Interior designer, Itumeleng ‘Terracotta’ Makgakga’s home décor tips for Spring/Summer ‘22.

decor, interior design, Itumeleng Makgakga

Words: Lesego Ntsime | Images: Supplied + Getty

Spring is almost upon us. Pack away that cosy blanket and that fluffy rug. With its promise of new beginnings, sweeter fruits, and warmer weather, we welcome spring and so do our homes.

“But, how?” you ask. 

Well, we sat down with Joburg-based interior designer and fine line artist Itumeleng Makgakga to learn a thing or two about inspiration, style, and readying your home to bloom as the trees do. 

Itumeleng Makgakga, interior design, decor

decor, curved lines, interior design

This is what the style-savvy interior designer shared with us:

Share some of your favourite interior/decor trends for Spring/Summer.

Round-edged, curved, and organically shaped furniture is a revealing trend lately. Designers are reintroducing curved pieces into designed spaces and retail stores are selling those styles to consumers rapidly as well. You could go back to the notion of curves - they enhance a sense of calming and soothing qualities. And perhaps this is a trend that we all need, considering the world’s hardships that we have experienced.  For some, such designed spaces and experiences allow them to be at ease again.

What inspires your design process?

It has to be new spaces and the client's vision - to take that vision, break it down, conceptualise and research towards elements that carry a story that will reflect parts of the client in the space. That in itself is just mind-blowing to think that words, programmes, illustrations,  paper, forms, colour, texture, application, and so forth create the final outcome over a period of time, and in a space that can be occupied over a lifetime is just a beautiful process.

When/how did you fall in love with interior design?

I fell in love with interior design by mistake. I know (laughing)... sounds really weird sharing that moment.

It was a while back in high school and we had various university institutions visiting to inform us about the programmes that they offer. We were seated in an auditorium and one facilitator asked my classmates and me - one by one - what each of us wanted to study. And when it was my turn I said; “Interior Design.” And everyone turned back to look at me, while in my head I knew that I needed to research more about what could potentially be my career. And when I did, I fell in love immediately.


home decor

In your opinion, what makes a house a home?

What makes a house a home is definitely the reflection of the humans that occupy the spaces within that home. Reflections of their characters, their past and present, upbringing, and their loved ones - basically, reflections of who they really are. Not necessarily everything about them, but portions of them in order for one to somewhat gather a bit of who the home is carrying and protecting. And that can be portrayed through the type of art they’re into, ornaments, family pictures, books, or collections of whatever it may be that they are interested in.

interior design, decor, trends

Does your taste in fashion inform your interior designing process?

Not necessarily. Sometimes my thinking process is complex, other times it is very rigid and linear and other times it is very abstract and all over the place. That is the beauty of design processing. 

My fashion preference changes with time and mood. Sometimes I dress formally in silhouette forms, white crisp tops, and minimal coloured textured outfits. Other times, I am smart casual with a hint of colour. Sometimes I just dress casually in jeans, simple tops, caps, and boots/sneakers. So that is never an emerging influence on the other. My designing process is more complex and my fashion taste is simple. However, I realised that the colour is what informs the other - my eye is more drawn to certain hues of clothes that reflect in my designs and illustrations.

Shop Itumeleng's style:

What is your one home decor secret?

Mhmm, it would not be a secret anymore if I share, right? Hahahaha jokes.

There are multiple secrets, but the one home decor secret would be the addition of good quality furniture. 

No matter how simple, eclectic, or rustic a space can be - if you have one or two well-manufactured furniture pieces in a space, it allows the design to have a lifetime focal point that one can be able to design around with less hassles and without breaking the bank.

How can one switch up their home decor for Spring/Summer without breaking the bank?

Adding ornaments to your home is one of the most effective ways to switch up your home decor without blowing your budget. Think vases, cushions, books, picture frames, art, flowers, trays, and candles. One can perhaps have a more vibrant colour theme for Spring/Summer and then have a more moody but warming colour scheme for Autumn/Winter, while still keeping to almost the same ornaments but moving them around the house monthly or twice in a month. Where you have the same scatter cushion sizes, for instance, you can switch them up with new cushion covers.

Dress your home:

What home decor item is currently on your radar?

Well-designed lamps are currently on my radar. I might have a bit of an obsession with designed lamps that act as a feature in a space. But also, their functionality adds a sophisticated element to the design. We have so many local designers that are constantly releasing high-quality and beautiful lamps and it honestly tickles my interest every time I have to add them into my clients' home designs because of the endless variety.

home decor, interior design

Source: Architectural Digest, November 2021. Photography by Frank Frances

Which celebrity home aesthetic do you have on your Pinterest board?

Shu, it took a while for me to think of one. They are not on my Pinterest board, but Architectural Digest (AD)'s 2021 feature on Alicia Keys and Swizz Beats' home introduced me to an aesthetic I connect with - a Modernist home looking over the pacific ocean. Their home is very modern and eclectic with collections of furniture, sculptures, and art that pays homage to their roots, culture, and stories. It also has futuristic elements that portray simplistic use of form and characters of truth to the use of materials of steel, concrete, and glass. And that captures my interest and principle application of the modernism and postmodernism movements of design. 

music, inspo, decor

Which 5 music albums do you love to listen to when you’re at home relaxing, cleaning, cooking or starting your day?

Oh, this is a tough one, but I'll have to say I love the following 5 albums:

  1. Thundercat: It Is What It Is
  2. Filah Lah Lah: We’re Gonna Be Just Fine
  3. SZA: Ctrl
  4. Sonder: into
  5. Afrotraction: For the Lovers

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