In Urban India we have the growing, aspiring middle class, hungry for education or willing to move cities for the right job. Parents are willing to go that extra mile to make their children comfortable away from home. Their expectation is to have a clean, tidy, elegant and most importantly a secure accommodation at an affordable price for rent, in a well appointed, central location- very different from the mass-PG accommodations put together by traditional landlords. The number of students and bachelors studying and working away from their hometowns is vast and growing- this multi-billion dollar opportunity is now finding the wallets of professional investors and venture capitalists.
Typical PG accommodation
Anyone who has lived in a hostel or any student accommodation during college years or one of their early jobs would know that in most cases these places had a décor which left a lot to be desired.
The market is fast-evolving, with the higher aspirations and a willingness to pay a premium over the cookie-cutter paradigm which is the market standard. Youngsters today have a different interpretation of their quality of life. They like to live in the middle of action, with all facilities and a happening cultural life. They want a cozy pad, which speaks of them and perfect for parties, interesting discussions with friends or just watching their favourite TV show, at the same time having a comfortable homely feeling to it. To give that comfort to the youngsters and parents we need to have forward thinking design language which will appeal to the younger generation. This will also encourage foreigners to come and study or work in India.
Here are some tips on transforming bachelor/ student pads from hovel to haven. To build a community for youngsters, the place has to be self sufficient with all amenities and defined spaces like Common rooms for watching TV or sharing ideas, dining space, laundry rooms, fitness center, common study/ Library, kitchen, a convenience store, apart from shared or individual rooms. All kinds of youngsters can be accommodated by creating identities for individual places and common areas. Some of these ideas can inspire the accommodation providers to enhance the living space.
Some of the hot trending looks that the younger generation enjoys can be done with a limited budget and tighter timelines. Furniture, lighting, soft furnishings and artwork can be classified per historical timeline and can be labeled like contemporary, antique/ vintage or retro/ Funky.
1. Industrial Chic
Industrial chic, which was reserved for factories and loft spaces, has become a popular interior style in recent times. Accessibility and affordability are part of this theme. It is about practical designs with rustic and mature look, which can be achieved by using a mix of materials and textures, from galvanised metal to distressed wood. Industrial style is known for its simplicity with no frills. The whole idea is to keep most of the interior elements exposed, like beams, columns, wall and floor surfaces. The pipes, ducts and wires are also not concealed and can be finished by painting them or left raw. They have their own charm.
Colour palette should be neutral like grey, whites, black and beige, layering it with some warm tones here and there. Even if you decide to paint the walls and ceiling surfaces, exposed pipes/ ducts provide a sharp contrast to the white surfaces. It can be enhanced with adding wood in various places for warmth, like metal and wood furniture and light fittings. Floor surfaces can be semi finished cement or can be finished well by using economical natural stones like kota or sadarahalli.
Common areas can have wood and metal tables and chairs. Add a touch with a tufted sofa or chairs or any regular sofa in earthy tones. Since we are keeping the furniture to bare minimum and practical, add some artifacts or prints on the wall going back to the 50’s era. Best part is that we don’t have to worry about the wear and tear of interior elements. The worn look adds to the beauty of it.
2. Modern Style
You are a no nonsense personality and appreciate things when they are straight forward, then this is the style for you. Modern style is based on the movement that originated around the 20th century. Later derivatives of this style are known as midcentury and post-modern. Here we are talking about a mix of all and using a singular term “Modern” to describe it.
Modern is a simple and unadorned style. The idea of this movement is “ Form follows function”. Each product in a given space should define its purpose, otherwise should be eliminated. When we talk about modern space décor, there is emphasis on clean and crisp horizontal and vertical lines with fewer curves. The structural elements like columns, beams and walls can be left exposed, but finished well. For eg. exposed brick or concrete wall or column. Otherwise it should be whitewashed to give a neat look. Use of reflective surfaces like stainless steel or mild steel with chrome plating and glass. Modern style is about monochromatic colour scheme. But all this can leave the place, though uncluttered, clean, yet cold. To add warmth to the space we should use natural materials like wood, natural fibers. Storage units should go along the wall merge well in the wall spaces, rather than standing out. Since we are talking about student style housing, we do not have luxury of space. All this helps in making small spaces appear larger.
Bold and primary colours can be used to accentuate the space, breaking the neutral and becoming the focal point. For eg. put a single piece of furniture in a bold colour in the room or add some throw pillows. To make the space lively, add some abstract print frames on the wall.
3. Modern Funky style
We are in an era where modern designs are appreciated for their clean lines and uncluttered spaces. Sometimes adding some funk to it makes the space more interesting and warm. So, here we talk about modern aesthetics with a funky vibe to it, which makes this style stand out. I think this is the best suited style for youngsters.
This allows us to break the structure and monotones of the modern style. Bring in some curvilinear lines in the form of seating of your common areas. Throw some bean bags and pouffes around for the youngsters to laze around. This will help them to come out from their private spaces and interact with like minded people in a chilled out environment. Use of various materials such as wood and steel supplemented with bright colours makes it all work. Add colour on one of the walls to make the space look vibrant. Colourful flooring or curtains or upholstery with a mix of midcentury or post modern furniture gives the space a slight bohemian look. Adorn the walls with some local contemporary art prints and add some metal and wood combination colourful funky lights. Experiment with furniture. Instead of a regular bed, wardrobe and study, develop a single unit which houses in everything, creating a space of their own. Fabrics play an import role in giving an eclectic touch to the Funky modern look. So look for something from straight lines to abstract patterns on them. Even solid colours work very well and are the safest.
Not to mention, we all love to play. So a foosball table, TT table and some board games definitely add to the fun. Books and bookshelves should also be part of the common spaces, to allow the youngsters to read and grow.
Student style accommodation as I like to call it should be an expression of home or maybe beyond. While security and efficiency is important, so is warmth and play.
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