How-To Series: The Glamour of India

Indian interior design is emerging as an inspiration for tastemakers. Here’s how to achieve its characteristic opulence in your own home.

Steeped in millennia of history and religion, the architecture and design in India reflect the influence of different empires and several various cultures. Being subject to different myriad influences – from the Mughal empire to the British Raj – has made it a hugely diverse and rich nation, where culture, history and art differ from place to place within the country.  
As such, Indian interior design is among the most exotic, sensory and complex décor styles to work with. Nonetheless, there are certain elements that capture the essence of India’s enchanting and opulent style. We will show you how to harmoniously blend traditional Indian elements with the modern language of your home.
Indian architecture is a vast tapestry of influence from Buddhist, Hindu, Islam elements. Islamic architectural elements such as the arch or geometric patterns like the Jaali remain prominent in Indian architecture, adding grandeur to structures and helping keep its interiors illuminated with natural light.
Done in clean lines and decked with minimalist interiors, these traditional elements are able to speak for themselves and take center stage.
Indian interior design is also about promoting well-being and honing spirituality as it is about aesthetics. Indian homes are often accented with carved metal statues of sacred symbols and Hindu gods to bring prosperity, happiness and abundance to the owners.
Juxtaposing them with colours and patterns not only does away with the antiquated feel that metals tend to have, but the combination also makes for a rich and visually delicious atmosphere. Keep the rest of the room neutral to allow these elements to pop.
Tip: Warm metals (like gold, brass, and copper) pair well with warm hues (like reds, browns, and yellows) while cool metals (such as chrome and silver) pair well with cool hues (such as blue, green, and violet).
Colour is a hallmark on Indian design and is used to signify one’s state of being. To signify opulence, Maharajas have been using vivid jewel tones such as elegant emerald, ruby, sapphire for centuries. To emanate warmth and comfort, Indians use earthy tones inspired by native spices such as turmeric, garam masala, and cumin. 
It may be tempting to go crazy with such a varied palette, but it will create visual chaos and result in a dated look. Keep it simple by using one dominant colour, with sparse touches of a complementing hue.
Wherever you look in India, you will see the work of the maker’s hand. Arts and crafts are made from locally-sourced materials and created with ingenuity and remarkable attention to detail. At home, this is most evident in the furniture that they use. Indian homes are decked with furniture that is rustic in appearance and solid in quality, and the stunning craftsmanship is evident in pieces with intricate carvings of floral patterns and inlay work in bone or ivory.
Handcrafted Indian furniture such as a bone inlay console or doors carved with floral patterns makes an interesting focal point in a roomful of modern furniture. Temper the mingling of these two styles with white walls.