has a long history of varied cultures, traditions, languages, rulers and
religions. This has resulted in a multitude of architectural ideas, influences
and styles (most of them centuries old) that have evolved from different parts
of the country. Traditional Indian design is essentially forged in the crucible
of multiple regional cultures. It’s diverse, multi-faceted, but full of
colours. Using Indian decor ideas to add ethnic touches to your home is pretty
workable, affordable and doable. Here are some common intersections of a few of
those diverse ideas, and how they have found a space and are making an impact
even in modern homes.
furniture, painstakingly and profusely carved with exquisite artistry, shouts
vernacular Indian style. Intricate carvings in wood and marble were symbolic of
prosperity in the olden days. As these were mainly seen in the palaces and
forts of kings and queens, others aspired to display this ‘royal’ design
element in their homes. It is not uncommon to find many traditional homes with
beautifully carved window- and door-frames even today.
traditional Indian living room setup typically has a long cushioned diwan
(day bed) with bolsters on the sides surrounded by several cushions in colourful
Indian fabrics. Teamed with beautifully carved stone or wooden furniture, this
can be in the form of a low seating with or without a backrest. A diwan
is a sturdy piece of furniture and can easily last upto 15 to 20 years. This is
often used with an Indian or a Persian carpet.
Indian houses in towns and villages had a jhoola (swing) in their front
or backyards, and this can be seen even today in many Indian rural homes.
Traditionally, a swing was just a slab of wood suspended by ropes from the
bough of a tree but times have changed, and now they come in different designs
with different finishes to suit modern homes. Typically seen in living rooms
and balconies as a part of a seating setup, they are a much loved and used in
shared common spaces.
most oft repeated theme in India is the use of brassware. Whether it is
statues, urns or lamps, we love to display our brassware. And why not? It’s
very Indian and even a single piece can make an entire vignette. Then, Diyas,
again, are very ethnic. Though candles make gorgeous vignettes, it’s diyas
and ethnic tea-light holders which make them look very elegant. Indian decor is
incomplete without the use of ethnic weaves and embroideries, especially
because we have such a wide variety to choose from. Use block printed
bedcovers, kantha cushions, silk runners or bandhani throws.
are one of the best ethnic decorative elements you can add to your home,
regardless of which part of the house you’re trying to decorate, may it be the
garden area or your living room. There is an abundance of options available, in
different sizes, and shapes. From earthen pots to terracotta vases, the range
of options is huge. The tradition of handmade pottery is prevailing in India since
the time of the Indus Valley Civilization, clay craft or pottery is said to be
one of the most primitive forms of handicrafts in India. Artists engaged in
pottery are called Kumhaars. Besides
its world famous Terracotta form, pottery has got different forms like red
ware, grey ware and black ware.
rich art forms and heritage cannot be conveyed more perfectly than through
paintings. Paintings depict India’s rich culture, natural sceneries, and
sometimes even significant historic events. It’s an elegant way of adding some
ethnic touch to your interiors.
are plenty of spaces on the wall which need to be decorated in any home. Coming
to walls, many decorative items can be used to add a traditional Indian vibe.
The walls can be beautifully decorated with wall clocks, mirror, photo frames,
lamps, complete wall painting, etc. Wall hangings can be used for your walls, a
table cover, or even a single bed sheet. Traditional Warli canvas art
oil painting, Madhubani Paintings and paisley stencils are quite a
popular choice. Then there are block printed bedspreads and table runners of
course. If you want to decorate your house with items that have meaning and at
the same time create a relaxing environment, Mandalas could be an option
for you. Mandalas have become popular over the last few years. These
drawings originate in India and are much more than just a decorative item. One
can also look for traditional wooden craft items in dark wood as wall hangings.
ever notice in the village homes there is always the use of niches that is a
dug into the wall where you can keep your extra stuff, or decorative items,
family pictures and what not. So, if you can make a niche in your wall, make it
in the form of an ogee arch, or get inspired from Rajasthani forts, or any arch
or traditional form. This will not only give you that vibe but also some extra
storage. You can make them anywhere from the back wall in the bedroom. or in
the living room beside the TV unit the choice is yours.
know India is rich in their fabric and textile production. Fabrics like jute
and Khadi and even a lot of cotton is made in India. So, you can choose
fabrics of any region you like from Rajasthani folk style, Maharashtra’s Warli
style, Chikankari of UP to even Punjab’s Pulkhari and many
more as you like. India is historically famous for its beautifully made
fabrics. Moreover, these fabrics can be used in a number of creative ways in
our homes – long, flowing drapes for windows, simple sheets thrown over a
divan, to carpets and dhurries. As a part of using Indian interior design, use
fine fabrics with Dabu or Ikat prints for upholstering your centre pieces
or for your cushions. Cotton and Khadi can be used for side chairs while
simpler fabrics like jute can be used for smaller foot stools. Use these
fabrics in and around your house, for instance on the curtains, sofa and couch
covers, dining table or cloths in kitchen to even bedsheets in the bedroom. You
can also frame any artwork of fabrics, frame it and hang on the wall. All of
these will add those extra colours, culture and will always preserve your
favourite art forms.
