February 07, 2017 | by The Fustany Team
Souraya Hassan of Studio Binti Home: The Best Interior Design Tips for Newly Engaged Couples
Souraya Hassan, a half-Dutch half-Egyptian 27-years old lady, who has an immense passion for homes and interiors. She started her company, Binti Home, back in 2009, where she designs homes, styles events, does photo-shoots, among other things. She also launched such an eye-pleasing website, where she blogs, vlogs, and sells her very own collection of products, which supports Egyptian craftsmanship.
But that's not all, Souraya is newly engaged, and she has been keeping all her followers in the loop of preparing her new home, by using #OurCairoHome. We've noticed how interesting (and beneficial!) this is, and decided to get in touch with her, so she can pass on the ultimate advice for all newly engaged couples.
Between styling homes and designing interiors, what’s your favorite thing about your job?
I love to travel. I travel a lot between my two home countries: The Netherlands and Egypt. But I also travel for inspiration, to have fun, and to attend fairs in different cities in Europe. Last year, I traveled to Milan, Valencia, Lisbon and Brussels.
A couple is decorating their first home from scratch…what’s the right step to start this journey?
The most important thing to make a good plan. Don’t just start and see what will come in your way, because you’ll have to make a lot of choices. And to make these choices a bit easier, it’s good to stick to a plan.
Also it’s very important to see if your taste is in line. The house is a place where you’ll live your life together, so it should be a home for both of you. So you can start with a mood-board, search for inspiration in magazines and Pinterest.
Besides that, create a color palette for the house with 2 basic colors, and 2/3 accent colors. And try to stick to this. Measure the house in a good way (maybe more than 3 times to be sure), so you don’t accidentally buy a piece that’s too big.
Can you list the key elements anyone decorating their home should invest in?
Make it personal! Don’t copy a trend or the architect's wishes, but simply try to personalize it. How? Use photos from travels you have done together. Give an old authentic piece from your grandmother's home a second life. Try to display accessories that mean something to you. Also important, color. A home without color is not a home. Style your home with the colors of your life!
Alternatively, what are the home decoration items that aren’t worth the splurge?
Don’t try to collect too many small things, but try to work with some bigger accessories in a group together. Or if furniture from your old home doesn’t fit in the new place, don’t bring it. Maybe you can customize it, to change the color, but if it doesn’t fit by color or size, don’t use it.
Tell us how couples can find the best design solutions for small home spaces.
For a small space, try to work with light colors. For example, paint all the walls in white, and use one accent color on one wall in the living room.
Try to work with some good basic pieces, like one sofa and a large dining table. Don’t work with too many small furniture pieces in a small space. It will look kind of messy. Try to choose a plain floor, such as a light wooden floor or ceramics. Avoid prints and dark colors.
Everybody needs storage space. Try not to put a large cupboard from floor to ceiling, but use a cupboard that is maximum 120 cms in height. You can maybe even hang it on the wall. The more floor you see, the bigger the space looks!
People tend to underestimate the power of wall paint. What can you tell them?
Painting the walls give the room so much energy and a personal look. What I said before, use a basic colour for all the walls, such as white, beige or light grey. And add 2 or 3 extra colors (depends how big the space is) for the walls. These accent colors can also be divided over the rest of the room, in furniture and accessories.
The most common decorating mistake that people do when furnishing a new house is…
Buying a complete set from one store or buying furniture that doesn’t fit. I know furnishing a house is a lot of work, but a house needs to be a home. A personal home.
So try to invest time in searching for the right furniture, don’t buy a complete set at store ‘to be ready,’ but buy the sofa from a different store, then the dining table from another. And the same for the coffee table and the cupboard. But, it has to match.
If possible, always carry your color samples and maybe even material samples with you, so you can directly make the right choice in the store. And for the size of the furniture, just measure it many times to be sure.
The best décor trick to make a house a home is…
Dividing the color palette over the whole room, in the walls and the furniture and accessories. What I also love to do, is to create personal art. When I am travelling or walking around in the city, I love to take photos from the surroundings, colors I like, the city or nature. I print these photos and frame them. In this way, you don’t have to buy expensive art, but you have your personal memories on the wall. And the walls do need some attention!
Many couples deal with interference of families, how should they tactfully sort this issue?
Just try to make a good plan together first, and stick to that. If both of you are okay with the plan you made, you’re a strong team together. Of course every family is different, but simply try to talk to them and explain that you’d love to hear advice and tips, but at the end, it’s your home where you and your family will live, so you will have the final choice. Try to search for inspiration and stores on the internet, Instagram and Pinterst. Be prepared, so you can make your own choices.
And what if the couple themselves has a clash in design tastes?
Sometimes you have to compromise. If your partner really doesn't like something, maybe you can add it in a smaller way. Or simply, accept that you will not use it in the house. The most important thing is that there is balance. The house belongs to both of you; you don’t want to put something in the house your partner really hates. So, simply choose something you both like. And the best thing is to compromise, to both be happy!
What’s the strategy married couples should follow to transition their home décor after becoming new parents?
This is something I haven’t faced, as I am not a parent yet! But I can believe that the interior will change. Small decoration on the coffee table for example needs to go away. I don’t like children's toys all over the place, so try to make a kids corner in the living room with good storage (hidden), and matching the colors/materials of the rest of the room. A tidy and clean home is best thing to see!
If you want to see more of Souraya Hassan's journey #OurCairoHome, check out this video to know what we're talking about...