Work carved woods, patterned textiles or hints of mystery into your modern space for an ethnic-inspired visual tapestry
I’ve always been attracted to Indian design. I love the textiles — everything from brilliant saris to muted block prints — and the colors. I love the classical architecture, the garish billboards, the woodwork and the religious iconography.
Because India was crisscrossed by so many people over the centuries, Indian design has elements from the Middle East, China and Europe. It is a rich tapestry that has taken thousands of years to develop.
But as with any contemporary design based on a place or a culture, you should proceed with caution, using the elements of Indian design as inspiration or as a launching pad. To get an Indian look that is not too “Disney India,” go less literal, more suggestive. Kind of like flirting.
These rooms are very different from one another, but they all use India as their starting point. Some are eclectic modern, while others are more overtly ethnic inspired. All of them are beautiful.

Ornate Carvings
The ornately carved antique doors add depth and a little grandeur to this otherwise plain space.

The carved doors leading to this breezeway are in rich contrast with the modern building. To me they feel like a seductive invitation to enter.

Indian Antique Damachiya
If you can’t swing a large, antique architectural element, furniture can add the same richness and texture. A piece like this could easily be the inspiration for an entire room.

Decorative Furniture
This amazing inlaid dresser is at home in this modern eclectic room. The room is not obviously Indian, but this piece adds a little hint of spice.

Bone Inlay Chest
An ornate piece like this could live comfortably in a white, modern room as well as in a richly coloured, layered room full of texture.

Chakki Dark Walnut  
This ottoman is a beautiful mix of subtle, modern fabric and traditional Indian design. It could work almost anywhere.

Arches and Architecture
The corbel arch is one of the most tell-tale Indian architectural elements. This room uses that shape, as well as screened panels, ornate textiles and traditional furnishings to bring India to mind in a modern, Western room.

White corbel arches and filigreed panels. It’s almost like the Taj Majal.