A dash of local flavours

A dash of local flavours

A dash of local flavours

Ethnic style lends a warm and cozy atmosphere to home decor. Vibrant colours and jewel tones characterise the ethnic look.

In ethnic style, stunning designs are inspired by different cultures.

If you want to create exclusive ethnic decor in your home, here are some tips, easy to implement and suitable for all budgets.

Clear the mess

Ethnic decor theme allows plenty of room for imagination and decoration. Remember, it should not become a hodgepodge of collectibles from around the world.

Rather, you should be careful in mixing the right pieces together. For example, if you want to enhance one corner of your living room with musical instruments, try to pick and display pieces of one particular region.

After a certain while, you can change to a display of instruments from some other destination. In this way, you will be able to enjoy and show off your interest in art and culture to others.
Colour scheme

Vivacious colours like gold, turmeric, red, brown, cobalt blue, lime green, hot pink and peacock shades define ethnic style. Silk canopy bed and layered muslin curtains add charm to the look of a room.

Wall decor

Wall art accentuates the theme of the decor significantly.

Wall art can be in the form of a painting, traditional textile framed mirror, intricately carved mirrors or vintage clocks.

They are a great way of adding an ethnic touch to your decor.

Each piece can reflect a particular art and craft. So, go ahead and give your creativity a push while choosing artefacts.

For example, you can pick up some exquisite madhubani paintings or Odisha’s patachitra or Rajasthan’s pichwai.

They will not only enrich your wall space, but also add a strong heritage character to your home.

A touch of traditional tribal crafts, pottery, terracotta and wooden handicrafts are an excellent way to create a vivacious, ethnic look. You can also look at traditional dolls and puppets from different parts of India to add colour and richness to your decor.

India has a rich tradition of crafts and textiles and if you have old Banarasi or Chanderi sarees or odhnis, which you are not going to wear, then turn them into cushion covers and see the difference.

You can even place them as slip covers over your sofas and couches.

Also, bottle art in traditional Indian folk art can be done to add vibrancy. You can choose coloured bottles and use your creativity to turn them into pieces of art.

Change your lampshades if they are  plain. Look for pieces that have traditional art work and see the difference.


Carved pieces of furniture in dark wood like mahogany and teak characterise the real ethnic look.
For living rooms, it is a good idea to place a low-level sofa without arms, possibly in a deep wine red colour. Wrought iron furniture also adds to the ethnic look.

Bedroom with a low-level bed, draped canopy or richly carved wooden headboard and dark wood carved table beside the bed lend a strong ethnic touch to the room.

In bathrooms, wrought iron and brassware towel racks and hooks should be used to present ethnic style. Mirrors with embossed frame look very attractive.

Seating style

A baithak is a very traditional seating arrangement in Indian homes.

It is basically a mattress, usually a single one placed along the length of a wall.

Since it does not have a backrest, plenty of cushions are used to make it comfortable.

So, if you are looking to create a relaxed traditional ethnic atmosphere where your family and friends can just unwind and be themselves, a baithak is just what you need.

Place a mattress with removable covers so you can keep changing the look of the baithak.

Choose the upholstery in traditional Indian colours like orange, fuchsia pink and deep red. Or a combination of neutral colours like beige or ivory complemented with bright coloured cushions with sequins and mirror work.

Here, again, your sarees and odhnis can do wonders.

Traditional indoor swings

Putting jhoolas in a big room is a great way to accentuate the ethnic decor.

A favourite in Gujarati or Rajasthani households, the jhoola (swing) adds character to the room. It is a welcome change from the modern, contemporary and conventional style of furniture.

Today, you can get all kinds of swings – from imperial silver or brass ones to wooden and even wrought iron ones that can be moved around the house. So, pick the one that suits your budget and your living room decor.

And then decorate it with nice bells and temple accessories.

Equip your swing with colourful cushions and bolsters. You could also use the bolsters as armrests. Drape a colourful throw across the back bolsters and you are set.


If you have the budget for changing the flooring, then go for terracotta or mosaic style. These stones provide richness and also give an ethnic look to a home.


The fabrics based in ethnic theme are the most popular motifs with bright colours. Vibrant, bold and embroidered ethnic fabrics are mostly used for curtains, cushions and throws.

Indian fabrics with gold and silver embroidery add a touch of richness. Silk, cotton and satin beaded ones are ideal and give a luxurious feel.

Embroidered and beaded curtains with tiny mirrors look pretty. Sarees and other apparel hung with golden metal curtain pole add an impressive ethnic style anywhere in the room.

Weave your signature style

When you’re putting different ethnic styles into a single room, they should bear a common thread. If we go back to our example of musical instruments, suppose you are displaying instruments from North Eastern India, then try to have furniture and furnishings which can go with it well.

You may not be able to change the entire furniture but, maybe, you can add a chair with elements of that region like furniture made of cane.

Or you may simply place a rug from that region. You can choose a kalamkari or ikkat rug to add an Indian touch. It is necessary to do so if you want to create a harmonious ethnic look.

Your home should have a personal touch. So, have your signature style while giving visual touches to your ethnic decor. If you are fond of pottery, place indoor plants in terracotta pots with small figurines which will add its own ethnic charm.

Use wall hangings, carpets, rugs, brass lanterns and wall sconces to enjoy an ethnic look in your room.

Remember, co-ordination is crucial. Once you have decided on a certain theme, it is essential that you plan a well co-ordinated story of the right colours, textures, patterns, accessories, etc. This will enable you to create a unified and  balanced decor.

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