As India emerges as a major world economy, so Indian design and interiors ideas will come more into the mainstream around the world. Young designers and architects in India are now drawing on tradition in the regions of the country, merging them with western influences and a modern outlook. Arts and design festivals are also starting to thrive, inspiring the next generation of Indian tastemakers.
I’ve just returned from a month in India where I got to see the latest in Indian design and interiors for myself. Here are my tips to get ahead of the curve and get some South Asian design touches in to your home.
Be bright and bold
Bright colours hold sway in India, with hot pinks, the orange of marigolds and wedding sari red all matched with silvers and golds in fabrics. You can also expect to see houses that have been decorated with bright greens or oranges in parts of the country.
Architecture purists may frown on art deco buildings in colours other than white, but the bright colours work well on blocky builds, bringing flashes of colour and personality to an area. Your neighbours may not be ready for a Fuchsia pink house on the street, but why not try getting a local painter/decorator in to paint a back wall, or even the shed in a shocking shade.
Check out our colour pop ideas for some more inspiration on working with bright colours.
Light up your life
Candles and lanterns play a large part in Indian cultural life, adorning homes and being used in ceremonies by most of the country’s religious groups. The candles used tend to be small tea light candles, which sit in decorative holders. These holders can also double up as holders for candles made using some vegetable oil and a wick. Some department stores will sell these decorative holders, with larger UK supermarkets often having them available during festivals such as Diwali. Candles always bring a warmth and homeliness with them, and the light they emit is great for creating mood and atmosphere. Larger lanterns make great outdoor decorations, whether they’re tea light-powered or mains-supplied. A good electrician should be able to set you up with an outdoor circuit so that you can enjoy outdoor lantern light all-year-round.
Find out what you need to know to light your home with candles.
Wooden it be good?
Dark-framed wooden furniture is a feature of many stylish Indian homes and this look is very popular in modern homes there at the moment, with wood-framed sofas on sale in upmarket stores. This is an easy look to replicate at home, but even more stylish are the Jali screens, which are wooden room or window screens with delicate cut-out patterns. The larger Jali screens can be used to divide rooms and create zones in your rooms, closing off a home office space, for example. You can import these direct from India or find one of the many UK businesses who make reproductions here.
Fabric of life
India’s distinctive modes of dress are famous across the globe, but the fabric that goes into creating a sari can also be used for decorative purposes around the home. You can pick up lengths of cloth if you have an Indian fabric shop in a city near you and these can often be found at bargain prices if you shop around. You may also be able to repurpose second hand saris or bright Indian clothing you find in charity shops. The brightly-coloured cloth can be used as a throw, or even stretched over board to create squares of colour for your walls. Check out the rich colours at work above for some colour inspiration.
India’s native graphic design is just starting to be appreciated on home soil, with shops (think Not On The High Street) selling items emblazoned with classic Indian signwriting popping up in cities across the country. There has even been a film made about the famous ‘OK HORN PLEASE’ slogan that is hand-painted on the back of most trucks and lorries across India.
Young designers are now recognising the importance of this style and drawing inspiration from it for home furnishings and artwork that features everything from tiffin tins to auto-rickshaws. Look out for design and prints in Indian shops in the UK, or order direct from businesses such as Kulture Shop.
Find more ideas inspired by Indian home design.