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Monthly Column in ID-DIGEST.com THE INTERNATIONAL LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE (Previously USA on-line publication)

1, 2, 3 SIMPLY THE BEST... 3 selected (of 19) tips published




It is now the fourth month of the Laid Back Glamour column. It is June, summertime, and a lot of people have plans in their diaries.

Some might want to redecorate their home and give it a new facelift. However many will be wondering how to make it look beautiful without spending too much cash, especially in the current economic situation.


Thrifty Scheme!

The idea of the thrifty facelift is to be smart! A lot of people start to realise that expensive purchases are not always essential. So avoid the pressure of keeping up with others and with the current trends and this will help keep the bills down!


Thrifty Facelift

Get creative! Be wild and BOLD! Make a list of which areas in the home you would like to facelift.

There is a lot you can do. The scheme is not only about cheap investing. Do spend more on one item you like. This is a better way to spend your cash than the false economy of buying too many inexpensive goods you’re not too keen on.


A) Wall Treatments

Get some ideas by visiting high end showrooms and get some samples of wallpaper that you like. Then find another wallpaper within your budget and try to match it as best you can to the original sample(s) to provide the look you want to achieve.

Be ‘BOLD’ by using your wall as a giant scrapbook! Use a colour scheme that will complement the room concept. You can use postcards, even your photographs, extra cuts of wallpaper, magazines page cuts, even fabric samples are suitable to be placed on the wall. You can even make a photocopy and enlarge these cuts and place onto the wall. But do maintain some sort of order in the scheme to avoid it looking messy.

These methods I have mentioned are also good at hiding any defects on the wall such as cracks and holes on the wall and also uneven plastering.


B) Window Treatment

Curtain designs and styles come and go. Some people prefer to use blinds to dress the windows, some may just let the windows look naked – although this is the ultimate thrifty solution, the window will look dull. But this is only suitable if your windows are not easily seen by the public.

If you are thinking of making your windows look interesting I would suggest you dress them up with curtains. If you don’t wish to spend a lot of money on a curtain, I would recommend using eyelets. This style allows you not to use too much fabric and no extra money needs to be spent on hooks and rings for hanging the curtains. All you need is a nice looking pole within your budget.

Another economical way of making the window look exciting is by recycling old fabrics. Use old duvet covers, lace table covers even throws that you may not use anymore. If you have enough fabric to cover all your windows that is fantastic, on the other hand most of the time the fabric is not enough to curtain all your windows. So I would suggest be brave and use your imagination to use a variety of different fabric designs to cover the windows. Do not be afraid as this could give a great impact to the window treatment. Try to balance the pattern or colour of the chosen recycled fabrics. Lastly if your curtains are plain and you wish to get the wow factor without spending too much cash, liven the curtain up by bordering it with something special or extravagant.


C) Furniture - Display Storage

You can invest in a nice storage unit, ready assembled or modular systems for the living room. The unit that you love can be taken to a new home or even moved to a different area of the home. This is another way to have a new scheme in your home from time to time without spending more cash.

However if you do not need to buy a new unit, there are many ways to update the look of existing furniture in your home. For example re-sand the furniture and re-coat it with a different veneer or varnishes. A wide selection of varnishes are available in many DIY stores. Pick and choose the ones suitable to the scheme of the room. Repaint the unit and apply another coat of different paint and then use fine wire wool, rub off some of the area and finish it with a wax to give a new appearance to the unit.


D) Accessorising The Room

Your imagination can go wild in this department. A few well chosen items can always provide the extra touch to your home facelift.

You can splurge or save money depending on the scheme of the room. Spend money and invest on a beautiful rug for example. Mixing an expensive item with more economical purchases can make a whole room look high classy.

Save some cash by making your own bespoke cushions by using new fabrics or existing material from your bed sheets, clothes even an old pair of curtains. You can give a ‘COSY’ feel into the room by making your own throws. Other examples include updating frames of your photographs, mirror frames and picture frames. Sand it, repaint it or even re-vanish it and this will provide you with a fresh new look.



There are so many ways you can give your home a facelift without breaking the bank. In this article I have mentioned just a few ideas to get you started.

Remember we are all eager to create a new look for our home and it is easy to overlook the good points of what we already have in our homes. By adapting a few ideas from glossy magazines, interior design books and TV shows you can add a little glamour to your home. We all want beautiful things but without the  high price tag!

