A modern spin on Indian style

A modern spin on Indian style

A modern spin on Indian style

One of the things that has intrigued me most since I started to dabble in home decor is how Indian decor elements play along with global styles. Wait, there is a correction required here. Let me rephrase that to ‘how well our Indian decor style can take a modern update’.

Rich colour and texture, which are the key elements of Indian decor, when fused with a bit of shabby chic or French country, offer a whole new angle — a look that achieves a soothing mix of old and new, traditional offset by modern — reminiscent of the informalities and charm of a laid-back country house, but somewhere in beautiful India.
In my pursuit to bring in a bit of coastal decor in my home, I have often played Indian textures and elements to my advantage and it’s good to see how more people are opening up to this new breed of decor that’s fresh, soothing, calming, and yet, typically Indian.

From copper puja thalis on a chipped wooden table to homes based entirely on the philosophy of ‘modern traditional’ — this married style has come a long way. This is India Chic — an elevated decor form; a modern take on Indian decor that is rooted with regards to the details and nuances, and yet completely global in its appeal. Think of it as a decor style that is extremely je ne sais quoi. This is not the West influencing Indian decor, but rather, India seeping into world decor.

With India Chic, it’s never really over the top ethnic, but a romantic interplay of elements. What you want are soft, inviting corners that achieve a fine balance of minimalist and maximalist decor and the result begs you to put your feet up and relax. And this is extended to every single element in your home. While bohemian decor marries several textures and colours and creates spaces that fill you with a sense of eclectic energy, this on the other hand, should encourage you to take a deep breath and watch the world go by. Think contemporary living rooms with a whole lot of white or beige, pops of colours and Indian textures and essentials to bind the look.

How about taking a photograph of a deity you believe in and giving it a chic makeover? I don’t see why a photograph of Lord Krishna must be in a necessarily ubiquitous boring gold and brown frame? Why can’t it be in a museum mount or bright fuchsia? How about turning an old palkhi into a daybed by your window? How about creating a bouquet with marigold and coriander? How about taking an old sari and using it as an accent drape?

With India Chic, the possibilities are endless. The best part is, you don’t have to try too hard or invest a whole lot to achieve the look. All you need is to identify the key pieces that define you and give them a global update; whether in fabric, setting or arrangement.

And you can have a decor that speaks of your feet on the world and yet reminding you at every nook and corner of who you are and where you belong!

Smart ideas

Marriage of modern & traditional

Many moons ago, my mother-in-law passed down to me her antique lamp that V Shantaram had given to my father-in-law’s father, who was a filmmaker and Shantaram’s good friend. For years, my parents had used it as a lamp — purposefully. But in a
setting like mine which is predominant with beach cottage hues and a healthy dose of white, how does one incorporate an antique-finish brass oil lamp? Ah well, the question itself brought me to the revelation of a style that I now call ‘India Chic’. It doesn’t have to be hung from a carved teakwood pillar flanking an idol. It can dreamily hang in a corner of your porch with fresh flowers instead.

Pair your vintage Indian collectibles with elements that are global. For example, instead of a vase, use a copper pot to display your flowers. You could arrange a few coffee table books on a tray, add a copper pot and create a vignette or use multiple copper pots with
peonies or roses and use them to table scape while throwing an outdoor dinner party. (Or, you could use in an old kettle to plant succulents.)

Romantic focal points

India Chic tries to achieve a style that rightfully deserves your attention, but never really screams for it. I remember seeing a friend, who is a food blogger, style a vignette with zari, a wooden board, a few pieces of bougainvillea and a few madeleines on a cake stand. The overall approach was very romantic and European, but if one deconstructs the elements or props used, they were quintessentially Indian. It exuded a certain minimal elegance even when the elements were rich in colour and texture.

To create beautiful focal points, use Indian fabric and prints in muted shades of bright colours like scarlet or sunshine yellow. As a part of your living room, add in an ornate and carved mirror as a wall decor but make sure to keep the rest of the elements in your room simple and muted so your space doesn’t end up looking too busy. One of my favourite ways to get in a bit of Indian punch is to add in a throw on my sofa or on my bed. With a lot of neutrals, I sometimes add in kalamkari, kantha or ikat throws.

Layered lush or simply sparse

Indian furniture spans many styles and periods, so there is zero typecasting here. From intricately carved chairs that are reminiscent of Baroque to simple, symmetrical straight lines that are often seen in humble little villages — this style will work with both styles of furniture. In our ancestral home in Maharashtra, I chanced upon a beautiful piece of furniture that looks like an upside down cot and from which flowers are hung at times of worship. My mind quickly thought about refurbishing it into a pretty pots-and pans-hanger in the kitchen. A single piece of dramatic furniture can easily dictate the look of a room.

Pull in your existing furniture and elements and give your room an update by simply changing the way they are purposed or arranged. For your dining tables, mix and match straight lines with curved chairs and bright upholstery to create an interesting seating. Or, use your sofa as a part of your dining. Use a ladder to hang your pots and pans. Don’t be afraid, as you’ve never been with colours.

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