Named after the place it originated in, Madhubani art is around 2,500 years old. The paintings are done using the artist’s fingers, plus materials such as twigs, matchsticks and natural dyes are also used. Madhubani painting started as mural art created on walls and floors to mark a special day. A framed painting with Madhubani art in your foyer or living room will inject colour into an understated space.
Dhokra art, named after the ‘Dhokra Damar’ of West Bengal, is approximately 4,000 years old and involves the technique of lost wax casting. Displaying an old tribal tradition such as this, is bound to add an authentic Indian touch to your home. Opt for a dhokra lamp, wall-hanging piece or a tabletop decorative plate to add a decorative feel.
Rajasthani turbans as table baskets
The men in Rajasthan usually wear a colourful turban and they are easily available in markets too. These traditional hats can be turned into key holders near your main door or slightly bigger ones could even hold small plants. Either way, it will add an authentic, exotic look to your home.
Henna art on wall
A famous Indian tradition that has crossed into mainstream fashion, everyone recognises mehendi (henna) as temporary tattoos. This ancient art form involves paisley designs and floral work. A brilliant way to give your home an Indian theme would be to have henna mural art in the centre of a plain wall, giving it an instant lift. What a statement that will make!
Kolam is another tradition in Indian homes, especially in the south. It is an interesting and ancient decorative art form created with rice flour or chalk, that is said to bring prosperity to one’s home. Usually at the porch of an establishment, columns of dots are first drawn then they are joined by curved loops. To give your contemporary home décor an Indian touch, you can use a kolam design on coasters or floormats.
Block print table cloth
Ajrak, calico or syahi-begar are some names of block-print art that is usually done on fabric. India has an long history of dyeing clothes in all sorts of rainbow hues, and block-printing fabrics that can be used as tablecloths, napkins or anything really! A block-printed spread on your dining table would look exquisite.
Handicraft bed covers
India’s handicraft is extensive and diverse. There are beautiful, colourful, hand-stitched and patchwork cotton bed covers, tablecloths, mattresses and more to choose from. Throw a fabric on your bed, dining table, sofa or even use it as a rug and it will liven up your space with an authentic Indian folk touch.
Temple architecture framework
India’s centuries-old monolithic temples are unique marvels. For many years, people have adapted beautiful carvings of these temples into all kinds of artefacts. You will find carved wall-hangings, clocks, and mirrors framed in beautifully sculpted wood or iron. Such an artefact is sure to make your home a little more Indian.
Terracotta has been a part of Indian art history since around 3,000 BC. Figurines and home items are still made of the brownish-orange colour fired clay. Make one such figurine a tabletop centre art piece or a wall-hanging and your home will be channelling an Indian vibe.
A toran is a decorated door-hanging that Indians use to adorn their gates. These are made of fabric or even fresh flowers. Torans bring good luck, they say! A beautiful colourfully patchwork toran will give a very Indian, tribal feel to your house.
Sankheda jhula (lacquered teak-wood swing)
A swingseat or jhula in India is often kept inside the house or on the front porch if it’s large enough. Made in Gujarat, the sankheda swings are carved out of teak wood, painted in bright colours and hang from the ceiling or pillars. If your living room is large enough to hang one, then there’s nothing like a jhula to make your home look Indian.
The deity Ganesha is worshipped by millions in India and you will spot a statue of him in almost every home. So, why not add a Ganesh idol effigy on your console or study table? The deity’s mythological appeal will enthuse your home with an Eastern spiritual mood.
Turn saris into curtains
This is an easy DIY idea for your home. Sari is a staple clothing in India and there are endless varieties of the drape. Depending on what kind of curtains you prefer, choose an organza, lightweight or pastel-coloured sari and convert it into your curtains, or choose a slightly heavier handloom cotton one, with a colour to match the scheme of the rest of the room.