer's particular brand of bold, flamboyant chic.

India Mahdavi Sketch







If you've never heard of India Mahdavi, then you absolutely should read this great interiors book. She is a global designer in the truest sense. Of Persian/Egyptian/English parentage, she has lived all over the world – from Iran to Germany, New York to Paris (where she lives today). She is a designer of interiors, furniture and objects and has an amazing talent for combining colour and pattern in the most unexpectedly fabulous ways. You will probably recognise some of her work – like these pictures of the pink and gold interior of the Gallery at Sketch in Mayfair. It's just so wonderfully over-the-top, whilst being feminine and restrained at the same time.
India Mahdavi Sketch

Or this design for the Connaught in London, which is the one that first caught my eye and introduced me to India's work several years ago. I love the dark, masculine colour scheme with the graphic motifs and contemporary artwork.

india mahdavi home chic


But back to the book! Mahdavi says she wrote Home Chic to answer the interior design questions she is forever asked by friends and dinner-party guests. It's laid out as a simple 8-part guide to designing your own home – from working with the architectural details and constraints, to choosing furniture layouts, mixing styles successfully and adding the perfect accents. So, in no particular order, here are my favourite Mahdavi guidelines for decorating:

1) On accessories. Small items make all the difference – colourful/metallic side tables, plus 'a scattering of bold, patterned cushions, and a throw, or a "fur" for the sofa. These three simple accessories will lift the mood of any interior.'
2) On stuff. 'An overly-perfect home isn't a home at all, it's simply a showroom.' Don't be afraid to "clutter" – your room will come to life!' (A woman after my own heart, clearly!)
3) On lighting. 'Avoid big, central chandeliers or ceiling lamps. 'So passé. Avoid them in your hallway, and everywhere else. Ceiling suspensions should hang in corners, if they hang at all.' In dining areas she says, 'No to central ceiling lights, guaranteed to age your guests a decade each.' And in the bedroom? You've guessed it...Non! '...ceiling lights...the most un-sexy lighting possible.' I get the message, India.
4) On monochrome. 'Incorporate a dash of black-and-white "seasoning" for a strong, graphic statement in any room. Monochrome features attract the eye and add dynamism.' (This really is so true, a black and white cushion, rug or throw really does enliven any space).
5) On rugs. 'A rug softens the floor surface, defines a space, muffles sound and makes a room softer underfoot. In short, it's a vital piece of furniture in its own right – difficult, and a shame, to do without!' Hear hear.
6) On mixing styles. 'Mix vintage with contemporary, cheap and cheerful with luxury chic, floral and geometric motifs, bright colours and neutrals, "warm" and "cold" materials. (So easy to say, so difficult to do)! But Mahdavi does go on to offer a few useful pointers, for example - balancing your home's masculine and feminine sides and uniting around a theme (e.g. botanicals). If in doubt, stick to objects and furniture from no more than 3 different decades.
7) On coffee tables. 'coffee tables invariably make a strong statement. Never be afraid to choose striking shapes or colours'
8) On choosing upholstery. '...good colours are grass green, mustard, saffron yellow and brick-orange, which goes with almost anything.' Clearly India is not one for neutrals!
india mahdavi home chic

The whole book is filled with photographs of Mahdavi's own home - showcasing her bold, colourful, eclectic yet chic style. You just can't fail to feel happy looking at her designs. Whether it's her hotel and restaurant schemes or her beautiful furniture creations (like these wonderful Bishop stools).
india mahdavi home chic

Bishop stools interior design

To finish off, the last chapter of Home Chic lists Mahdavi's favourite design sources around the world (and I do mean around the world - she documents her go-to sources in cities across the US, South America, Europe, India and Africa). Must add those to my to-do list!

If you love interior design, or know someone else that does, then I'd highly recommend this book. It doesn't try to tutor you in every aspect of technical design, but does provide really useable tips for the amateur enthusiast. And if all else fails, it'll look beautiful on your coffee table! If you've been inspired to purchase a copy, just click the link below and it could be yours tomorrow! Happy reading...

I've just entered the UK Blog Awards #UKBA16

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