Many Kenyans are gaining an interest in very luxurious decor, according to a local company, Varicci Interiors.
“People are becoming more positively receptive to luxe like having mirrored furniture in the bedroom. It is not too much. It is a vanity life but you only live once so why not?” says Varicci founder Mutheu Muinde.
“Kenyans today like living a glam life. They like to glam a room with very fancy furniture,” she adds.
Luxe decor is very high-end interior used to create opulent or auspicious spaces.
Some of the features of luxe decor include mirrored furniture, tufted pieces, popping colours or nude colours such as white and beige.
For Varicci whose signature is mirrored furniture as well as tufted pieces, catering to this trend gives them an edge against other firms.
“They are many shops that are still doing traditional kind of furnishings but our focus is just luxury kind of finish,” says Ms Muinde.
Wanjala Mwachaze, a Nairobi-based designer says what is creating an interest in luxe decor besides the luxury feel is the need for one to have a minimalist look in spaces.
Other features of luxe decor include use of geometric furniture, the incorporation of fabric with a little bit of curvy patterns, the choice to go for rustic furniture sometimes, gold and brass accessories, according to the designers.
“There is a deliberate choice to avoid screaming colours when it comes to luxe decor but you will find colour featured here and there but not necessarily all over the room — just a sort of touch-up to light up the spaces,” says Ms Mwachaze. But, though the rustic feel is coveted, Varicci discourages against refurbishing sentimental pieces such as temples and mirrors in order to achieve this.
“Sometimes we meet clients who want to change how these sentimental pieces look yet the love them dearly. From our experience, that is costlier than buying new pieces,” she says.
Additionally, some of the pieces are difficult to put back together because a unique material such as metallic paper is used to create them.
To get luxury furniture, you can either buy from furniture houses or get it locally made.
Before you decide on luxe decor, ask yourself these questions. What do you want? How do you expect the space to be? How big is your space?
“We actually do house tours to see the space first because we make the furniture. Your walls maybe brown and you are not willing to change the colour,” she adds. Varicci acquires some of the fabric such as velvet locally and some internationally depending on client preferences and their budget.
Ms Muinde says she appreciates that international firms, mainly in Dubai, offer a wide variety and specify the features of fabric such as whether they are waterproof, UV protected and mould resistant.
According to the designers, while the interest in luxe decor is much welcome, there are some faux pas.
“People want to pick what they see online. For instance, you see an inspiring unit online like a high chair and you think that a high chair will fit in a normal Kenyan home. High chairs are for people with high ceilings,” she says.
“Lighting in your house will not necessarily facilitate some styles. If you have very good lighting you can put dark colours but if your house does not have really good lighting don’t do dark colours,” she adds.
Also buy few items which are really high quality and avoid buying a lot of them just for the sake of having them.
“If one is not careful, you might end up bringing in too much into one space such that you create an imbalance in terms of design elements. Also you could end up having a space cluttered rather than looking chic,” she adds.
Ms Muinde, who has always been interested in how spaces look, learnt how to make tufted furniture from YouTube.
Today, she is the brains behind decor in places such as Seven Sea restaurant, The Courtyard and executive apartments.