Incorporate These Ideas to Lend an Ethnic Charm to Your Home

Article of the Month - Oct 2021

This article by Manisha Sarade

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Incorporate These Ideas to Lend an Ethnic Charm to Your Home


India’s vast repertoire of hand-crafted décor and design finds its origins in folklore, mythology, epics and native customs, and all region’s arts and crafts are an intrinsic reflection of our ethnic diversity and fascinating culture. Inspired from the grandeur of forts, palaces, temples, besides rich handicrafts from different regions of the country, the traditional Indian decor never goes out of style. You can incorporate these ideas to effortlessly lend an ethnic flavour to your house.

Radha Krishna

Cheriyal Paintings, Telangana

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have a rich heritage of handicrafts and handlooms including Kondapalli toys and Kalamkari fabrics. A recent favourite trend from this region are the colourful scroll paintings and masks from the village of Cheriyal, about 100 km from Hyderabad. Inspired by folklore and ballads, the paintings depict scenes from mythology usually in colours like blue, green, yellow, black and white. The background is a bright red and when framed these Nakashi paintings make a compelling décor statement in the entryway, living room or even the bedroom. In case you are not sure about going in for something as big as a painting, opt for the vibrant Cheriyal masks that make for some captivating wall décor. Made from materials like tamarind seed paste and saw dust, these masks are eco-friendly too.

Paintings of Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu

When in the land of culturally rich Tamil Nadu, do not miss out on the handcrafted bronzeware from Thanjavur and Swamimalai that is made from the exclusive lost wax process. The region is also famous for Thanjavur paintings that are known for their iconic compositions, inlay work and gold foil covering. The colour palette of traditional Indian art is so vivid that it automatically brings out the beauty in the decor and creates a wonderful ambience.

55" x 43" Lord Venkateswara as Balaji At Tirupati With Goddess Lakshmi Tanjore Painting | Traditional Colors With 24K Gold | Teakwood Frame | Gold & Wood | Handmade | Made In India

The Many Crafts of Rajasthan

Whether textiles, pottery, marble work or art, Rajasthan has a plethora of traditional crafts that can add colour and life to your home. The state has a rich legacy of block printing done on fabrics like cotton and khadi. These are ideal for upholsteries and furnishings and can lend a seamless Indian essence to your decor. Throw in some handmade blue pottery artefacts from Jaipur and you have the perfect look. A very popular architectural marvel of Rajasthan is the wooden jharokhas that can lend a stunning make -over to any mundane wall. If you are a fan of Indian art then look no further than the Pichwai paintings of Nathdwara, which is a traditional style of painting typically done on cloth with Lord Krishna and his tales being the central theme.

Group of Rajasthani Musician Men (Set of Six Statues)

Bihar’s renowned Madhubani art

An art form that traces its origin to Mithila in Bihar, Madhubani is an art form that is refined, beautiful and extremely vibrant. The painting is characterised by geometrical patterned borders, intricate lines and depict festivals and rituals. An assortment of Madhubani frames in different sizes is a wonderful idea for that empty wall in your living room.

Twilight Blue Mahavidya Tara

The Vibrant Charm of Gujarati Decor

Few embroidery styles are more attractive than the charismatic needle work of Kutch which is the signature artistic tradition of the region’s tribal community. Colourful threads, pieces of mirrors and glass interwoven in sixteen different types of stitches speaks volume of a copious artistic heritage. Kutch embroidered wall hangings, panels, “thorans”, cushion covers etc. are perfect to give your home a bohemian feel.  To complement this look, add in copper bells handcrafted by the Luhars in Nirona or even Pithora paintings that depict folk art culture for that rustic charm.

Royal-Blue Hand-Crafted Elephant Wall Hanging from Gujarat with Upcycled Embroidery Patchwork

The Rustic Charm of Eastern India’s Dhokra

Dhokra is a metal craft with a history of over 5,000 years. The metal figurines are made using the lost wax casting process and the craftsmen use bronze and copper-based alloys in their creations. The human and animal statues that have a thin and delicate shape are characteristic of the art form. The craft is entirely done by hand which lends it an element of imperfection and also adds to its organic and rustic charm.