However, the odd relatively expensive item also can be a worthwhile investment. But by creating your own bespoke items and reworking existing pieces of furniture in your home you will end up with one off designs – your own unique piece of work!

Making the most of what you already have can be a less stressful and more ‘THRIFTY’ way of making your home more attractive and glamorous.

Now you are ready to give your home the ‘FACELIFT’ the ‘THRIFTY’ way!

Copyright Nik A Ramli





It is a new beginning for all of us. Happy New Year! All the best for 2010! This January topic was taken from one of the projects that I enjoyed working on. 


Colours Of Love

One afternoon I received a phone call from a lovely couple that I had talked to briefly a day earlier, about designs and my services! Hired me they did! The project was to design the complete apartment. As usual, the design brief was provided. From the couple’s differing backgrounds and with their own preferences, it was an interesting brief - colourful and modern, yet simple and homely.


Live And Eat

A square room with sliding glass doors to a balcony with a view of a beautiful garden and trees; No need for a redesign here!

The brief was to include a little sweet ‘giraffe’ and a leather arm chair. The room design concept was taken from the ‘giraffe’ along with some agreed furniture.

Since the room is used for both living and eating, the dining table beautifully designed with wood was a good choice from the client! A powder coated metal triple pendent ceiling light balance the length of the dining table. A bench was used to create another seating area for the living room. Two different dining chairs were ordered in different colours. These complemented the special drawing they bought from a holiday trip. The painting is colourful, cute and classy.    

All furniture was chosen to fit in with the space available. Not to overwhelm the room, a glass coffee table was used. A two seat sofa in fabric helps soften the room and complements the white gloss TV unit. Rugs soften the existing wooden flooring. Straight stripe curtains with eyelets make the room feel taller. A free standing adjustable lamp creates a different and modern look once it’s been pulled down at the centre of the coffee table.

The wall treatment was complemented by light green graphic designed wall paper that gained it’s concept from the ‘giraffe’. This portrayed a bit of the contemporary ‘jungle’ feel.



The master bedroom is designed for comfort. The wooden tall chest and traditional storage box provide a wow factor. The room also uses a dark black wood stained bed and two side tables. Duvet and pillow covers in a light tone contrast with the dark wood pieces.

The wall paper was designed in a floral graphics print in dark brown, gold and sandstone colours to provide a luxurious and classy look.

The whole room was finished with two purple glass table lamps, a beautiful patterned rug, beautiful accessories and a tall slim mirror situated on the opposite the wall.


Running For Cover

The other aspect of the design brief was for an office cum guest room. A space which can be used by both of the clients together or alone as a sanctuary when one needs some peace and quiet!

The small room dimensions need full detail attention. Furniture needed to be cleverly selected. Roller blinds help to make the room feel bigger rather than using heavy curtains. The work area has to be compact yet functional. A cute oak desk was chosen by the client, and a cream fabric sofa bed was a smart choice as it blended office functionality with bedroom chic.

The walls were finished with a textured floral design balanced with silver brown and blue green shades. This helped to maximise the sense of space and provided a calming effect in the small room. A tall floor standing lamp in a high gloss black finish was placed at the end corner of the seating area.



The other role of the project was to suggest wall colours. These suggestions were accepted and all in all it went together with the concept very well! The hallway, bedrooms and the living cum dining space all displayed peaceful colour palettes selected with the designer and the clients; Colours of Love completed!

Copyright Nik A Ramli





For the September issue of ‘Laid Back Glamour’ I will talk about how we can incorporate good lighting into interior design.


The Importance Of Good Lighting

Good lighting is important in the home. It is one crucial element to compliment the success of good home design and decorating.

For example, when using recessed down lighters for the ceiling good planning is vital – the distance between each bulb needs to be considered. Too far between each spot will make the room to dark, and too near to each other will make the room too bright. A distance of 150cm between one recessed down lighters to the other is recommended. To use recessed down lighters you also need to consider the ceiling height. If the ceiling needs to be suspended will it be to low? And can you safely reach the lights when they need to be changed?

If the ceiling is too high I would suggest ceiling mounted pendant lights or wall lights. Wall lights can provide another look for the wall. They can be fitted below or even above the wall treatment chosen. If you have a picture on the wall you can also locate a spot light on the ceiling to focus on the art work. Use floor up-lighter(s) behind a sofa to create a sophisticated and dramatic effect in the room.

Copyright Nik A Ramli

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