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11 Indian Interior Design Ideas (with Pictures)

stone buddha on marble shelf

India has a long, storied history, a potent culture, and a towering place in the pantheon of humanity. These elements have come together to create a unique design element that factors heavily in many homes. There is a strong emphasis on family, gathering together, religion, spirituality, nature, and function that creates an appealing blend of the earthly and the divine inside the home. Whether you are from India and looking for a taste of home, spent time in India and appreciated the culture, or are just looking to add an exotic splash to your current design, there are ideas on this list that can easily transform a space.

Here are 11 interior design ideas inspired by and featured in Indian homes.

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The Top 11 Indian Interior Design Ideas

1. Feature Solid Wood Furniture

One of the hallmarks of Indian design is a plethora of solid wood furniture. Antique or handcrafted wood furniture brings a touch of the past into the present. It can be custom, personal, or a family heirloom. High quality wood furniture is often passed down through families, and it should be featured as a centerpiece in many interior designs.

Some popular wood furniture that often makes an appearance are ornate chests, inlaid dressers, large cabinets, and sturdy chairs. Good quality wood furniture instantly stands out from other contemporary pieces and can instantly elevate or shape a space.


2. Use A Variety Of Layers

Layers can take a bland square room and turn it into something whimsical. Layering takes the pieces of the room, such as doors, windows, furniture, and lighting, and ties everything together in a way that brings depth and character. Layers can include adding art to the walls, dressing up windows with curtains that match the upholstery, and sprucing up doorways with personal touches.

Layering is especially potent in small spaces that would otherwise feel cramped or lifeless without a little bit of layering magic. Using complementary colors and matching patterns can bring an entire design together in a way that few people think of.


3. Lean Into Bright Colors

India is home to thousands of bright colors. Everything on the subcontinent is bursting with radiant hues. You can run into bright colors anywhere, from the insides of the popular mango to the spices used to flavor the food.

Color is everywhere. Strive to bring that color into your home by choosing bold pallets and contrasting shades, and then put it everywhere.  Some popular colors include bright orange, turquoise, and shades of green. Colors can be added through artwork, accent walls, throw pillows, quilts, runners, rugs, plants, and more.


4. Find and Utilize Exotic Accents

Bring your travels home. Nothing can tie a room together and add a unique personal touch than finding, sourcing, and staging exotic accents from all over the world. These accents can include artwork from overseas, handwoven tapestries, elaborate statues, or small carvings.

Exotic accents show people where you have traveled and what your background is, and can display some of the fine pieces you have managed to collect along the way. The accents can be subtle and out of the way, or they can dominate an entire wall and instantly start a conversation. The choice is up to you.


5. Consider Making a Pooja Room

Pooja rooms are very common in India. They are spaces dedicated to prayer, worship, and meditation. Setting aside space for hallow and sacred things is important in many cultures. Even if you are not religious, consider dedicating a corner to photos of the family or create a small space for yoga.

Decorate the area with symbols and pictures of things that are deeply important to you and cordon off the area, so guests know the space is separate and special. These areas will bring a slice of the divine and the spiritual into your home and elevate your design to new cosmic heights.


6. Feature Textiles

Textiles are very important in Indian design and feature prominently. Textiles are used to soften spaces, add color, add texture and break up rooms. Textiles include curtains, table runners, throw pillows, couch blankets, rugs, throw rugs, welcome mats, and cloth dividers.

Many designs will incorporate multiple textiles or even all of them. Pick textiles with complementary colors and patterns to flow into the layering aspect as well. It is not uncommon to see a space where every surface is covered or complemented by a functional textile or textile accent.


7. Use Nature and Mythology As Inspiration

Nature, religion, and mythology all blend in India to create a potent culture that has been around for thousands of years. You can add elements of that cultural heritage to your design by focusing on natural pieces and mythological inspiration.

Add religious or historical artwork to a space for some extra character. Include areas for incense, choose exotic statues or figurines to adorn a corner, and display symbols from your personal religion. All of these things can be hand-picked, tied together, and displayed in a way that creates a perfect fusion of the material and the divine.


8. Simple and Functional Flow

Make your spaces as simple as possible. Everything should flow in a way that makes sense. Each space should interact with the adjoining one in a straightforward way. There are no complicated annexes or formal entryways, or unused dining spaces. Everything is simple, functional, and flows together.

There are no rooms in a house that are rarely or never used. If you find that that is the case, the function is not optimized, and the room is disconnected from the general flow of the house. These spaces are like leaves that have gotten stuck on a river bank, out of the main current, and forgotten about. Eliminate these spaces and optimize the space you have.


9. Don’t Be Afraid Of Knick Knacks

Some designers don’t like knickknacks, and some Americans have been trained to purge their knick knacks from public areas. Indians embrace knick knacks. Knickknacks are cool, they are personal, they are unique, and they can be used in a variety of different ways. They also tie into other key design elements such as layering, colors, exotic accents, and more.

Knickknacks can be used on an entry table or take up an entire curio case in the living room. They can adorn windowsills, bedrooms, offices, libraries, and more. Choose your knick knacks with care, display things you enjoy, and buy things that speak to you. The result can be stunning.


10. Add Popular and Sacred Flora

Plants are extremely popular right now, and you should consider adding as many plants as you can to your design. Don’t overload the space and make sure you can take care of all of them but add a noticeable number of plants. The greenery and the natural shapes can really transform a room. Hanging plants are an especially good choice.

Also, consider adding special, lucky, or sacred plants to a space to give it an extra boost of spiritual energy. Plants can be used around windows, as centerpieces, as anchoring accents, and more. Mix and match species, shapes, sizes, and pots for a truly unique look.


11. Make Spaces More Informal

Indian-inspired spaces should rarely feel formal. Many spaces in India are designed for gathering and are kept low key and functional. Seating is plentiful, hanging benches are common, and nothing feels pretentious or out of bounds.

If you have formal spaces in your home, consider softening them and retooling them to be a focal point for casual gatherings rather than formal engagements. Add lots of seats, cushions, and tables that invite people to take a load off and sip a cool beverage.

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Conclusion

India is an excellent source of inspiration for many things, including interior design. These elements can help turn a plain space into an area full of life, culture, and character. Whether you are looking for some simple design tips to flesh out a room or want to redesign your entire living space, there are ideas here that are sure to inspire great change. It only takes one idea or a flash of brilliance to come up with a plan that is sure to wow.


Featured Image Credit: karolina-grabowska, Pexels

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