Life in a Living Room

Growing up in an army household this room was what we refered to as the 'drawing room' - a rather formal looking place where my parents entertained their guests over luncheons and cocktails. (As an aside, did you know that the name 'drawing room' was derived from the term 'withdrawing room', more commonly used in the 16th century? Well, that explains why you don't have to be an artist to have such a room in your house). However, today this room has quite a different connotation for me; my guests don't come in chiffon saris and I don't have rows of crystal showcases, so it made sense to quickly adopt the more casual nomeclature 'living room' instead.

We spend most of our time here sprawled on a bean bag or lying on the couch with feet propped on the coffee table and very often carry our dinner plates to eat in front of the television. Oh yes, the fact that the television is here pretty much explains why my husband, Pawan, likes to spends his life in this room. I've always maintained that the idiot box should be kept out of the bedroom, hoping to build a healthier atmosphere with conversation and books. Little did I know that no TV in the bedroom also meant no husband in the bedroom. Anyhow, the point is that we do end up spending most of our life in the living room.

This is also the only space in the house where I have been magnanimous enough to accommodate Pawan's desires in terms of decor, which in one word was 'comfort'. It would have been all good had it not been the very antithesis of style, but I was determined to find a meeting point between the two. So out went the low lying furniture and the straight back bench and in came the lounge chair and more relaxed sofas. However, a line had to be drawn somewhere...NO lazy boy and NO fat couch would set foot in my living room.

Let me take you through my redecorating journey. Here's what the room looked like when me moved in, a nice open space with lots of sunlight streaming through the large windows and balcony doors.

The first thing that I did was to lay a wooden flooring over the tiles. The idea was to make this large space look more inviting and less formal, besides I wasn't a big fan of the tile pattern. And that one thing changed the whole mood in this room.

Next came the curtains. The area that had to be dressed was a large 9x14 feet frame. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted here - it had to be off-white with an element of fun on it; any other colour would fade away in no time plus I didn't want a huge block of colour cutting up one whole wall of the room. To save the off-white from becoming plain Jane I turned to my fashion designer friends, an extremely talented duo who own a label called Black Sheep. They had never designed curtains before but were happy to take on my assignment. I rattled off some of my favourite things for them to work with - embroidery, mirrors, paisley, polka, brocade, gota, sequences etc. and give it their signature style. After some rounds of brain storming and trials, this is what we ended up with...

While the curtains were getting done, I decided to bring in some fresh energy into my old furniture by reupholstering them. I had had an orange and fuchsia palette on these for quite sometime and was ready to embrace something more subtle, leaving the colours for the curtains, cushions and rugs.

Last but not the least was dressing up the space and allowing our personalities to shine through. Every piece and corner has it's own story and I would like to believe that it all comes together to create a room that speaks of us and not just a showcase of our possessions.

So all put together, this is what our living room looks like...

We are also fortunate to have a balcony attached to our living room, a luxury not very easily afforded in Bombay. The cute little pots that you see in these pictures are thanks to a place my friend Upasana took me to in Delhi. They have the most fabulous garden accessories; I shall do a feature on them soon.

Hope you guys enjoyed this journey. I'm off to bring in the new year now, see you all on the other side with many more exciting stories. Happy New Year everyone!


  1. Looks lovely... as usual! see you tomorrow!

  2. Loved the tour and the story behind everything. Those billowing curtains are very enticing--really miss that element over here--we're going to be holed up at home for a good three months at least--can't wait to throw open windows in spring.

    Very pretty space!

  3. Thanks Oopsie! :) See you soon.
    Gagan, glad you liked the post. Hope you have sunny days soon!

  4. The room looks great and really pulled together. Love the soft mood created by the curtains and really like the new upholstery you selected for the sofa.

    Interestingly, I always say "drawing room" when I'm at home in my parent's home, but "living room" in my own home. It all comes down to the formality of the room :-)

  5. gorgeous! was waiting for this post with almost bated breath....

  6. love it..everything looks so effortless :)

  7. heya...the room looks super inviting :) love the furniture, the ambience, the colours!! please expect a gatecrash next time i head to mumbai..hehehehe

  8. Hi Shahana...I lovvvveee your style. In fact I am highly inspired by it. I like that the room is not overly cluttered, is airy and bright. And the fabrics are gorgeous. I am going to call this Mumbai style from now on and aim for a similar laid back but elegant look :D
    I will be in amchi city soon and would love to know where you got the fabric for your chairs. In fact I'd love your input on this. I have a maroon camel back sofa and a cane accent chair. Please share your ideas. I will gladly email you if you are awesome!!!!
    - Ashwini

  9. Thank you all! Tampha, please come and visit me next time you're in Bombay!
    Ashwini, the fabric on the chairs were a rare find in fabindia. Sometimes they have great stuff in silk/ raw silk. Mail me and I'll be happy to help :)

  10. Sahana, I'm in love with your sense of style. I adore the curtains that you and your friends designed. May I ask, what material have you used for the white fabric?
    Love the chairs with the blue ikat fabric.
    I really miss tnis element of designing being in the US. In india, you can mix and match and go all the way to design stuff with all that you like.
    Once again, the space looks absolutely gorgeous and inviting!

  11. Thanks Neha! The curtain fabric is 'linen', but it's not pure; it has a synthetic mix to withstand the wear and tear.

  12. Wow Sahana, love your blog and decor style. Glad I found you via Networked Blogs on Facebook:) Looks like I will be spending some time here:):)

  13. Nice work I really love that auto...:)

    Visit me for some India art and Interior

  14. Such an inviting, vibrant yet relaxed space! Loved the large windows and the generous amount of sunlight that flows in

  15. Awesome!!! First time here but had to go through your whole blog. I am not done yet but truly love it.

  16. I so enjoy your sense of style and home decoration .They looks so comfy with an old world rustic charm.Love the wood finish of your furnitures.But pls do mention the place in Delhi where you got those terracotta hanging pots.I'll be waiting for your reply :)

    1. Hey, thanks a lot :) The garden place in Delhi is called Sondha, it's on Prithviraj Road. Shall definitely cover it on my next trip to Delhi!

  17. Sahana, do contact me on - loved the way you have put your home together!


  18. Hi Sahana ..... Such a beautiful living u have that any onlookers will go awe struck :-) I am going to keep this as an inspiration for giving a fresh look to my living . Is your sofas also custom made ?? Looking forward for more photos from ur lovely home soon ..

  19. Lovely and very liveable :)
    I have a question though, where did you buy the wooden (single) chairs? ( the ones redone with the blue upholstery) And also where can I find those tiny straw homes that you have kept in the balcony??

  20. beautifully arranged furniture ... bright colours on one side and dull colours on the other side ... beautiful seahorse and fish planters ... and cute auto ... simply superb!!!

  21. Beautiful pieces of furniture and accessories and so well placed :) You guys found a beautiful home in Bombay! Incredible find I must say :) Love love love it!
    I was wondering how you got the single seaters reupholstered? Any good local contacts you have kya? Please share their details with me.


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