She may not have a professional degree, but Letha Jose holds design and home décor very close to her heart. Jose, who has moved five cities in 21 years, set herself a simple brief: Converting an empty apartment, company quarters, into a welcoming home.

Located in upscale South Mumbai, the house is massive by the mega-city’s standards – a huge living area, an expansive dining space, three large bedrooms, kitchen and three balconies.

“Since we move on transfer every few years, the emphasis has always been on versatility of furniture, and I don't mean the sofa-cum-bed variety,” she says. “I have, over the years, picked up classy, yet versatile furniture that can be mixed-and-matched. I believe one must opt for furniture and accessories that can be re-arranged depending on the layout of any house,” she says.

Jose’s take on home décor is more classic, than contemporary – she’s employed a lot of dark wood and black leather furniture. Soft furnishings and accessories are used to add pops of colour across the home.

“Black leather is classic and you can't go wrong when you team it up with brown solid wood. That is the formal drawing room arrangement,” Jose says.

The family room where the family of four – Jose, her husband, and two daughters (one a college-goer and the other at school) - hangs out most of the time has a black and white theme, one that’s more contemporary and young.

The inclusion of a variety of lighting elements is often the easiest and the best way to create a new look. Jose agrees that lighting fixtures are now available in numerous designs, shapes, dimensions and colours, and can be teamed up to create the perfect mood. “A lighting plan must be variable to create atmospheres conducive to diverse functions—lounging with a book, enjoying a candlelit dinner, or working on an Excel sheet,” she says.

She also harps on the importance of quality, which can take a room from drab to fab. “Always pick up good quality stuff, be it furniture, accessories, china or crystal. It will stand you in good stead,” she says.

Apart from a few pieces of art, Jose has chosen to create her own works of art – family photographs that create and foster a feeling of warmth and love.

“Being a serious hobby photographer, it was only natural that I wanted to fill the walls with beautiful memories through the years. I have picked up interesting frames and grouped them in various combinations – easy and inexpensive wall art. The bonus is that I am surrounded by many happy memories,” she says.