Decoding Indian modernist interior design

Interior design, or even architecture are fields that are global yet very rooted in their ways. Each country, each region, has a certain style and approach that's unique, inspired and best suited for the place. 

The field of design overall is ever evolving, and constantly being influenced from a hundred different things around us. Amidst overwhelming inspiration and influential factors, staying true to your roots can sometimes prove to be difficult. 

In the world that is developing and changing every second, consumers and designers alike understand the need for a modern and futuristic outlook to designs. Despite the need for a modern outlook, at the core is the lingering sentiment attached to traditionalism. 

Blending the two together, is what Indian modernist interior design is all about. Here is all you need to know about it and how to achieve the look. 


Indian modernism is essentially a style of interior design. The idea behind this style is to look at the principles of modern interior design through the Indian lens. In a world where a plethora of different designs and styles exist, the traditional and cultural edge of Indian interior design can seem to be a little foggy. 



Indian modernism is thus a solution to the dilemma of traditional and modern. The idea is to not commit to an extreme approach, rather combine the two concepts to achieve a balanced and harmonious design. This would mean everything from patterns, to materials, to layout being planned in a systematic way to be compatible with the lifestyle of today’s consumer yet keep alive the lively Indian spirit. 





The principle of less is more is characteristic to the Indian modernist style. Minimalism is considered an essential element to striking a balance in the overall design. Since this style utilizes a lot of different designs and hues, the minimalism is looked at as a way to keep it clean amongst the number of visual elements. 

Minimalist design is equally an important element in modern interior design. The aim should be to create the maximum effect with the right design choices and the right amount of elements. 

Here you could keep the traditionalism of the design through the elements and furnishings you pick, but abide by the features of modern minimalism to give it the contemporary finish. Such minimalism can help you create a neat and gorgeous design that is equally sustainable using just what it needs, nothing more. 



Colors are a huge part of the Indian element. The nation as is, stands amongst a riot of colors and hues in a multicultural setting. Traditionally too color has always been a huge part of Indian interior design, especially in the homes. Adding a pop of color and brightness is definitely a great pick to cut through the simple and plain minimalism and give a peppy twist to a space. 

However, Indian modernist design looks at the color approach in a different way. The idea is not to shy away from colors at all, yet not opt for a maximalist approach. This essentially means that there must be first a limited number of colors used within a space to avoid any clashes or a chaotic view. Second comes the importance of picking the right colors or the right pairings. 

Coupling bright colors characteristic to the Indian factor can be a bit tricky, it is thus suggested to pair bright colors with softer hues for an overall peaceful and aesthetic design. Be it a bright green with a muted cream shade, or a peppy purple with a soft pink, there's a lot of different ideas to try. 



Art and fine design is a very important part of Indian culture. The art too, is of a multitude of kinds. Different states have different styles, themes, strokes and colors that categorize their art. Indian art forms have cultivated a reputation not just in the nation, but globally as well for it’s beauty. 

Incorporating Indian art forms into the design of your space can thus help amp up the traditional factor of it and truly transform it into a scenic space. Since there is a huge variety of styles, you could have your pick on what suits your space best. Further, incorporating art into a space can be done a bunch of different ways. 

To keep it simple, you could include folk art paintings or even have pieces commissioned to your liking that reflect the theme. Alternatively, you could go all out with a hand painted wall mural that showcases Indian art in an upfront way. 

For more subtle ways, you could also incorporate the folk art designs and patterns into the crown/base molding, around window sills or even the ceiling for a unique look. 



While approaching the modern, certain layout elements from the traditional style could be retained to preserve the spirit while developing a beautiful space. To begin with, the floor plan could be looked at from a traditional perspective through having a more open approach. 

Be it a spacious living area that seamlessly blends into the home or an open kitchen, such features gel well with both the approaches. You could also include design elements like double height ceilings, widow like doors, and well developed outdoor spaces attached to the house. 

These simple things can help you evoke the Indian nostalgia without having to change too much in the house. You could also reimagine the simplest parts such as staircases or partitions in a way that utilizes the traditional approach of design yet improves upon it to keep up with the needs of today. 



Textiles and handlooms are yet another beautiful feature of India’s cultural industry. Weaving and handlooms of India are rather versatile. Different states have different sorts of prints, techniques, materials and textures that make them exceptional. 

You can find textiles in the simplest to the brightest of hues making it easy to have your pick. Whether you wish to keep it simple with solid colors or add a pattern every now and then, Indian textiles and handlooms can fit in anywhere.  Apart from the design, the textural element that comes from the material too can help add definition and amp up the design of the space. 

Indian handlooms use some of the most unique and sustainable materials such as jackfruit, jute, bamboo etc woven into fabrics and textile pieces which would sit rather well in your home. Using a rougher texture where you wish to have a rustic vibe, or a lighter aries textile for a more laid back theme, switching between materials can prove very fruitful.

Apart from rugs and runners, the textiles can be used as beddings, curtains, sofa fabrics, decor, or even gorgeous coasters. 



To evoke the Indian spirit in a modern way, the simplest of all tweaks is to swap out materials for more indegenous choices. Even if your designs are completely modern the material you use has a textural finish that can add the Indian-ness to your space. 

There are a lot of different indegenou materials to pick from. For instance, if opting for wooden furniture or even facades, utilizing traditional Indian timber such as sheesham, sal or mahogany can help retain the classic essence. 

You could also utilize metals such as brass, copper or steel around your furnishing and designs as these metals have been a part of Indian homes since ancient times. Even the simplest of things such as a flooring can be switched up to an authentic alternative by utilizing materials such as terrazzo or traditional terracotta tile amongst a multitude of options. 

For anyone who has modern on their mind, yet are rooted in their hearts, Indian modernist interior design offers the perfect solution. Drawing from principles of both the styles of design, keeping it simple, yet evoking the Indian sentiment can be done with the simplest little tweaks to your choices and designs. Ace the look with the above ideas and give your home a gorgeous makeover.


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