The interior designer, space stylist and founder of Design Hex gives HELLO! the low-down on what’s trending, what’s out and what makes spaces most welcoming
HELLO!: Tell us about your journey that led you to become an interior designer.
Shimona Bhansali: I was always extremely fond of interiors. Initially, I was into product packaging and wanted to go abroad to further study design. But in the midst of that, I got the opportunity to do an interior design project, and that’s how my journey in interiors began. I was very young at the time, and because my family was into real estate, I was able to design a few showflats. One thing led to another, giving me a lot of opportunities in this field. Although I don’t have formal education in design, my experiences and journey in the industry taught me a lot. That’s how I grew and established Design Hex (smiles).
H!: How would you describe your style of work and aesthetic?
SB: For me, it’s extremely important to have a personal connection with the space and my clients. My inspiration for a space comes from the touch-and-feel effect of materials and also with spiritually guided design intuition. I’m more of a material-oriented designer; exploring design possibilities through forms, materials and textures excites me the most. My aesthetics, too, are based on versatility, and I like to discover different styles with different sites. Overall, though, I love nature- and architecturally-inspired forms.
H!: What’s more important — aestheticism or functionality?
SB: Functional aestheticism is the way to go. Not everything can be driven by functionality, and not everything can be aesthetically heavy. There has to be a sweet spot between the two.
H!: The latest trends in interiors right now.
SB: Definitely more nature-inspired designs that bring the greens inside, with biophilic and earthy materials and schemes. Organic materials are being well appreciated, along with easy-to- maintain and practical spaces. Clean neutrals, too, are a big hit currently.
H!: Is it better to follow trends or stick to one’s own aesthetic in the long run?
SB: Trends keep changing. We cannot always follow them. In fact, two to three trends can co-exist at the same time, or one could even opt for a completely unique scheme for their space. But I do believe homes need to be trend neutral as well as trend adaptable. For instance: loose items can be trendy, whether in the form of upholstery or accessories, as these are easy to change.
H!: And colour palettes? What are people veering more towards?
SB: White is definitely there and will always be. Neutral, earthy tones and terracotta have also been some really calming colour palettes that everyone’s been loving, along with a touch of pastels.
H!: What’s ‘out’ in terms of trends?
SB: The out- and-out concrete spaces and industrial looks are totally out now.
H!: Your hacks for maximising the use of space.
SB: One needs to plan smartly when it comes to storage. Everything needs to be precisely looked at and given only the amount of space that’s genuinely required and usable. Customise and save on some extra inches that will allow you to make space for more. Furniture sizes also need to be thought of based on the size of the room. For instance, one can opt for lesser seating and pull-out dining chairs for a compact apartment.
H!: How has the interiors landscape in India evolved over the past decade?
SB: There’s been a huge shift. Designers have become bolder, more experiential in India. Earlier, there was more focus on functionality and less on aesthetics. Now, designers balance the two. Even the lighting industry has seen immense creativity and growth. I’ve seen a huge interest among clients to carefully pick out the right lighting for themselves, which wasn’t the case earlier. Moreover, both clients and designers have become more environmentally conscious and bold in their design choices. This comes to life with eco- friendly materials, lots of greenery in the house, and incorporation of art and unique collectibles.
H!: What does the future of home décor look like to you?
SB: Definitely more efficiently planned in terms of health-conscious and cosier homes. People now prefer easy-to-maintain homes that include automation, mechanisation and eco- friendly solutions. Smart homes and adaptable spaces that enable you to work from home have become huge.
H!: What’s next?
SB: There are a lot of interesting projects coming up. We’re trying new styles and aesthetics and experimenting our way through every project. One of our most exciting spaces is a 3-lakh-sqft resort in Rajasthan’s leopard sanctuary!
This has been adapted for the web from a story originally published in the September 2022 issue of HELLO! India. Get our copy of the latest issue right here!