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How to decorate your house in traditional south Indian style

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South Indian homes are so unique; the architecture is immediately recognizable and incredibly beautiful. We cannot do justice to South Indian culture and design in one article because each region has its own exceptional features. However, what we have tried to do is list out some of the most popular architectural features and South Indian house designs that are common to most. These beautiful elements can be reimagined and replicated in your own homes, whether it’s a sprawling bungalow to a cosy apartment, to add layers of South Indian style to your dwellings.


Read on for popular décor and architectural elements from traditional South Indian houses to replicate in your homes.

1. Verandah design for South Indian homes

South Indian home designs vary from region to region, however, an airy verandah with a sloping, tiled roof and columns is a fairly common architectural feature across the board. Known as a thinnai, this is a shaded verandah or sit-out with built-in seating at the entrance to the home.  Sometimes this verandah would wrap the entire exterior façade of the home. In certain cases a covered walkway leads up to the main entrance of the house; this walkway has a tiled, sloping roof with pillars for support.

2. Red Oxide floors for South Indian home design

Red Oxide flooring is actually seeing a resurgence in popularity today. It used to be a very popular choice of interior decorators in 

Verandah design ideas that makes your south indian home stylish - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Asian Paints

Bangalore for hundreds of years in many parts of Kerala, Chettinad, coastal Karnataka and Goa. An eco-friendly option, red oxide flooring is made from a non-toxic oxide of iron mixed with cement, giving it a distinctive red hue. Different shades can be achieved with different ratios of red oxide in the cement.

Craved wooden door design ideas for every south indian home - Beautiful Homes

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3. Carved wooden doors from South Indian homes

Now considered antiques, a typical main door for South Indian homes is made from wood with intricated carvings and metal detailing. Burma teak was usually used by interior decorators in Bangalore to make these opulent and striking pieces usually embellished with historic images, mythical scenes or images of deities. You can replicate the ornamental door or even restore one for your own home. Another feature common to South Indian interior design for home is metal idols placed at the front entrance.

4. Pitched roof with clay roof tiles for South Indian house design

One of the most recognisable architectural elements of South Indian style house design, especially Kerala homes, are the pitched or sloping roofs covered in clay roofing tiles. These terracotta-hued roofing tiles, like the Mangalore roof tiles, are hardy and durable.

Roof design ideas for south indian style house design - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, DJ Stock/ shutterstock

Wooden furniture to enhance every south indian home design - Beautiful Homes

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5. Carved, wood furniture for South Indian home design

Just like the entrance door and pillars, furniture in traditional South Indian homes was usually heavy pieces in wood featuring intricate details and carvings. Rosewood, teak wood and jackfruit tree wood are the most popular ones used by interior decorators in Chennai for South Indian style furniture. Rather than upholstered seating, traditional South Indian home décor items included seating made from wood with rattan, cane or jute detailing.

6. Traditional patterned flooring for South Indian house design

Richly patterned and hued Athangudi tiles are a flooring staple in South Indian home design. These stunning masterpieces can be used as a periphery border to neutral or solid floor tiles or even across the entire expanse of the room. These handmade tiles come from the Athangudi village in the Chettinad region but you can also replicate the look with cement tiles.

Traditional patterned flooring for south indian house design - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Stratosphere Studio, Photography by ARKA

Traditional fabric designs for sofa for your south indian style house design - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Asian Paints

7. Traditional fabrics for South Indian home décor

South Indian fabrics, especially silks and fine muslin, are extremely sought after. Add a touch of traditional style to your home with these exquisitely woven fabrics reimagined as drapes, throws, cushion covers or even wall art. 

8. Earthy colour palette for South Indian home design

Typically, the colour palette in South Indian style homes featured earthy, almost rustic shades. Rather than splashes of bright colours, shades of terracotta, brown, tan, beige, creams and yellows were chosen by interior designers in Chennai. Drawn from their natural surroundings, these colours work very well with natural elements, ethnic fabrics and wood details.

9. Carved columns and central courtyard for South Indian style home

Another architectural feature typical to South Indian house interior design used by interior decorators in Bangalore are intricately carved pillars, usually of wood, stone, cement or granite. A modern version sees metal being used in a similar fashion. These carved pillars lined the entrance walkway, verandahs and central courtyards but one can also use these in modern homes for terraces, balconies or even in apartments as a visual room separator. Most traditional South Indian homes also feature a central courtyard, usually open to the sky. Sitting exactly in the centre, this courtyard divides the house into four sides. Modern versions include a small internal courtyard filled with greener, 

Column & Courtyard design to enhance your south indian house design - Beautiful Homes

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usually next to the staircase, with natural light flooding in through a skylight.

Traditional table sitting for south indian home décor - Beautiful Homes

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10. Traditional festive table setting for South Indian home décor

A great way to add traditional South Indian flavour into your home décor item is a table setting. Whether it’s a festive family gathering or an evening of entertaining, a well-designed tablescape can be quite the centrepiece. Take inspiration from this elegant table setting and add elements like ethnic fabrics used for table runners and mats, stoneware serving bowls with brass details and, of course, a lot of banana leaves.

11. Traditional motifs for South Indian home design

During festivities, homes across South India are adorned with traditional rangolis in Kolam patterns. A Kolam or Muggu is a symmetrical, geometric line drawing composed of straight lines, curves and/or loops which drawn around a grid pattern of dots. As seen in the image, this Kolam pattern has been used by interior decorators in Chennai on the wall to bring in a touch of traditional South Indian interior design.

12. Wood and brass swing for South Indian home décor

Another key element in South Indian traditional house design is the Attukattil jhula or swing. Interior decorators in Chennai used these traditional swings that are made from wood with intricate 

Wood & brass swing design for south indian house design - Beautiful Homes

Image courtesy, Envisage

brass supports. In this living room, it has been used as not only to increase seating but as a visually unobtrusive room divider.


Cushion design ideas south indian style house design - Beautiful Homes

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If you are inspired by South Indian home décor ideas and looking to add these traditional touches to your own homes, it is always a good idea to consult design experts. From eco-friendly materials to architectural features, these experts will be able to reimagine the traditional elements in your modern homes. These basic tips will help you choose the right architect or interior designer in Bangalore and interior designers in Chennai for your home.

·    From search engines and social media platforms to books and publications, there is a lot of information available on different South Indian
     style home décor ideas. Understanding what you like is a good first step in communicating what you want to the experts.

·    When looking at design experts, it’s always most convenient to choose something local or based in your city.

·    Go through websites and social media platforms of the design experts you have shortlisted. Understand their experience, expertise and style
      through their body of work.

·    Ask for referrals and recommendations from friends and family. Search for reviews and personal experiences to gain a better idea.

·    In your initial correspondence, go prepared with as many questions as possible. Ask and discuss as much as possible. There will always be
     differences in design opinions so look out for someone who is open to your idea but remember, you are going to them for their expertise.

·    Always have your entire plan in place before starting the project. Yes, there will be a few changes and delays but starting with a concrete
     design plan is very important.

It is important to choose someone who will give the proper time and effort to your home like the Beautiful Homes Service by Asian Paints. You will get the benefit of a panel of expert designers along with a dedicated project manager to work out each step of the way for a fuss-free solution. You can also peruse the Beautiful Homes online shop or retails stores in various cities for furniture, lighting and décor.

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