As the year draws to a close, the VAT anticipation gets more pronounced. Soon Dubai will have to forfeit its tax-free haven card as it gears up to levy a 5 per cent VAT from 7am, January 1, 2018.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The savvy shopper has been on the hunt for bargains and big-ticket purchases through the year, with consumers buying expensive watches, jewellery, electronics and even automobiles, all before the taxman comes knocking.
But what about your home? Have you given thought to how best to VAT-proof your living space – PW gets some of the city’s key home and interior experts to help you navigate the eclectic and exciting terrain of home interiors and make the most of the few tax-free weeks left in the year.
Aisling Young, home design blogger at Adore Décor Dxb says, “Many people worry that a home makeover will involve a lot of effort and cost a lot of money but that doesn’t have to be the case. Changing the colour of the walls is one of the most transformative things you can do in your home. Whether you opt for a pale, soothing hue on every wall or a single, dramatic feature wall then a lick of paint is a quick and easy way to freshen up any space.
Alternatively, there are smaller changes that can be made by first decluttering, and then adding accessories such as cushions, lighting, rugs, art and plants. These will soften the space while adding interest and personality.
“If you are keen to make some larger purchases before the introduction of VAT then hard working items of furniture such as beds, sofas and dining tables are key pieces that are worth investing in.” adds Young.
Anri Hamilton, style and trend manager, Home Centre believes that the most sensible approach would be to first invest in large furniture items. “These big-ticket items can be very costly to update but it’s worth upgrading that sofa or dining table now to better quality and more premium materials such as solid wood and metal. Secondly, you can upgrade everyday soft furnishing lines such as bedding and towels. Invest in more premium linen and organic materials with high thread counts where possible for a softs range that will have a long lifespan,” says Hamilton.
Define the brief
But before hitting the malls, it would worth the while to take a moment to make a home assessment. “Articulate what you like and don’t like about the space, what you’d like to change, which items needs updating or replacing and what do you want to keep. It’s also very important to consider the function of the space and look at how you can optimize it more efficiently,” advises Hamilton.
It’s also important to remember that homes are meant to feel warm and not like glitzy showrooms that are beautiful but lack warmth and character. Our personal surroundings are meant to be an expression of our inner state, so fill the rooms with things that energize you.
“Surround yourself with key pieces that makes you feel good. Gorgeous candles, luxurious towels and bed linen will add that final decorative layer to your home. Look for the beauty in the not so perfect – your home does not always have to be showroom ready,” says Saresa Anthonissen, creative director, Dubai Garden Centre.
Pre-VAT wish list
• A new sofa or pair of statement armchairs, a large dining table and a new mattress
• Good-quality outdoor furniture that will last you at least a few seasons
• A great barbecue and pizza oven — enjoy the cooler climes and outdoors by baking, roasting and grilling outdoors
• Outdoor and indoor plants. We all love to live a little closer to nature and what better way than to surround ourselves with some greenery
2018 forecast trends
• If there’s one key trend that most experts agree on, it’s nature. As our lives become more hectic and reliant on technology, our desire to reconnect with nature will be increasingly reflected in the design and style of our homes. Organic materials and traditional handcrafts will continue to gain momentum.
• “Any design trends linked to nature and bringing this into the home will still be big for 2018, whether it’s green topical schemes or softer neutral schemes focusing on natural materials will be present. Products which aid our personal health and help improve our overall wellbeing will be in the minds of consumers. Creating spaces and products that stimulate a sense of calm, connects us to the natural world and brings balance to our lives will continue to be important for 2018,” points out Hamilton.
• And what colour to best capture the richness of nature’s bounty than a rich emerald green. “It’s such a luxurious colour which looks fabulous with copper and rustic terracotta shades thrown in. Jute rugs, woven lampshades, beautiful organic ceramics — the trend is all about natural elements being cleverly arranged together,” says Anthonissen.
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