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A decoration of flowers usually seen in Indian homes | © MaitriLens / pixabay.com
A decoration of flowers usually seen in Indian homes | © MaitriLens / pixabay.com
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13 Inspiring Décor Ideas From India

Picture of Aditi Mukherjee
Updated: 2 August 2017
If you are itching to redo your home or tweak a few things here and there to give it a different look, we have some ideas for you! India is a land of colours and warmth and its range of handicraft is expansive. Here are some relatively easy, colourful and ethnic ways to give your home a stylish and exotic feel.

Madhubani paintings

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.

Madhubani paintings on display in an art shop
Madhubani paintings on display in an art shop | © Divya Vibha Sharma / flickr

Dhokra décor

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.

A typical Rajasthani turban
A typical Rajasthani turban | © neelsky / shutterstock.com

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!

An example of paisley and henna inspired floral art on walls of a haveli in Rajasthan
An example of paisley and henna inspired floral art on walls of a haveli in Rajasthan | © Mohit Modi

Kolam

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.

An elaborate kolam design made in the porch area of a home
An elaborate kolam design made in the porch area of a home | © Mathanki Kodavasal / Wikimedia Commons

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.

A worker dyes a fabric with block printing wood blocks
A worker dyes a fabric with block printing wood blocks | © pujadm / pixabay

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.

A handstitched mirror-work bedcover made in India
A handstitched mirror-work bedcover made in India | © CRS PHOTO / shutterstock.com

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.

An intricately carved decorative wooden frame, inspired from temple architecture
An intricately carved decorative wooden frame, inspired from temple architecture | © MiloVad / shutterstock.com

Terracotta

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.

Terracotta is often turned into utensils in India
Terracotta is often turned into utensils in India | © espies / shutterstock.com

Toran

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.

A colourful toran hanging from a door of an Indian home
A colourful toran hanging from a door of an Indian home | © cegoh / pixabay.com

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.

A Sankheda jhula sits pretty in a living room
A Sankheda jhula sits pretty in a living room | © Ami Parikh / shutterstock.com

Ganesh idol

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.

A carved metal Ganesh idol
A carved metal Ganesh idol | © MiloVad / shutterstock.com

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.