Indian cabinets are a great combination of functionality and aesthetics.
Brightly painted and embellished with inlay work using mirrors, stones, ivory,
or metal, they can serve as storage units too. Use them as accents alongside
solid wood pieces to lighten the mood of your spaces. If you have heirloom
furniture pieces, hold on to them and put them to good use.
carving is a common but an elegant art in all parts of India. Each region in
India has its own style of structures and carving styles. Listed below are some
of the regions where this art is practiced:
This region of India pays attention in sandalwood carving. Several sandalwood
idols have had a carved image. Now, sandalwood boxes are also one of the
specialties of Karnataka. Sandalwood possesses a unique smell that makes it
stand out from other class of wood. The boxes created are mostly covered with
mythological scenarios. These are essential items of Mysore, Sagar and Kumta.
This Indian region is lined with wood. The ceiling is quite show off of lattice
and geometrical styles and pattern. In this region, several woods carved are
produced like bowls, furniture and boxes. The Kashmir has a lot of walnut wood,
The carvers here decorate wooden panels which are utilized for pillars and
The region of Kerala has the richest traditions in terms of woodcarving. One can witness beams and carved pillars in
each house. Wood Carvers over the region of Kerala perform wonders on
sandalwood and rosewood.
This place of India has wide array of forests and is also rich in terms of
culture and tradition pertaining to wood works. The worship centers here
includes big carvings of mythical creatures such as garuda, lions with Simhasan
Nadu: This Region in India has a good developed tradition of wood carving. This
is practically utilized for decorating temples and houses. The wooden Tanjore
dolls as well as the Punki wood dolls are popular in this region.
This place is located in Gujarat and is one of the most essential centers of
can go ethnic for the bathroom design with some Indian printed tiles. Mixing
and matching different patterns and shapes of tiles is also a good idea. To provide
a good contrast, pick one bold tone and make sure the other is a relatively
muted tile colour. Hand painted tiles are also easily available in the market.
Additionally, you can add a traditional wooden vanity with cabriole legs to
store your bath essentials.
easiest way to incorporate Indian motifs is through accessories i.e. fabric,
cushions, paintings and carpets. Indian fabrics be it in upholstery or cushions
are popular worldwide – motifs like paisley, ikat…big florals and woven tribal
prints are very in. Again, Indian rugs, durries and carpets have always been
popular. A brightly upholstered chair in your favourite Indian fabric always
acts as a pop. Another interesting way to add motifs is by bringing in an
Indian inspired wallpaper on an accent wall. You can even use fabric or an old
sari as wall hanging.
amalgamation of traditional Indian architecture and a touch of European
influence resulted in Chettinad house interiors, which we are huge admirers of.
However, the thought behind the design of 19th century interiors runs deeper
than that. Originally, Chettinad furniture is made of teak and the chairs are
intricately woven with cane. Teak wood has high durability and is ideal for
humid climatic conditions. For this reason, teak wood is reused from old
mansions as furniture. What accentuates this furniture even more is the
addition of brass accents such as the handles of the swing, brass floor lamps
and hanging lamps.
Chettinad furnished mansions, the furniture is also embellished mainly using
marble. The furnishing and decorative items are imported from Europe and East
Asian countries. Italian marble along with Burma teak wood comprises the
perfect Chettinad style furniture. In order to make the furniture more elegant,
wall to wall mirrors and crystals imported from Belgium and Europe are blended
along with the raw materials. The
colourful designs, unique feature of Chettinad furniture surely brings the
aroma of South Indian culture and tradition to your living room. Those grid and
floral patterns which is very rare and splendid is an extra asset for your
luxurious mansion. A blend of tradition
with contemporary architecture keeps Chettinad furniture distinct from others.
desert state of Rajasthan is well known for its woodwork. The art of woodwork
has been prevalent here for quite a long time and has survived mainly due to
the royal patronage. The art found its way into the religious life as well
since it was used in making ornaments, ceremonial arches, pillars and other
things related to religion and ceremonies.
making formed an integral part of woodwork, and found its pride of place in the
havelis and palaces in the medieval period. Even today, the furniture made in
the state is quite popular throughout the country. Rajasthan is the only state
where the latticework on wood is done. At Jodhpur and Kishangarh, one comes
across the painted furniture that consists of screens, doors, caskets and
chairs. Again, from the regions of Ramgarh and Shekhawati come the ornamental
wooden furniture with floral designs that adorn the projected niches and
balconies of the houses.
