Embrace the quirk, revel in kitsch: ideas to give your home a unique character and a personal touch

“Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love bought together under one roof” – Nate Berkus

It is often said that a home is a true reflection of oneself and one’s personality.  There is nothing more exciting than decorating and doing up your own home according to your tastes and choices.  However, many a time, in the quest of creating picture perfect spaces creativity and exclusivity take a back seat.  Also, trying to keep abreast with the supposedly latest and contemporary trends could result in predictable, lack lustre spaces which are more akin to stage sets or conventional hotel rooms. 

But with a little bit of ingenuity and innovation you can create the perfect home that is warm, vibrant and completely individualistic.  Such spaces are not only characteristic and colourful but also comfortable.

Shabby Chic décor

This refers to a style of decorating that makes abundant use of elements like soft colors, pastels, plenty of whites, textured fabrics and distressed pieces of furniture to create an informal and casual ambience. Throw the conventional ‘rules’ out of the window and unleash your creativity adding a personal touch to your home.  For instance, you need not use a chair only for seating, paint an old metal chair in soft pastels or give it a distressed finish and use it as bedside table to hold your favourite bed time books.  Add in a vase of fresh flowers on top to liven up the space.  You can also use it to hold your bedside lamp.  Alternatively, you can convert your grandma’s worn out sewing machine into a perfect bedroom table or a dresser by installing a mirror on top.

Cauldron converted to a corner table

Source flea markets, ransack your attic or scour thrift stores to display collectibles like old globes, ceramics, hats and wall plates.  Old glass bottles can be painted or embellished for a refreshing look.  You can use them for fresh flowers and water plants.  Floral upholstery and lace tableware can give your home a country/cottage look adding a rustic charm to the ambience.  Painting an old bench and using it as a coffee table or framing an old map to be hung in your living room wall not only keeps the surprise element alive in the house but gives it a relaxing and cheerful vibe.  Remember shabby chic décor is all about making your place snug, welcoming and cozy.

Quirk, kitsch and pop art

Bright colors, bold prints and whimsical styling can add a fun yet hip quotient to your home.  Go in for large cushions in shades of turquoise or fuchsia, chunky pendant lights and oversized art to add a differentiating touch to your home.  Colorful coasters, planters in striking hues, bohemian name plates and boards go a long way in adding a unique character to your home.

Pop art_quirky accessories

Display vintage movie posters by framing old worn out vinyl record cover sleeves.  Use a drinks trolley in the living room to serve as an unusual side table or paint an old safe to turn it into a quirky accessory.  Glossy finishes, mismatched chairs, comic prints and neon lighting are yet other design elements that can make your home lively and energetic.  Be generous in displaying the souvenirs from all your travels to reiterate the personal touch in your house.

Vintage charm

Few accessories can match charm of antiques and heirloom pieces.  Brass and copper items used as décor pieces add a certain heritage value to any space.  Old brass lamps, bowls and even utensils compliment any style of décor.  The beauty of fresh flowers and indoor plants is only enhanced when combined with such metal accessories.

Brass lamps and old vessels with flowers and plants

Displaying vintage telephones, typewriters, wall clocks and record players are some great décor ideas.  If you are lucky to inherit some heirloom furniture like your grandmother’s four poster bed, teak dressing table or her antique cupboard or even your grandfather’s writing desk, then you are in for a bonus! Adding them automatically enriches your space many fold.

Power of upcycling

If you are looking to style your house with ‘one of a kind’ accessories and are not a fan of mass produced store bought stuff, upcycling is a great idea.  The process of conceptualizing a piece from something that is more often than not discarded makes the whole exercise appealing.  This way you not only end up adding an unmatched accessory but also one that conjures fond memories whenever you see or use it.

Storage trunks of the yesteryears are a great option for creating a statement pieces for your living room.   Paint it in bright base colour and use your imagination to paint patterns on it on all sides.  Once ready, enliven your corner with it.  Place some books, fresh flowers and knick knacks to add some zing.  Ditch conventional vases, paint old aluminium measuring cans instead.


Feel free to draw and paint with elements and objects you love.  Old rusty iron pans can be cleaned and painted on both sides to serve as offbeat living room accessories.  Old brass cauldrons are no longer used to heat water for bathing and it is common practice to demolish the structure to give way to the modern geysers.  Grab the discarded cauldron and top it up with glass to give you a wacky side table.  Similarly, old doors can are great options for multipurpose tables and even side stands.


All in all, thinking out of the box can help you do up your home in a style that is inimitable, unmatched, singular and truly special.

This article was originally published in Deccan Herald.

15 thoughts on “Embrace the quirk, revel in kitsch: ideas to give your home a unique character and a personal touch

  1. Great post on the home as a reflection of who we are. The complexity arising from the various modern cultural demands can be at times overwhelming. My wife takes care of all the decor in our house and I take care of the repairs.

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