A White Palette

Minimal and clean is how M. Gazal Shaikh (#IAMGAZAL), one of the top influencers in Qatar, keeps her home. An inspiration for all Instagram aficionados, Gazal tells us how she maintains social media-life balance by following the mantra of “keeping it simple” through her interiors as in her life. By Sindhu Nair

The living room is where Gazal Shaikh works and is the most important place in her home

The initial posts that attracted me to Instagram Influencer Gazal were the clean and clutter free pictures, the care with which the entire wall of her Instagram was organised and of course her insanely large follower base. I looked close at some of her posts and found that her home interiors followed the same principles that the person advocated. Clean, clutter-free and minimal. I was convinced that she should be the first person to be featured in this segment, which throws light into the homes of people who have made a home of the house they now lived in. This story takes us through some of the houses of the expat population and finds out the story each one of the houses and their owners have to tell us.

Gazal makes time to tend to plants


“When I was back in India, I did not value greenery as much as I do now. Living here in the desert country, makes you crave for green. I am also a person who loves to spend time at home and so I took special care to make my home, my perfect paradise.”

Professional to the core, Gazal Shaikh, is a stickler for time. She takes me through her home and through her words, I get a unique peek into the personality who speaks from her heart quite fearlessly, in a country where this trait is not so encouraged.

Gazal was quite sure of what she wanted in her house and hence it was easier to find the right apartment. She was looking for an apartment that was spacious and airy, features that are difficult to find in most of the residential complexes available here. Being in the field of photography and to get maximum light for her pictures, Gazal was adamant that the place she opted for should have ample amounts of sunlight.

“I was clear that I did not want any furniture. I also had a colour palate in my mind; white, grey and then the third added colour had to be green for me. I also was sure that I wanted keep the house minimal, with very few furniture and if there was any need for an accessory, I would add plants,” she says.

Ask any homemaker and she will tell you that keeping the house clutter-free and stopping yourself from buying more stuff for the house is one herculean task.

That is something, Gazal seems to pull off quite well, her interiors are free of any added accessory.

“In the last three years I have been in this apartment, I have thrown so many things to avoid the clutter and I have not bought any accessory,” she clarifies.

She also explains how she keeps her house as seen in the images, clean and spotlessly white.

“When you are enjoying the house for its greenery, it is compulsory that you spend some time to keep it clean. That little effort and time will go a long way,” she assures.

The living room is picture perfect. The white walls extend to the seating and the cupboard, creating a clean palette into which a dash of colour is sprinkled in the form of green throw cushions. The rest of the colour is added by the greenery around, on the walls, in the form of very innovative frames with the creepers climbing around it or by the plants kept to break the monotony of white.

The walls are the showpieces here and the plant frames are a great idea for sprucing up, which Gazal Shaikh, ideated after looking through Pinterest for inspiration.

The bedroom continues the theme Gazal has used, this time the wall is grey in colour and the pictures are in the same colour tones of white and black, though they stand out for their photographic brilliance. Plants take a major place in this space too, adding colour and breathing life into the space. The floor in the bedroom is wooden and that helps in separating spaces around the house.

The bedroom has a grey-washed wall with picture frames as the only accessory

The corridors are airy unlike what you would expect in a Doha-home. The light curtains that sway with the wind, the large windows and the white background, helps in making the house look much spacious than it is.

Gazal is a private person, keeping a strict balance between family and work. And even if her work on the social media requires her to have a public life, she chooses to keep her family life as unexposed as possible. Her daughter’s bedroom is another important space in this house and has a dash of green on the walls making way for a cheerful countenance.

“My husband does not like to disturb the privacy we enjoy as a family and that is a commitment I made to him when I began blogging, to keep our private life away from public scrutiny and I have tried to do justice to my commitment,” she says, “But my daughter is interested in this medium. She is quite good in photography and might want to continue what I am doing and even get much better than me.”

Qatar House Interiors

The facade of the apartment complex

Being in the field of social media for over five years and having a large follower base, Gazal gives us a few tips on how to market an Instagram page.

“Before you begin to market, you need to be sure that you have enough content to market yourself,” she says. “Content is foremost, and only if you are sure that you will keep the commitment of bringing the best, then you should go all out to achieve your dream.”

Gazal says that the credit for her success in the blogging sphere goes to her followers who are like family to her. “My followers believed in me from the beginning when my family and friends thought starting my own business would be a better choice.

But my heart said otherwise. I believed in myself and started working on my blog despite the response.”

With time, her family and friends started appreciating her work while her Instagram family grew.

“I began focussing on improving the quality of my work. I needed to ensure my work to be inspiring and moreover I wanted my followers to be proud of my journey,” she shares.

All pictures courtesy IAMGAZAL