Tradition calling

Ethnic decor
Last Updated 04 March 2010, 10:26 IST

Every home has a personality. A personality that spells the style and attitude of its residents. In fact, one of life’s greatest satisfactions is to furnish our homes the way we like to project ourselves to the world.

When it comes to furnishing houses, each person has his own preference as far as the theme of décor is concerned —  glamourous, modern, traditional, contemporary or romantic. Of late, a theme that’s fortunately made a comeback in a very big way is traditional, with a  contemporary  touch thrown into it. And what best way to introduce the right blend of these two décor themes than by going in for an Indian theme?
Theme India for furnishing doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket too. No wonder, more and more homemakers are going in for an Indian feel in their homes. To begin with, let’s pay close attention to the furniture at home.

Furniture and fabrics
Fortunately, most of us are saddled with a rich store of intricately carved hand-me-downs that ensure that we do not have to spend on furniture. All they require is pep with a good deal of polish and they are all set to compete with the ones
you lost your heart on at the antique shop.

Once the furniture is ready to lend your dream home that much-needed Indian touch, set out on an accessories shopping spree. Once again, when you’ve opted for an Indian theme, you can make your choices obey your wallet. Materials and fabrics used as part of the Indian theme - cotton, jute, silk, wood, stone, etc are not only wallet-friendly but easy to maintain also.

Activate your creative cells a bit and spruce up your windows with cotton drapes in rich colours. Drapes in block prints with traditional Indian motifs go a long way in making the house gleam with glamour. When it comes to walls, treat them as huge canvases and adorn them with fabric murals in patchwork and mirror work that have made Gujarat and Rajasthan famous.

 Or, if you are a creative person, you can try your hand at designing one! Madhubani, Sibi, Mysore and batik paintings too add to that ethnic touch. However, the key is not to overdo. A carefully chosen fabric mural here and a tastefully designed wall hanging there and you have an elegant interior.

Jhoolas in brass or carved wood and low divans add to the traditional Indian look. So, go overboard with them. Also remember to accessorise them the Indian way by covering them with soft Indian rugs that are either embroidered or decorated with beads and mirrors. A few fluffy, hand-decorated cotton cushions thrown carelessly on these jhoolas and divans complete the picture. While shopping for cushion covers, it is advisable to buy those in fabrics such as cotton, tussar silk, khadi silk or satin as they lend the overall ambience a luxurious look.

As centre tables are the centre pieces of any living room, the role of an artistically carved wooden table in jazzing up the room cannot be discounted. If carved wood is beyond your reach, then go in for a simple centre table and cover it with an artistically designed fabric. If worried about spills, spread jute mats and coasters on the centre table before serving snacks and drinks. Jute mats and coasters are not only neat but easy to clean too.

On the floors...
Dressing up floors with artistic quilts, durries, mats, floor rugs or carpets adds dash and panache to homes. The more ethnic they are, the better it is, as placing such rugs on the floor adds to the general Indian feel of the place. Though carpets in wool and silk are more renowned than Indian decorative rugs in cotton and jute, it is best to opt for Indian rugs as they are lighter, do not gather dust easily and can be washed frequently. They are long lasting too as many households in boast of durries that have lasted for about 20 years in spite of several washes!

When it comes to wall hangings, the choices are mindboggling. Handmade puppets and masks look fabulous. So also with lamp shades. The wide handmade variety in cotton and jute, available in the market, lends that ‘oh-so-ethnic’ touch.

Though furnishing a home with less clutter should be the aim, too much of open space can certainly be boring. Here come ethnic Indian statues in bronze, artefacts in brass and terracotta figurines. Indoor plants in brass pot holders too do the trick. A large brass bowl of water with petals floating in them at the entrance of the house reflects the ethnicity of Indian culture, completing the Indian look.

Decorating our homes the Indian way definitely has its own charm. So, give your sweet home a unique Indian personality and it perfectly speaks about your attitude.

(Published 04 March 2010, 10:25 IST)

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