5 Budget-Friendly Ways To Decorate Your Home for Ramadan
Across religions the world over, festivals call for redecorating and decluttering. The days leading up to Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Diwali and Christmas in Singapore get us excited about new home decorating ideas as we pay more attention to our home than usual. Being humans, physical acts of renewal prompt the inner workings of our spiritual renewal.
Despite not coming from a Muslim background, I'm grateful to have learned more about Ramadan traditions over the years through customers who have opened their hearts and homes to our small business.
Moreover, when one discovers the marvels of Morocco, Istanbul, Tunisia and the Middle East, it is impossible to resist the pull of Islamic design, architecture and geometry. These compose some of our strongest design influences at Living DNA.
I've also experienced acts of kindness during Ramadan. On a sourcing trip in Tunis, a man offered to carry our heavy box of ceramic plates across streets and railway tracks in our rush to catch our flight. It was the 28th day of fasting and he was evidently weak, needing frequent breaks, but he insisted to carry on.
To honour the season, I couldn't help but put together top tips to look at your home in a new light this Hari Raya season. You will find a mix of practical modern sensibility as well as borrowing from other cultures. Embracing style inspiration wherever the source, highlighting common threads, and using contrast to pique interest, tie up with the spirit of unity religious celebrations seek to perpetuate. Again, outward expression, inner manifestation.
May these interior style changes, big and small, bring happiness to your loved ones this Ramadan and beyond.
1. Start with what you have - rearrange and refresh.
Rearrange your furniture. Get the family to exercise and lift the sofa and chairs. You might find new layouts that maximise your space or simply make you think and feel differently. Make way for more natural light to enter, proven to create positive vibes.
If your dining table is against a wall, try moving it away. Sure, it might lessen your walkway space but the tight-knit feeling and intimate quality of conversations when everyone faces everyone while sharing a meal is definitely worthwhile. Having the dining furniture and complementing rug underneath at the centre is also aesthetically pleasing as the room will look visually anchored.
Follow our guide for the best layouts for the living, dining and bedroom furniture, especially when you have a rug.
Alchemy Ice rug (starts at $990) photo shared by our client
Smoked Pearl Rug (starts at $890 before discount), photo shared by client
If after your layout experiment you go back to the same old layout, you'd still be better off for exposing those hidden corners and giving yourself a chance to clean them.
Speaking of cleaning, this is also the time to refresh your rugs. A professional deep clean is the quickest way for your rug to look, smell and feel new again. Follow up at home with our simple care tips that we personally learned from handling hundreds of handmade rug designs.
2. Spice up the iftar table with beautiful platters and serving ware.
Ceramic Turquoise 8-pc Chip and Dip Set
A beautiful tablescape is a visual crowd-drawer, a magnet for photos.
Option A: Set a formal dining table setting if you have enough room to seat everyone. Layer solids and patterns. For instance, pair handpainted ceramic plates with solid placemats and table napkins. Or simple plates on a printed tablecloth. Your homeware need not strictly adhere to one theme. I personally enjoy mixing, say, Indian blockprints with Thai stoneware. What I do try is to keep to a certain colour palette.
Option B: You can also create a buffet setting. This is the time when I'm glad I invest in unique, well-made platters and serveware. Mezze platters with compartments that allow you to arrange colourful dips and breads give an instant festive flair, even if storebought dips and breads are all that you prepared. Intermingle the large and small - place cute condiment plates between the salad and curry bowls. Play with height. Use tiered trays to make pastries a treat for both taste and sight.
Finally, scatter flowers, fruits and small decor objects in the same colour theme to the spaces in between for that lush abundant look.
Ceramic Blue 8-pc Chip and Dip Set
Shop handmade plates, platters and iftar tablescape essentials handpicked from my travels.
3. Create more seating with poufs.
Celebrations are the times we wish we had more chairs. With space constraints that come with high-rise living, your key to accommodating more guests is poufs. A pouf can be a seat or a side table of sorts - an extra surface to place plates of food, handbags and presents.
There's a warm fuzzy feeling about gathering with friends on poufs and cushions on a rug. Maybe it brings back memories of your Marrakech or Cappadocia holiday, or maybe it awakens the child within us, memories of playing house, of finding secret nooks at home. We let our guard down and become our more authentic selves.
On regular days, use your pouf as a legrest under your WFH desk or accentuate any empty spot with it.
Haze Pouf ($190)
All our poufs are filled with lightweight material, so even the kids could move them freely around the house. Shop poufs here.
4. Layer the sofa and bed with new cushions.
The sofa is literally the first touchpoint of your guest in your home, and we ought to make it as inviting as possible. Plush, layered cushions are irresistible. Dress up your sofa the way you dress yourself. Combine a big pattern with a small pattern. If you prefer simple solids, play with different textures. Mix square and rectangular cushions. And much like wearing jewellery, choose one or two cushions with tassels, pompoms, accent colours or metallic parts to complete the look.
Blockprint Rust Long Cushion ($65) at @nadiahmdin's home
Your personal sleeping space also deserves to be dolled up. Prop your bedroom pillows up and accentuate in front with a pair of rectangular cushions.
Nostalgia Cushions (starts at $65)
Get inspired by Nadiah's layering of the sofa and bedroom, as seen in our home tour. She bought our Blockprint Rust with Pompoms and Nostalgia tasselled cushions. Shop these from our cushion collection or Raya Bazaar collection.
5. Choose pattern and colour over plain.
I talked about pattern in the tips above, so let me cover the last two ways to incorporate patterns in your home: rugs and wallpaper.
If you've done your fair share of home decor inspo research on Instagram or Pinterest, you would know that the most interesting interiors have a patterned rug somewhere.
By history and tradition, rugs are patterned. You can go floral, geometric, abstract, or organic, within a spectrum of simple to complex. To make things easy, you can check out my recommendations of rugs by interior look.
Paiais Rug (starts at $645), Blockprint Pouf ($190), Kashmir Cushion ($120 before discount) styled and photographed by @faceliftdesign
Living Room Area rugs (starting at $590), photo shared by our client
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to share rug tips on Mediacorp's Manja lifestyle channel. Read the interview transcript in Malay.
I'd love to see how you applied these styling tips in your home! Do tag us @livingdna in your Instagram post. Questions or styling dilemmas? Feel free to email me at email@example.com.