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Surprise your guests with this understated look for Diwali that our stylist calls ‘anti' festive

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Celebrity wedding designer Devika Narain draws from her expertise in designing dream weddings to show us how to prep our homes for Diwali. In the third part of our series, using creamy white, cool blues and a plethora of greens emerging from the fragrant blooms of jasmine and tuberose she styles a Diwali look that is an antithesis of the season’s typical style

Indian occasions are a beautiful riot of colours and while there is a vibrancy to these settings, it can eventually get a bit overwhelming. “I call this my ‘anti’ look because I think after a point, especially around the festive season, one is tired of seeing the hues associated with Diwali like bright orange, yellow, bold pink and red,” she explains.

The wedding designer admits that ever since she moved to Mumbai, she has been mesmerised by the sea. This is where she drew inspiration for the colour palette of this look. “I’ve brought in calming shades of aqua and powder blue and paired them with creamy white, silver and an abundance of greens; the perfect setting for a sundowner gathering lit up with candles. It’s magical, sedate and pristine; almost like a Sufi rendition of Diwali.”

Here are her guidelines to recreating this look at home:

Use what you have
When I style my table, I look for things which are constants such as my crockery and serveware.  I then plot out what colours match these items.  Another element you can use is an Indian thali as a charger plate. These are usually 12-inches in diameter and are the perfect size to place under the dinner plate. Diwali is also the perfect time to use all those silver gifts we accumulate over the years. It’s also very important to have a staple set of crisp white table linen which you can then use with tuberose, jasmine and silverware like I have done here. These pieces become your canvas and everything you add pops.

Devika Narain brought in calming shades of aqua and powder blue and paired them with creamy white, silver and an abundance of greens; the perfect setting for a sundowner gathering lit up with candles.

Have one focal piece
I like the table to have one focal element. In the centre is a beautiful silver bowl filled with floating jasmine and this is the one statement piece I have used. It is super simple and elegant. Even when serving food, I would rather move other decorative items away to make place for the dishes and keep the centrepiece.

When you style a table in a certain colour palette, you can also match the dishes on your menu to the colours.

Play with materials
A mix of materials brings so much texture, context and depth to a space. I love the coolness of the concrete pendant lamp, especially the contrast of the gritty texture with the shiny silver; it lends a ‘luxe industrial’ vibe to the look.

Flowers and candles are a match made in heaven
No matter what the occasion is, I love going to the mandi, getting an entire bucket filled with tuberoses and arranging them around my home. Place clusters of candles around and that alone will be a winning setting. Here I have used lassi glasses on the table with a big vase on the console. I have also placed potted bougainvillea with white flowers on the floor and filled the table with jasmine. The heavenly fragrance wafting through the air elevates the décor by connecting another sensory layer. A tip I use while styling weddings is to light up areas where the eye travels to. The wooden candle stands on the console serve that purpose.

Cut the clutter
Traditionally, every place setting has three glasses for red wine, white wine or champagne and water. However, only place those you are actually going to use. Glassware and cutlery have to be relevant to what you are serving.

Little details make all the difference
Normally when I style a table in a certain colour palette, I try and see if I can match my menu to it or if the menu is important, then the other way around. For example my Indian dishes have coriander garnishes to complement the greens on the table. Or like in this case I have worked in details like the blue macaroons and kaju katli. I love it when people sit down at a table and find things that they didn’t notice at first, like when your guest unfolds the napkin and there is a little gajra or personal note inside. It is, after all, these precious memories that family celebrations are made of.

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