Virginia Woolf wrote some pretty grim books, but she also loved flowers and wrote about the beauty they add to a room: “Sally went out, picked hollyhocks, dahlias – all sorts of flowers that had never been seen together – cut their heads off, and made them swim on the top of water in bowls. The effect was extraordinary – coming in for dinner in the sunset.”
Now, not everyone can live at Burj Khalifa, gazing out floor-to-ceiling windows at the spectacular fountains from 1,500 feet in the air. But that doesn’t mean your space has to be drab. Given that being space-strapped is a certainty of Dubai living for most, here are 10 buys for under 50 dirhams to spruce up your home.
1. Bring the room imagined by Woolf into your home with flowers. Decorate a window ledge with small potted herbs inside colorful metal planters. Spider plants are great for adding visual interest to a room and do well with evenly moist soil and bright or medium lighting conditions. Dress up your bathrooms with bamboo stalks, orchids, and ferns on the counter tops. Head to Dragon Mart’s thrift stores to pick up a cheap bunch.
2. Place a curtain around the bed: It’ll create a feeling of tranquility around your sleeping space, give it a nook-like feel and make your bedroom seem bigger.
3. Nice-cycle: In other words, give new life to old stuff. Got an unused chair lying around? Turn it into a soggy home for flora. Slice open the upholstery, put some soil, plant a few seeds and place it by the window. Voila, you have a planter! Rearrange your furniture. Find a new focal point – like an outdoor view or the wall with the TV – and move your furniture to compliment it. Bring pieces from other rooms of your home as well.
4. If you have a studio, use the TV to “separate” your bed space from your entertainment space. You won’t spend a dirham! A pull-down screen or a piece of plywood to build a makeshift wall will also work just fine.
5. Don’t have space for a couch? Giant floor pillows are terrific for quick, casual seating and will work perfectly for when you have guests over or just wanna curl up and watch a movie.
6. You may not be able to paint the walls, but you can surely paint your furniture. All you need is a small tube of paint and a brush. A new paint job on a bed frame or nightstand can instantly refresh your space. ACE Hardware in Dubai Festival City sells paints in 1000s of colors, so head there for a quick look.
7. Throws are an easy and inexpensive way to add a chic touch, liven up a boring sofa or add some zing to an old bed. Drape one over the foot of your bed, arm of a sofa or the back of a chair. Have a worn area on the floor? Cover it with a funky rug for an instant refresh. You’ll find a lot of variety at Ikea, with many different colors and patterns and different textures and materials, too. Carpetland in Karama offers traditional Persian rugs and contemporary carpet designs and is a bargain hunter’s paradise.
8. Mirrors can make a space instantly feel lighter and more open. Hang a large mirror in the dining space, living room or bedroom across from a window. Home Centre stores have distinctive frames and shapes and offer choices for any room.
9. Take the curtains down, wash and dye them. Dyeing curtains are one of the cheap ways to decorate your home. Dye your curtains to colour-match or complement the wall paint for a uniquely coordinated effect.
10. Change hardware on doorknobs, handles, and hinges for a thrifty update. Or if you just want them to look a little more polished and updated, take a can of spray paint to them for a new look. Little things can really make a big difference.
Of course, not all studios have to conjure images of jail cells, sleeping in the kitchen or coming face-to-face with the oven. Here are 5 studio apartments for rent in Dubai that’ll make you forget you have just one room.