An interior stylist’s tips on creating character at home with colour
Transforming a space into a home can be a thrill or a slide into choice paralysis — or a little bit of both. This is, after all, your place of retreat, your nest, and possibly where your family will create memories. No pressure.
So, how do you create spaces where you feel at ease, or infuse character when you’ve got a blank canvas? For Rashi Tulshyan, the fun and yet deeply insightful founder of Home Philosophy, intentional interior design and styling can make all the difference. And one of the most powerful tools at your disposal? Colour. And she’s calling for us all to be more bold with it.
Here Rashi shares her approach to accessible and functional design that tells a story, the transformative qualities of colour, and shows how it’s done in grey, green, blue and pink.
Boulevard: How can thoughtful interior design and styling affect our daily lives?
Rashi: We spend so much time outside our home, I believe it must be our oasis – an escape from the outside world. A thoughtfully designed home will be a place that allows you to be your authentic self, indulge in meaningful conversations and especially have time to be mindful about how we live.
For example, a well-designed kitchen can mean you are not rushing around in the morning because everything has been placed in a way that suits your lifestyle and helps alleviate some of the anxiety that may come with the morning rush.
Blvd: How do you want your clients to feel in the spaces you create?
Rashi: The most important thing I always tell my clients is that their home has to be a space that reflects who they are. Ultimately, you need to feel relaxed and happy, to feel yourself in it – and any space I create must help them feel authentic. For me, connecting with my clients beyond just being their ‘designer’ is where I really add value: understanding them as people and their preference means I can create a space that mirrors their personality and preferences.
We are often overpowered with a lot of different messaging outside our home, so the message you get when you are in your own space should be one of happiness and fulfilment.
Blvd: Tell us about the spectrum of spaces you’ve worked with…
Rashi: We’ve worked on showflats to large 6,000 sqft Good Class Bungalows, to smaller two-bedroom apartments. One standout project would be overhauling a more than 4,000 sqft penthouse apartment which was 20 years old and an absolute shambles, turning it into a modern abode for a young family. We did significant layout changes which transformed the way each space spoke to the other. For example, we designed a master bathroom layout that could accommodate double vanities – which our clients were thrilled about.
I particularly love how well-curated furniture can bring a space to life, and budget doesn’t have to be a barrier at all. In a three-bedroom home, we had a budget of less than $30k to furnish the entire space – and you’d never be able to tell! I loved adding plush details like velvet, jewel-toned furniture and wallpaper to make it sophisticated and luxe, but without the price tag.
Blvd: Why is colour so important when personalising a space?
Rashi: We live our lives in colour, so why should our home be any different? Colours evoke emotions, and I believe there are always colours that speak to us; having something that gives us instant calm, or lifts our mood is a great asset in any home. I find most clients already gravitate towards certain colours – just put a Pinterest board together and you’ll know! I usually help refine their overall palette based on the direction their inspiration images have taken, and from there give them tools to visualise how and where this could be used in their space.
Blvd: Can you tell us about your most unexpected use of colour, which worked brilliantly?
Rashi: We did a rich emerald green wall in one of our client’s bedrooms, which was a total success! It surprisingly brightened the space, added depth to the room and unexpectedly made it feel cosy and welcoming.
I’d love more clients, and especially Singaporean clients, to be open to using colour in large bold strokes. It doesn’t have to be many colours thrown into a space together, but certainly one that can bring their home to life would do wonders.
Rashi: It really depends on the shade, but blue is probably the most versatile colour I’ve worked with. We’ve used it to feel youthful, to be bold, to be calming – absolutely every mood can be created with the correct shade of blue. I love using this colour!
The blue mosaic tiles in this bathroom are bold and inviting. Playing to the different shades and shapes evokes a sense of youthfulness, which is perfect for this young boy’s bathroom.
Rashi: Pink is a tricky colour to work with, more so because of its inherent association with the feminine – which is something clients are often apprehensive about. Pink definitely evokes a softness; a lighter shade can be quite cooling and I use it in busy areas as it can tie together nicely with a variety of textures and colours.
The pink mosaic wall in this bathroom was a standout feature, bringing in a sense of femininity and nature, which instantly softened the bathroom – a space which otherwise often feels very functional rather than indulgent.
Rashi: Grey evokes a huge spectrum of emotions; the most common ones would be coolness, sophistication, neutrality and calm.
When working with greys in a bedroom, adding multiple textures like we did here in the grey wood, velvet bench, fur throw etc. helps to balance out the space and make it elegant.
Rashi: I think green inevitably brings us closer to nature; the colour evokes a sense of calm and connection with oneself and is a brilliant colour to feature in any home. A more rich emerald tone can speak of sophistication, while a lighter mint can feel serene – and I believe both will make you feel connected with the world outside of your home.
The green wall in this bedroom had an unexpected effect of being welcoming, perhaps because we feel instantly comfortable in nature. This bedroom just felt as if it had its arms open to wrap you in a giant hug.
Where to now?