Superfine 80" Large Nataraja | Handmade | Madhuchista Vidhana (Lost-Wax) | Panchaloha Bronze from Swamimalai | Made In India

North East Indian decor: a Cradle of Creativity

The North Eastern states aka the seven sisters also have an incredible heritage of crafts with bamboo and cane weaving being arguably the most famous. They form great ideas for earthy chic and native décor whether in the form of baskets, mats, planters, lampshades and even furniture. Each tribe has its own unique weave and patterns that make these creations so special. Thangka Buddhist paintings from Sikkim are wonderful souvenirs to pick up from this region. If you are a lover of handlooms choose the Chizami Weaves and Saneki Weaves of Nagaland and Assam that have some great home decor products like furnishings and runners.

Highly Decorated Table (Hoysala Art)

Embellish with handloom

Decorate the house with handloom textiles like khadi, tussar silk and cotton fabrics. Some typical Indian prints and patterns include ikat, ajrakh, kalamkari, block printing and tie-dye. One can create a layered effect within the interiors by mixing and matching these textiles and using these for curtains, bed linen, upholstery, cushions, throw pillows, carpet and table covers. Jute fabrics can be used for smaller pieces of furniture like footstools or as chics for the windows.

Blue-Mist Handloom Carpet from Kashmir with Knotted Flowers

Different trinkets

There are several trinkets that are essentially rooted in Indian traditions and can be used as part of home décor. Incense or agarbatti sticks are used in Indian homes everywhere, even abroad, not just to bring positivity and ward off evil spirits, but also to keep the home sweet smelling and fragrant. Similarly, you can also put a Kalash, i.e., a copper pot embellished with a coconut and mango leaves and/or copper lamps and tiny traditional bells in the prayer room. Kalash signifies the cycle of life while copper lamps usher in a feeling of heritage, happiness, and festivity.

21" Kirtimukha Prabhavali On Two Elephants Stand | Brass Statue | Handmade | Made In India

Festive Décor

India is a land of festivals and Indian home décor takes on a different look and feel during festivals with special emphasis on a jovial and festive atmosphere at home. Diwali is the ‘festival of lights’ and people decorate their homes with decorative electric lights, diyas or lamps, rangoli, and kandils or chandeliers. It is symbolic of overcoming darkness and evil by filling your home with light. Indians install a colourfully decorated Ganesha idol in their homes during Ganesh Chaturthi. There is singing and dancing and prayers, and after 11 days the idol is immersed in sea with much fanfare.

Fine Quality Peacock Urli with Diyas and Hanging Bells

Odisha’s play of patterns: Pattachitra, Pipli applique work and Papier Mache crafts

Orrisa is a melting pot of crafts led by the scroll painting form - Pattachitra, an ancient art technique that depicts folktales and mythological tales. Likewise, the Pipli applique craft work originates in the small town of Pipli and includes bright hued canopies, banners and umbrellas all of which are made using applique work in shapes of animals, birds, flowers, Gods and more. Papier Mache is native to the villages of Keonjhar district and you can find lamp shades, wall hangings and other decorative pieces.

A Comprehensive Depiction of Krishna Lila

Handcrafted solid wood furniture

Bring in traditional feel with handcrafted solid wood furniture made from ebony, rosewood, teak. These can be engraved with metal, mirror or ivory. The most popular pieces of traditional Indian furniture comprise four-poster beds, wooden trunks, divans, cabinets and more. You can hang an indoor swing either made of simple wood or richly carved ornate wood from the ceiling or suspend it from a wooden frame. The informal pieces of furniture include charpais, made with a wooden frame and a tightly woven rope, and modhas or light cane stools.

38" Large Hand Painted Jharokha (Window) | Wood Jharokha | Handmade Art | Made In India
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