Infuse an ethnic Indian vibe into your decor


Pooja Khanna Tyagi

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.

Design and planning

If the house is in construction stage, use local building material. Go for passive or natural cooling techniques for a comfortable indoor environment. Features like high ceilings, internal courtyards and outdoor water bodies effectively create a climate-responsive building.

The four-poster bed remains one of the most popular pieces of traditional Indian furniture.

A riot of colour

Rich colours and textures in earthy shades of yellow, orange and brown form a prominent feature of Indian aesthetics. These colours can be incorporated in decor pieces, artworks, accent furniture and wall art. Introduce bright colours or use wallpaper with traditional motifs on a single wall to make it the focal point. Use neutral or contrast colours for the rest of the walls.

Stone on the floor

Go for natural stone material like Udaipur green marble, Jaisalmer yellow marble, sandstone, etc. to add colour and infuse warm look into the interiors. Create an ethnic style statement with handcrafted cement tiles which are available in rich colours and bold traditional motifs. Another type of tile is the Athangudi tiles from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu which is available in earthy colours and geometric or floral patterns.

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.

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.

Decorate with ethnic paintings

You can add to your interiors handicrafts like wooden boxes, decorative masks, papier-mache art, puppets, stained-glass lanterns, etc. Madhubani paintings and framed Kashmiri runners and carpets can be used to decorate the wall. Decorate your outdoors with terracotta pottery.

Install jaalis

Jaalis or intricately carved lattice screens can be an excellent addition to traditional Indian decor. These screens are introduced in the form of a partition, wall panelling, doors, false ceiling and in the furniture design.

Design a puja room

A well-designed puja room with marble or bronze idols is a must-have for a traditional Indian home. Many such idols symbolise peace and abundance and can be used to accessorise the house.

Intricate inlay work

Give a rich and artistic look to your house with intricate inlay work within the marble flooring. This type of detailing is quite expensive and most suitable for areas like the entrance foyer, puja room and a double-height space so that it forms an accent feature and has maximum visibility.



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