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A hanging lobster claw | © brewbooks/Flickr
A hanging lobster claw | © brewbooks/Flickr
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How to Add a Sri Lankan Touch to Your Home Décor

Picture of Yana Spencer-Sokirzhinskaya
Updated: 23 August 2017

With its rich cultural history and enduring artisan traditions, Sri Lanka provides great décor inspiration. From rustic clay pots, to gorgeous hand-made fabrics and basketware, there is much to look out for.

Place granite statue figures in your garden

Some of the most awe-inspiring cultural treasures in Sri Lanka are the ancient granite statues of the Buddha, such as the one at Gal Viharaya. Now, unfortunately these are too big to fit in a suitcase, but you can get some of the warmth and solidity of granite by getting your hands on a hand-carved granite elephant. Place it among your plants in the garden and to remind you of the Sri Lankan sunshine.

Elephant carving in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka | © Hafiz Issadeen/Flickr

Elephant carving in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka | © Hafiz Issadeen/Flickr

Add lanterns for more light

The Vesak festival (or Buddha Day) in May is traditionally celebrated by making and lighting paper lanterns. Groups of people of all ages compete to see who can create the most elaborate and eye-catching design. In many areas of Colombo you will see rows of makeshift stalls with vendors making their wares from tissue paper and bamboo on the spot. Lanterns are symbols of light – enjoy bringing colour and light into your home by designing your own.

Lanterns at Gangaramaya Temple, Colombo | © Anthony C Shehal/Flickr

Lanterns at Gangaramaya Temple, Colombo | © Anthony C Shehal/Flickr

Invest in a plantation chair for your afternoon tea

In practically every Sri Lankan home you can find beautiful, solid mahogany chairs with cane seating, which date back to the colonial era. Not only are they a timelessly classic design, they are also extremely comfortable. Bliss when enjoying a cup of famous Ceylon tea.

Lay out a table cloth as the centre-piece for a family get together

Beautiful orange, blue, green table cloths and place mats in rich, warm and vibrant combinations of stripes, showing the influence of the traditional striped sarong is definitely a showstopper centre-piece for any dinner party. The ancient weaving industry has recently been revitalsed of late by social entrepreneurs who are helping rural communities to market their products.

Place your fruit in Palmyra palm tree baskets

Worshipped as the ‘tree of life’ in the Tamil culture of Sri Lanka, the palmyra palm is used to create crafts such as basketry and mats in the north of the island. Designs inspired by the vibrant palette of saris, traditional jewellery and Hindu temples. Palmyra craft is an important cottage industry in Sri Lanka, and provides stable livelihoods for many artisans looking to rebuild their lives after the past conflict. Opt for a bright and colourful fruit bowl, and your hand will keep reaching in for the next of your ‘five-a-day’.

Use eco-friendly clay pots and coconut spoons

In Sri Lanka unglazed terracotta pots are used a lot, especially in the production of buffalo curd. These empty pots are ubiquitous, and are brilliant as planters or for storage. Your curry will look more authentic served in one these, just don’t forget to use coconut spoons instead of metal utensils.

Sri Lankan earthenware pots | © The Wandering Angel/Flickr

Sri Lankan earthenware pots | © The Wandering Angel/Flickr

Place lobster claw in the tallest vase

Sri Lanka is home to one of the largest tropical flowers, (also known as lobster claw). A single stem placed in a tall glass vase creates a stunning contemporary arrangement. Recreate the same effect with gladioli or flowering branches.

Evoke sense memories with incense

Incense sticks are used in many of the island’s temples, and the aroma of citronella and cinnamon can be caught on the breeze. To evoke the sights and sounds of a serene temple or colourful market somewhere on this lush island, pick up some packs of incense sticks. Then enjoy a session of yoga or mindfulness, and just unwind.

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