In a world that’s increasingly embracing duality, it’s okay to love two things with equal spirit. Filter coffee and cutting chai, vada pav and vada sambar, road trips and relaxing retreats; whatever be your calling. As Indian homes gear more and more towards a contemporary aesthetic, it doesn’t mean you have to leave your inherent Indianness behind. Don’t be afraid to channel your love for vibrant colours, ornate designs and mirror-cut surfaces into your personal abode. Seek inspiration from this guide.
Craft a contrasting palette
A dual palette of earthy and vivid colours can create contrast and allow you to include heaps of colour without going overboard. Consider a natural stone wall juxtaposed against a bright red or orange wall, or display a colourful piece of trad artwork on a pared-back wall. By combining ethnic and modern elements, you can craft a fusion of eastern and western aesthetics.
Go for sparkly lighting
As Indians, we have an impossibly deep-seated love for all things sparkly. Make your ceiling dazzle with a chandelier or pendant light in cut crystal or glass. It doesn’t matter what style you choose; even a contemporary, Boho or farmhouse light can satiate your sparkle-loving soul and appease your homegrown spirit. Best of all, a crystalline luminaire can serve as a shining design statement and effortlessly elevate your decor without looking overbearing.
‘Mirror’ your walls
India’s legacy of mosaic mirror work was ignited in 1631, when Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan constructed the Sheesh Mahal, literally translated to the Palace of Mirrors. The palace was adorned with pietra dura and intricate mirror work that gleamed of the rich and royal lifestyle of the ruling empire. ‘Mirror’ this kingly aesthetic into your home by employing decorative mirrors in a modish avatar. Go for cut designs, vertical panels or solid blocks to amp up your room’s style quotient. If you’re tempted to go trad, give in. You’ll find dozens of traditional decals and designs in the market that will allow you to transform your walls into masterpieces worthy of Shah Jahan’s envy.
Introduce a water body
Havelis (traditional Indian courtyard homes) are celebrated for many reasons; one of the most significant being their beautiful internal courtyard design. Many havelis were designed to host large indoor water bodies that bloomed with pristine lotuses and peaceful aquatic life. Live the haveli life with your own internal water feature, no matter the space you have available. Invest in a pretty tabletop fountain or an amazing floor-based waterfall. Or sprinkle petals into earthen dishes as a charming welcome display.
Flaunt your curves
Indian architecture is characterised by curves and curls, ebbs and flows. Incorporate strong design elements into your home by opting for furniture and fixtures that shun straight lines and clean edges. Antique-style sofas, vintage wall sconces and traditional light fixtures are some options you can consider. Go for foliated borders, flowing edges and ornate scrollwork that seek inspiration from centuries past.
Conjure a cosy corner
A corner den is a wonderful way of creating a zen zone within a larger space. Distinguish your den by giving it a singular aesthetic that stands out from the rest of your room, and seize the opportunity to give this little corner a trad twist. Decorate the walls with ethnic motifs, paintings or carvings, install a desi-style light fixture and lay out a dhurrie or indigenous-made carpet.
Add drama with details
There are so many classic Indian elements that can sit pretty in a modern home – jali (traditional Indian latticework), Mughal miniature paintings, handwoven fabrics, ethnic motifs and artwork. Scatter these across your home to give your walls layers of character and context. Your choice of decor can speak volumes about your personality, so choose accents that are true to your heart and spirit.
A confluence of Indian and international styles inside your home can give you the freedom to experiment, innovate and create an aesthetic unique to you – one unlike any other; one that helps you seek the ultimate design nirvana.