12 Spaces Inspired by Historical India

Deeply rooted in the country's culture and history, Indian interior design features rich textiles and furniture, often handmade using traditional methods. Transport yourself to this exotic country and get Indian design ideas for your home.

Exotic Elegance
Rich colour and texture — both key elements of Indian design — give this living room by HGTV fan wallscouture a palatial feel. Coated with various shades of red Venetian plaster, the dramatic arch becomes the perfect backdrop for a framed Indian textile. The columns are drizzled with copper paints and adorned with a subtle Moorish stencil design, while the remaining walls have a soft gold faux finish. Embroidered throw pillows and a leather ottoman complement the lavish surroundings.

Handcrafted Furniture
Often intricately carved and made from exotic woods like teak, ebony and rosewood, authentic Indian furniture is rustic in appearance and solid in quality. When selecting furniture, designer Miv Watts prefers to work directly with Indian craftsmen because they embrace the natural imperfections in the wood and other materials used. Here, the designer balanced a heavy, wooden table with a more delicate bench-style sofa. Additional low seating and colourful accent pillows create an inviting space to gather with family.

Sumptuous Layers
India is known for its fine silks and other textiles, which are incorporated everywhere from window treatments to throw pillows to wall hangings in Indian homes. Designer Miv Watts injected plenty of colour and texture into this living room with a knotted rug, an upholstered sofa and throw pillows in assorted patterns.

Antique Accents
Since Indian decor is often rich in colour, pattern and texture, just a few strategically placed pieces can fill a room with exotic flair. An antique Indian bedspread, hand-stitched with beading and gold thread, completely transforms this urban loft bedroom into a vibrant, energetic space. Patchwork pillows handmade from old textiles and the pink beaded sari underneath the ottoman, another vintage item from India, add another burst of colour. Design by Shelly Riehl David

A Textile Tradition
In addition to luxurious silks, printed cottons are a staple of Indian decor. Block printing, in which intricately carved wooden blocks are used to print patterns on fabrics, is one of India's oldest textile arts, as is tie-dye. This mango-hued tablecloth with a petite paisley pattern is block printed by hand, so each one has its own unique character. Tablecloth by Saffron Marigold

A Fanciful Touch
Step inside a traditional South Indian home and you may find a jhoola, or swing. Typically placed in the living room, indoor swings can be wood or metal, simple or ornate, and hung from the ceiling or from a frame. In this living space by HGTV fan aumarchitects, a jhoola in a bold floral fabric is suspended from the ceiling by simple chains, matching the room's contemporary design.

Simple and Functional
Indian design often calls to mind opulent rooms draped in colourful silks, but some Indian interiors are quite simple and utilitarian. A charpoy, or a simple cot consisting of a frame strung tightly with rope, is a traditional piece of furniture popular in rural parts of the country. Here, a charpoy is dressed up with pillows made from recycled cotton saris. Photo by Chai Studio

Contemporary Twist
Hits of colour and pattern liven up the clean lines of this contemporary Indian living space. Exotic artwork and a patterned window shade spice up the dining area, while a teal throw pillow with touches of pink and gold makes the seating area pop. Design by HGTV fan aumarchitects

Mehndi-Inspired Mural
HGTV fan koolbeans drew from the ancient Indian art of mendhi, or the decoration of the skin with henna, when designing this bedroom. After using chalk to outline an elaborate design of hearts, flowers and flourishes on her walls, she painted it by hand throughout the room. Bedding in vivid colours and bold patterns completes the India-inspired look.

Wild Design
Animal motifs are prevalent in Indian home decor, as animals play an important role in the Hindu religion. Block printed by hand in rich hues like burnt orange, ivory and green, this cushion slipcover from Saffron Marigold depicts a king riding atop a richly caparisoned elephant.

Hand-Carved Headboard
A common feature in Indian homes, carved wooden screens provide privacy while allowing the breeze to flow through the rooms. In this bedroom, designer Claudia Juestel found a creative use for an Indian rosewood screen purchased at a flea market, fastening it to the wall as a headboard. Photo courtesy of Adeeni Design Group

Spiritual Elements
Indian interior design isn't just about aesthetics; it's also about creating a place that promotes health and wellbeing. Designer Marie Burgos arranged this foyer to bring happiness, prosperity and abundance to the homeowners. Upon entering the home, the family is greeted with a carved statue of Vishnu, the Hindu god who preserves the world with beauty, order and peace. Behind the statue stands a set of antique doors imported from India, intricately carved and embellished with an Om, a sacred symbol in Indian religions.

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