Here, the talented Samir Wadekar discusses his inspirations and the biggest mistakes people make while styling their homes

By Pallavi Mehra

July, 2021

Interior Stylist Samir Wadekar shares her best interior styling advice!

Samir Wadekar is a Mumbai-based interior stylist and decorator with almost a decades worth of experience in print media, the bulk of which was with Architectural Digest. Moreover, he has worked on interior decoration projects across the country and styled spaces and campaigns for several print publications, digital portals and interior decor brands. Here, the talented Samir Wadekar discusses his inspirations and the biggest mistakes people make while styling their homes .

Set shoots for Architectural Digest India
Photo Credit: Jignesh Jhaveri

Pallavi Mehra (PM): What do you most enjoy about styling a home?

Samir Wadekar (SW): After the laborious hunting process, which can sometimes take several weeks, the thrill of finally setting up a space with the wide range of pieces sourced has to be the most fun process. When it comes to styling a home, the last few steps of placing the smallest of objects in an obscure corner gives me greatest satisfaction. Having said that, a home is forever evolving, it can seldom be considered ‘complete.’

Mumbai apartment styled by Samir Wadekar for KGA.
Photo Credit: Suleiman Merchant

PM: What tips do you have for someone who is in the process of styling his or her home?

SW: One of the best tricks that I have learnt over the years is to start the styling process with large statement pieces. It is far better to have a large sculptural piece in a corner of a room as compared to five smaller accessories on a side table. Once you have your key elements in place, you can gradually add and layer smaller accessories into the space. Additionally, as much as possible try using loose furniture, it makes the layout more versatile and one can change or replace pieces a lot easier. Include an armoire, freestanding bar or even pedestals with sculptures. These large pieces can help tie in the layout of a large space as well.

Goan house styled by Samir Wadekar for Inaya living
Photo Credit: Talib Chitalwala

Lastly, lighting plays a key role in establishing the essence and vibe of a space. Scatter a few table and floor lamps around a room, a few striking pendant lamps can be used to create an aesthetic feature on the ceiling as well.

Chennai house decorated by Samir Wadekar and And Design Co.
Photo Credit: Ishita Sitwala

PM: What are some of the biggest mistakes that people make while styling their homes? How can they style their homes without going overboard?

SW: I often oscillate between the concepts of ‘Less in More’ and ‘Less is Bore!’ Finding the right balance is the key while styling a specific room. People often make a mistake when they style the entire space at one go with pieces acquired from a single source. By sourcing objects gradually or even acquiring them from various sources from across the country can help develop a strong story for the home. There is a lot of beauty in the unsaid aesthetic element and the un-styled corner as well. I often find it lovely when the pieces chosen not only have a story but a history attached to them as well.

Bangalore apartment styled by Samir Wadekar for Studio Ruh
Photo Credit: Gokul Rao Kadam

PM: You’re an avid photographer of buildings, natural landscapes and objects. Do these inspire your styling?

SW: Absolutely. I have always loved taking pictures of architectural structures, vintage artefacts and natural elements. We subconsciously tend to retain aesthetic details while capturing the essence of a space. I tend to mentally create a bookmark folder of things that I find fascinating, which in turn can be implemented in my styling and decorating projects. For instance, a detail from a historic museum or castle can be often be referenced in a modern space.

Sets created by Samir Wadekar for Architectural Digest India
Photo Credit: Prasad Naik

PM: A number of people are scared to buy artwork for their homes and they don't know where to start. What advice do you have for these individuals?

SW: People can always start off by buying art that is practical, affordable and most importantly, relatable. The scale of the piece is usually the biggest hindrance for certain people. One can start off by acquiring smaller illustrations, pieces of photography, ceramics or even tapestries. These works later on can be moved around the home or even be replaced with newer additions that adapt to ones changing aesthetics and tastes. One must try to reinterpret or reposition ethnic pieces in a contemporary home as well.

Mock up of an apartment created by Samir Wadekar for the AD Design Show
Photo Credit: Talib Chitalwala

An artwork can vary from a series of affordable Kalighat paintings that have been reframed or a contemporary sculpture that can be placed on a marble column or plinth. The acquisition of art is a gradual progression or even a steady addiction that has you hooked merely by the thrill you get from viewing your first piece of art that adorns your home. Try starting off with a simple piece and gradually get daring with each acquisition.

Mock up of a house created for Architectural Digest India
Photo Credit: Talib Chitalwala

PM: Which are some of your favourite Indian and international furniture and home decor brands?

SW: My current favourite Indian brand for home decor is Ikai Asai, they have a diverse yet restrained collection of contemporized Indian craft pieces on their website. Their longpi pottery is especially stunning. For furniture, Pune-based Sār Studio with its offering of wooden sofas and stone clad tables is a sure winner, and New York-based Pierre Yovanovitch Mobilier creates timeless pieces that can be squeezed into a wide range of interiors.

Holiday home decorated by Samir Wadekar in Mahabaleshwar
Photo Credit: Fabien Charuau

PM: What do you like about Scarlet Splendour and their offerings?

SW: I was first introduced to Scarlet Splendour through their very first Vanilla Noir collection, which was launched and showcased during the Milan Design Week several years ago. The collection featured a handful of pieces, which reinterpreted and paid homage to the centuries old craft techniques of horn and bone inlay work.

The Count Grigio Cabinet from Scarlet Splendour’s Vanilla Noir collection in collaboration with Matteo Cibic in a home styled by Samir Wadekar for KGA
Photo Credit: Suleiman Merchant

Having established their unique and instantly recognizable statement pieces, Scarlet Splendour has evolved into a leading name in Indian luxury furniture design. I am still surprised with each collection launch and the varied range of products, which encompass the extremely practical to the entirely whimsical.

The Coronum Three Seater Sofa by Scarlet Splendour in a home styled by Samir Wadekar for KGA
Photo Credit: Suleiman Merchant

PM: What is your current favourite home decor object/s?

SW: My current favourite decor object or as I like to call ‘my current obsession’ is a Prabhavali. Indigenous to the southern region of India, a Prabhavali is a metal structure, which is placed behind the idol of a deity. It signifies the halo of the divine. Apart from the widely popular solid brass motif clad structure, it is often found in carved wood or metal-plated structures as well. I have always been fascinated by the striking face of the vyali, which is featured on the arch. With its powerful appearance and delicate ornamentations I have ended up using them in at least four projects so far. If you look closer, they often reveal incredible stories.

Campaign shoot for Philips Antiques
Photo Credit: Talib Chitalwala