are a conglomerate of elements of their traditional handicraft and beautiful
decor and can be rightfully said to be artful and glamorous. If you pay a visit
to the cities of Jaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, you will realise how colours
are a very integral part of the Rajasthani lifestyle. This same colourful canvas
is brought to lif in a traditional Rajasthani house, which has splashes of
vibrant and royal colours on almost every element of the interiors. Oranges and
pinks are the predominant colours, while emerald greens and peacock blues are a
regal affair. Bright yellows and sky blue are also crucial for the interiors. Furnishing
your room with elements draped in these colours such as through wall paints,
wall hangings, furnishings and home decor, will lend a special Rajasthani touch
to your home. Brick red colour is an option that can be explored in as many
ways as possible – in different shades and tones and on different elements. Other
element of beauty would be swings and armchairs, be it of metal or wood, but
they all should be very intricately embellished in traditional motifs and
and designed by hand, these handicrafts are a result of the Kashmiri heritage
and can often be traced back to Budgam, Srinagar, and Ganderbal. You can expect
your Kashmiri items to be intricate and highly detailed. Since Kashmir has been
a melting pot of cultures, the mix of heritage is still reflected in its art
form and crafts that have been perfected over the years. Some of the most
popular Kashmiri home designs can entail the famous carpets, copper &
silverware and Kashida – the local embroidery style that adorns the
homes of many across the world.
the most famous artform Kashmir has given to the world and the Papier-mâché
artwork can be traced back to the Mughal period, where rulers like Akbar were
the patrons of this art. A process spanning across weeks is a painstakingly
meticulous art form that today adorns gardens and heritage mosques in Kashmir. You,
too, can add these beautiful pieces to your home in the form of wall hangings,
lanterns, decorative bells, and goodie boxes, to name a few. You can liven up
your threshold with these decorative bells while your passageway can be home to
your wall hangings. You can also put figurines on your cabinet or the small
goodie boxes to your dining table to bring some colour to the otherwise empty
tables. However, it is vital to make sure that you don’t overdo it since the
bright colours can be overwhelming. Apart from Pashmina shawls, Kashmiri
carpets have been on the checklist of every home interior enthusiast. An
authentic carpet from the region is marked by its intricate work, purely
handmade approach, and knotted tufted weaving instead. Based on your
requirements, you can choose a silk or wool carpet. Then there is The Kashida
embroidery is the epitome of the exquisite Kashmiri needlework, reflecting the
beauty that is inherent to this beautiful state. Such embroidery involves a
single long design stitch which makes it one of the most distinguished forms of
needlework. Since this technique is one-of-a-kind, not many artisans are
equipped with this artform which makes it an expensive decor for your home. However,
if you seek to add this extraordinary embroidery to your home, you can do so in
the form of tablecloths and table runners. If you are lucky and get your hands
on the Kashida curtains, savour them for your lively living room.
designs of the Pinjara-Kari are famous and originated in Kashmir. Pinjara-Kari
is the craft of making screens of interwoven wooden laths forming intricate
geometric patterns. They do not differ from the mathematical designs of the
Arabs or limited form with the most popular being those of the rising sun and
craftsmen added mastery to the craft and helped revive its form and its
survival showcasing figures from the folklore of Kashmir. These are used in
elements like windows, partitions and balconies. A pinjara-maker needs
to have a good knowledge of geometry and understanding of tools and construction
methods. Over time this craft because of its high value and time consumption
started declining. Later modern materials like metal grills, glass and mesh
replaced traditional Pinjra. Some artisans and walnut woodcarvers have
picked up the art of making it while restoring old Pinjra forms and
craft originated in Ladakh, Choktses - handcrafted wooden tables are
deeply ingrained with the old nomadic lifestyle. The tables are foldable and
low height and are an indispensable part of the local households. From simple
designs to elaborate ones, the emboss on the tables involves mineral pigmenting
to create motifs of snow lions, dragons, clouds and lotus. Depending on the
complexity of the design, these carving and embossing take up to two months to
of wood carving in Uttar Pradesh include Aligarh, Azamgarh, Nagina, Lucknow and
Saharanpur. The wood used here is Shisham and Sal for carvings.
Nagina exhibits a graceful style of carving in ebony on many articles like
tables, chairs, boxes, beds, etc. The motifs are mostly floral and sometimes
geometrical. The place, Nagina always had a problem of transportation due to
which the craftsmen made small decorative pieces as they became easier to
carry. Nagina’s craft dates back to the Mughal times and this craft but with
the shift in consumer base, the range of these finely carved pieces started
changing towards items of contemporary use, ex. Windows, doors, boxes, pen
form of wooden craft is incorporated in furniture making. Sankheda furniture is
colorful, painted wood, made in the Sankheda village of Gujarat. It is treated
with lacquer and is painted with traditional bright shades of maroon and gold.
The colour innovation has been adopted with black, blue, green, ivory, copper,
gold, silver and burgundy shades. Apart from being used as traditional
furniture, a wide range of products like wall-hangings, pedestal lamps and
vases brought about innovation in this form.
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