Director-choreographer Remo D’Souza and his wife Lizelle’s Mumbai home, as seen in a recent Asian Paints Where the Heart Is episode, offers inspiring décor direction to every host itching to throw a party
When Remo and Lizelle D’Souza moved into their apartment, there was just one major requirement that the director-choreographer wanted. “His main thing was that when he walks into the house, it should be home. It should not be a film set,” said Lizelle on the Asian Paints Where the Heart Is episode that focused on the warm tones and cool vibes of their Mumbai house. Using that as a design lodestar, the couple went about creating a house that is a pretty perfect expression of that vision. Light walls, warm wooden flooring, comfortable furniture and appropriately restrained splashes of colour, everything has been chosen to make this house into a home. “Everything in this house, the décor, furniture, detailing has all been done by Lizelle,” says Remo. This space is just what they wanted out of a home—a place of comfort, work, play, exercise, rest. “There are elements of him, elements of me, and everything together is [this] home,” says Lizelle. And if the inviting vibe and rather prominent pool table is anything to go by, then it is also a great place to entertain. “I love playing outdoor games, and we have a lot of friends and acquaintances who come over who challenge me to a game of pool.”
Over the last two years, the one thing we learned was that home truly was every place: office, gym, sanctuary. What it wasn’t was a place of entertainment. Now, as we slowly come out of the pandemic and its isolating consequences, and open our doors to friends, this home offers up some great tips to decorate your space as the go-to home for get-togethers.
One of the most useful layouts you could opt for if you’re the kind who enjoys entertaining at home allows for seamless fluid movement without doors and walls getting in the way. An open-concept living area that moves uninterrupted into the dining space facilitates the casual, friendly vibe you’re going for as a host. It’s about making your guests feel comfortable and welcome and move around easily. It also ensures that as a host, you are not isolated if you pop into the kitchen for host duties. The wooden flooring that runs through the D’Souzas’ living area further ensures that sense of free-flowing space as well, which is a good tip to keep in mind.
This is one of the most useful pieces of furniture to invest in if you enjoy hosting parties. A bar cart takes up little space, so if you have a compact home, it is a better option than a bar counter. More importantly, it allows for a casual vibe where guests can prepare their drinks and you don’t have to be stuck behind a counter.
Half the battle is won when you go with an open-plan living area. The lack of walls ensures you have more floor space for furniture. But do ensure that the furniture pieces you choose aren’t heavy. That could end up eating up all that free floor space you covet, which allows guests to move about comfortably. Instead, bring in lighter, moveable furniture pieces, apart from the occasional accent chairs that make the right statement. You can pick out a three-seater sofa instead of a two-seater one that’s visually light with slim legs and doesn’t overwhelm the space.
If you feel your relatively compact living room won’t be able to accommodate too much furniture, then pick out pieces that are multifunctional—nesting stools that can be pulled out of coffee tables as seating, a couple of ottomans that can work as seating. Try and create smaller group seating arrangements too—around the dining table, a corner of the sofa and a couple of chairs, even thrown in some large-sized pillows and bolsters on the floor if it’s a casual gathering. The options are numerous.
Apart from good food and great company, a house party is all about setting the right mood, and key to getting that perfect is the lighting. Choose a mixture of cove and spotlights along with decorative table lamps, floor lamps (if you have space) and wall sconces. You can even opt to indulge in a little relaxing aromatherapy by placing pretty-looking, slow-burning scented candles on open shelves; they add to the décor even as they set the mood.
Also, be sure you have a sound system handy, maybe as part of your TV unit, to play some mellow music.
If you have a balcony, regardless of its size, make the most of it. Add in some comfortable seating there—a cane chair, wooden bench or even a swing for one—and some upholstered stools if you have the room. This creates yet another group seating. And if you have plants decorating it, then there’s nothing like some vibrant greens to add a refreshing vibe. You can even string some fairy lights across your balcony railing to enhance the mood.
If you are in the habit of entertaining friends at home, it is a good idea to make sure your living space is not too cluttered. In that sense, a minimal aesthetic is the go-to route to take. Too much clutter will just end up getting in the way. But do make sure you have interesting pieces placed around the room—bold artworks, statues and figures (if you have the room) that can be conversation starters, souvenirs from trips, even a statement chair or coffee table to enhance the space. Make use of any vintage pieces you might have to lend interest to the space. If quirky is your thing, then don’t hesitate to let it come through in your décor choices.
The D’Souzas’ at-home pool table is great if you have space and enjoy the game. But if you don’t have the room, board games that can be stowed away in cabinets also work well. If you have some room and interest, a foosball table will ensure there’s never a dull moment. A dartboard in one corner of a room is also a good idea but make sure the backdrop is resilient enough to bare marks from stray darts.