“This house was not in the plan. It wasn’t part of my [current] to-do list,” says Rajkummar Rao about his sprawling Mumbai home. Sometimes, though, the stars are just aligned and things fall into place when you least expect them to. Which is what probably happened with this house, to hear the actor tell it. “The moment I walked in, I just found that connect. I found the energy absolutely right.” So the prolific actor, whose elastic talent seems to stretch further with each movie he does, inserted buying this home into his immediate plans and painstakingly crafted it to suit his requirements, working closely with his interior designer to get everything just right. “It took nearly two years to design and decorate it the way we wanted it.” Handpicked accessories and well-chosen artworks embellish what he calls a very earthy house. “The palette is very calming, which is what I wanted.”
Actor Rajkummar Rao's love for experimentation is reflected in his abode too, and it's mesmerizing, just like his performances. With a perfect blend of earthy tones and vibrant colours, his home represents his personality of versatility. The subtle, simple and soothing ambience of the space is filled with vivid energy and natural light and it brings him peace.
The upper storey of this split-level space is where Rao meets and greets friends and work colleagues, hosts parties, has meetings. The lower floor is his personal space where he spends quiet time his dog, Gaga. For Rao, who grew up in a joint family of 16 in Gurgaon, then shared a flat with two friends when he came to Mumbai, this house cancels out the noise and chaos of a very hectic life. The neutral tones, the clever detailing, the thoughtfully procured everything (from furniture to accessories) all reflect Rao’s work ethic. What it also reflects is his penchant for risk-taking when it comes to choosing roles. In decor-speak, that means whimsical, clever experiments with the material, art, accessories—and the walls of his home.
His use of walls offers an interesting playbook if you want to take some risks with your decor. Here’s a guide to how you can give your walls a dramatic makeover.
EXPERIMENT WITH COLOUR OR MATERIAL
A stretch of wall in a different shade can offer an unexpected break in an uninterrupted neutral-toned flow. Pick a favourite corner of the living room, one perhaps not easily seen from the front door, and paint it in a boldly different colour from your other walls. Or even consider trying out another material—exposed red brick, exposed concrete or simply wood—to break the uninterrupted neutral palette. You don’t have to look too far for such alternatives; Asian Paints has a diverse and wide-ranging wallpaper variety for you to browse through.
CREATE AN ECLECTIC GALLERY
Art is the go-to solution to add some character to a wall you don’t know what to do with. Rao cleverly chose an interestingly
Take a chance with your wall decor and consider layering—a brightly painted wall can make for a great backdrop for a dramatic artwork.
sized trio of large vertical paintings along a wall behind the staircase. Take a cue from his playbook and go radically different. You can work this in a variety of ways: a large painting that dominates the wall or a collage of small works. If you have the space, create an eclectic gallery by creating a nook with a painting on the wall and smaller standing sculptures on the floor before it.
PERSONALISE WITH DECALS AND QUOTES
For a creative solution to wall use, a quirky option would be fun decals to add a bit of personality to your place. Even light installations planted on a wall, as Rao did with slice-of-life quotes, are a great way to use walls interestingly. There are a variety of decals available with Asian Paints, from the seriously whimsical to the patently elegant. Decals are options to work with if you want a quick solution that you can change around and play with often.
There is no dearth of options for uniquely designed shelving units, from hexagonal-shaped ones stuck to the wall to choosing ones made out of interesting materials—wood, pipes that work as rods to hold up the frame, anything goes.
USE SHELVING INNOVATIVELY
There’s nothing unusual about a shelving unit—but there’s certainly room to experiment by picking an unusually designed shelf. Apart from its obvious functionality, shelves can work as sculptural elements on a wall when they come in unique shapes or distinctive materials. Even a wall scalloped out as a shelving unit, as Rao did for his bookshelf in his living room, is something to think about emulating if you have the space, the will—and the advice of a great designer!
WALL AS ART
Use your wall as a canvas for murals. But make sure you think long and hard about what you want it to convey. A mural gone wrong is not something you should have to live with! A failsafe alternative to that is opting for beautifully designed wallpapers which can
either complement your decor or lend some drama to the space. You would be spoilt for choice with the collections available with Asian Paints. In either case, plan well and plan smart.
ADD IN A MIRROR
An unusually shaped mirror with an interesting frame isn’t just a way to decorate your wall it does the additional duty of making your space look bigger.
GIVE SOME THOUGHT TO LAYERING
You took the plunge and experimented with a bold shade for one wall but the adventure doesn’t have to end there. If you’re in a risk-taking frame of mind, think about layering—a colourful painting hanging on a bright-coloured wall with a couple of sculptural sconces adorning it as well. If you are the type who isn’t shy of taking that design leap, layering is certainly something to flirt with. The worse that could happen? It may not work but you can pull down the painting and remove the sconces but at least you’d know you tried.
Award-winning actor Rajkummar Rao at his new home in Mumbai, designed in a distinctive aesthetic.
Rao paired his largely pearl-grey walls with a high-impact deep blue. You can pick a shade that is at the brighter end of the spectrum of the same family of colours to maintain a synergy with the other walls.
A supersized artwork that dominates the wall is a great idea. You can even play around with the size of the paintings you stick up there. Or work with smaller miniature artworks, creating a series of sorts on the wall.
Another way to personalise a wall would be putting up framed photographs of you and your family—much like an album. Or get quirky and add in some light art spelling out a quote that resonates with you, or pop art that reflects your personal tastes.
If you’d rather not replace an existing wall with one that plays with interesting materials (like exposed concrete or red brick), opt for wallpapers that can mimic the look of natural materials. It’s a quick and easy solution to add some depth to your space.
Think about creating a miniature gallery—painting on the wall, sculptures interesting souvenirs collected on the floor with that wall as a backdrop.
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