Looking for a way to transform your home or table this festive season? We asked three design experts to tell us how to weave in some festive magic. One chose a faraway inspiration for a magical look; another went the traditional way—red, green and gold, infused with all the motifs of birds and flowers; and the third recast tradition in a home-grown mould, clearly grounding it in local arts and crafts.
Tabletop tips: (left) Silver table ornaments from Turqoise; and a dining table setting from Bungalow 8.
All is white, all is bright
With a leading trend in design being a light, white space, it is easy to do festive colours that are cool and luminous, says colour consultant Latika Khosla, who is the Asia-Pacific chair at Color Marketing Group USA, and India director for the Pan Pacific Color Conference, an annual design event. Take dramatic inspiration from the Scandinavian countries, which use a beautiful palette of blue and white to ring in Christmas, she suggests. Even though the colours are almost cold, it creates a magical wonderland that reflects the crystalline beauty of the white world outside. In tropical countries, it is unconvincing to stick a tuft of cotton for snow on a tree. However, you too can celebrate with blue cues from northern climes. Set a cool blue table with a beautiful blue-and-green mix on the white table.
Simple snowy table: The simplest white tableware is humble recognition of the true bounty of nature, says Khosla. Think classical shapes in white, with subtle silver and gold embellishments, laid out on broderie anglaise table covers. There is so much comfort in the tradition. To bring it to your own table setting, use streamlined white tableware in exaggerated classical shapes to fit urban settings. Dress it up with lace-embellished linen, laser-cut
wooden trivets and smart stainless-steel cutlery.
People, look East
The three kings would probably have felt right at home in this setting. Maithili Ahluwalia, CEO and creative director, Bungalow 8, a home accessories store in Mumbai, encourages you to use your imagination, and not your wallet. “We believe that a homogeneous interior set-up is boring, dull and unimaginative. We always mix and match styles, periods and genres,” says Ahluwalia. “We wanted to create something unusual and imaginative, where everything has a sense of history.”
Colour me traditional: Here, the traditional seasonal hues of red, gold and white come into play. A mélange of Indian elements come together in these colours to create a décor that challenges the conventional Western idea of the festival. “Use your imagination to combine and contrast various accents; it’s not all about novelty or newness, so use whatever you have at home, in a distinctive way,” says Ahluwalia. “Go beyond the expected.”
Deck the halls
Oona D’mello of lifestyle store Turqoise in Mumbai takes her seasonal décor inspiration from the Yuletide spirit: “Christmas is about life nourishing life… It’s the universe beckoning us to rejoice in our humaneness,” she says. Her décor represents all things cheerful: lights, flowers, angels, birds and trees, in a mix of traditional Christmas artefacts.
Celebrate life: D’mello’s inspiration is life and the many colours of the earth itself. Hence the wide range of textures, from the bright and translucent to a quieter sophistication. It’s a mix bordering on kitschy, with silver and gold cloth, old-fashioned lanterns and generous altar candles, paired birds and starry poinsettia in red and gold. Textures of glossy red and green velvet combine with the patina of a wooden chest and unusual, teardrop shaped cookie jars. Earthly elements combine with an inspirational choir of angels, lent to D’mello by a friend. “I hope the setting inspires you to work with your heart,” says D’mello.
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