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Celebrity wedding designer Devika Narain styles a fabulous Diwali living room setting

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Devika Narain draws from her expertise in designing stunning wedding décor to show us how to prep our homes for the festive season. In the first of our five-part series on Diwali décor ideas she shares themes and tips on styling your living room for a fun Diwali card party

We all got just a glimpse of Virat and Anushka’s exquisite Italian wedding, but those images went right to the top of dream weddings lists of many. The sculptor of that stunning setting, Devika Narain, has been making wedding fantasies come true for many couples over the past eight years. Just take a look at her Instagram page as proof.

Her extensive background in wedding design translates perfectly to how she styles her home. “What is most important to me is how Indians put a lot of thought into planning our celebrations, whether it’s a wedding or a house party,” she says. “Urban India is very house proud; we like to do up our homes and entertain so we are spending effort to make our everyday beautiful.”

Devika Narain has been making wedding fantasies come true for many couples over the past eight years including Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli’s secret wedding in Italy.

The founder of DEVIKA NARAIN AND COMPANY is a big fan of the maximal look. “I love deeper colours and prints and I have brought a lot of it into this look,” she explains. “I added numerous eclectic elements to create a lounge setting. I love going to antique and vintage markets and finding little treasures that need not necessarily match each other.” 

Here are all her tips and ideas on styling the most festive looking room for Diwali season:

Diwali celebration in a small home - add drama, layer elements and infuse intimacy
One of the biggest misconceptions people have, especially in small apartments, is dark colours make the room look smaller. Go in for those deeper, moody shades for a little drama. Secondly, I don’t believe that a room needs to have just one statement piece. Layer multiple focal points as long as you love everything in your home. Finally, I think it is very important to create a feeling of intimacy and warmth that guests can sense as soon as they walk. When you make the setting look attractive and ‘lived-in’, you evoke that sentiment in your guests; comfort is key when entertaining.

“To me, the wooden monkey represents both ‘Frida Kahlo’ and Indian culture. Next to it is a lassi glass filled with gota flowers which I stuck together on sticks to make this interesting arrangement,” says Devika.

Fill your surfaces with different heights and shapes
I think it is very important to create different levels to look at in a space. I often find that homes are very flat and there isn’t enough play with all the surfaces. In this setting, there is a beautiful rug topped by a table of treasures. The sofa with a throw and cushions is layered with the paintings in the background. The seating area is flanked by a bookshelf and a cluster of side tables illuminated by a group of pendant lights. 

To make a Diwali celebration at home more fun, don’t be afraid to blend themes
I call this look ‘Frida’s Diwali’, inspired by Frida Kahlo and Indian culture. There are a lot of elements to this setting but essentially, they all have a strong Indian aesthetic like the Indigo wall, the printed upholstery, rugs and a plethora of brass accents, a large pickle jar, lotus hanging lamps and dark wood centre table.

Transform your seating with fabrics
I love these cushions which are adaptations of kilims but Kutch or Ikat cushions would also work. I like to layer different prints and fabrics to bring in visual interest. Whenever you can, pick up interesting fabrics and get them stitched to standard cushion cover sizes.

Your tables should be brimming with conversation starters
Your centre table should be a rotating showcase of the fun things in your home. I like to use the largest one that would work in a space. I think there should always be flowers, vertical elements complemented by a horizontal ones, books and candles.

I am a big collector of coffee table books; pick up a few on topics you find interesting and add them to the setting. On the books I placed a brass paan-daan. I’m from Lucknow and I love collecting these pieces; they become interesting curio boxes. For Diwali, I like filling them with mithai or dry fruits and nuts.

To me, the wooden monkey represents both ‘Frida’ and Indian culture. Next to it is a lassi glass filled with gota flowers which I stuck together on sticks to make this interesting arrangement. I’ve also used a cluster of side tables for different heights in the corner and packed them with fun items like a vintage phone, a tall pickle jar, clay kulhars and a diya stand from Varnam.

For the perfect Diwali celebration at home: the more lights, the merrier
Diwali is all about playing with light and warmth. I have used scotch glasses all over the place and filled them with candles. I have also placed battery fairy lights in glass vases of different heights to infuse the space with warmth. In the corner, I dangled a set of fairy lights from the bookshelf just to make the space feel more fun.

Devika has placed battery fairy lights in glass vases of different heights to infuse the space with warmth.

Art, sets your look apart
Add another visual layer with artwork that speaks to you. These paintings from BARO are fun interpretations of old calendar art; there is a heart in one, while another has sequins. It is a play on Raja Ravi Verma’s work that I find very quirky and festive.

Scroll down to buy the products that Devika has used to style this room:

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