Indian furniture design is a unique blend of tradition, craftsmanship, and artistic expression. It goes beyond mere functionality, weaving a narrative that connects the past with the present. What makes Indian furniture design distinctive is its ability to seamlessly merge cultural richness with modern sensibilities. From Charpais to the Bajots, each piece reflects the beauty of Indian furniture design. Let’s take a closer look at these pieces that make our homes comfortable, welcoming, and filled with a touch of tradition.
The “divan” is a quintessential piece of furniture in Indian homes, known for its versatility and cultural significance. It is a large, low seating platform, often extending along the walls of a room, with a standard size of 77 x 39 inches in length and breadth, respectively. Traditionally crafted from wood and adorned with intricate carvings, to contemporary sleek designs, divans showcase a rich variety of colours, ranging from deep mahogany to vibrant hues. Historically, divans were used for seating during social gatherings and as an additional sleeping space. Whereas, in modern homes, divans are commonly found in living rooms, foyers, or lounges as an accessory that speaks tradition yet serves as a comfortable seating option.
The “jhula” holds a special place in North Indian homes, embodying a sense of leisure. It is a suspended seat or swing, crafted from wood and often carved beautifully. These jhulas come in various designs and sizes, depending on space and function. Historically, jhulas were a common feature in courtyards or verandas, providing a cool retreat during hot weather and serving as a spot for relaxation or intimate conversations. In modern homes, they are a unique indoor furniture piece, acting as a focal point and adding a touch of old-world charm. Whether adorned with vibrant fabrics or kept in a more rustic style, the jhula remains an iconic symbol of comfort and nostalgia in an Indian home.
The “charpai” is a traditional Indian bed that has transcended time and retained its significance. The standard size of the charpai is 6 x 3 feet. This is a bed with a simple yet sturdy design, consisting of a frame made of wood or bamboo with a woven net or fabric forming the sleeping surface. Historically, charpai was a regular in rural areas, offering a portable bedding solution. Today, the charpoy has found its way into fashionable interiors, celebrated for its rustic charm and connection to heritage. It’s also very popular in eclectic or bohemian-themed spaces. This piece of furniture serves as a unique blend of functionality, cultural identity, and aesthetic appeal in Indian homes.
The “chowki” is a traditional piece of Indian furniture that is also known as a low stool or a table. It typically features a compact wooden frame, often polished or painted on the surface. The standard size is 15 inches x 15inch, it serves various purposes, like additional seating during gatherings or acting as a small table. In earlier times, it was part of religious ceremonies or festivals, providing a raised platform for rituals. In modern homes, chowkis find its place in living rooms or as part of the decor, offering a touch of old-fashioned allure.
“Almirah” is a traditional term used in India for a wardrobe or cupboard. They come in various sizes, designs, and materials, catering to different tastes and needs. The term is derived from the Arabic word “al-mariya,” which means a place for clothes. Almirahs are typically made from wood, with sheesham wood being the most popular in India. From ancient to modern times, the usage of almirah as a furniture piece has been constant, but the style, materials, and outlook have completely evolved. Majorly found in bedrooms or dressing rooms, almirahs remain an essential piece of furniture in an Indian house.
6. Sankheda Bed
The Sankheda bed holds a distinctive place as an essential furniture piece in Gujarati homes. With its characteristic craftsmanship, the Sankheda bed typically comes in varying sizes, providing options for both spacious and compact interiors. Crafted from durable teak wood, this bed boasts a colourful lacquer finish, with hues such as red, green, yellow, and blue adorning its decorative carvings. In ancient times, Sankheda beds were an important part of ceremonial and festive occasions, particularly weddings and other auspicious events. Traversing to modern homes, these beds now cherish as both functional and decorative pieces.
The “mudha” stands as a vital furniture piece in Indian homes. Typically low in height, the mudha provides a comfortable and informal seating option. Crafted from a variety of materials, such as wood, bamboo, or cane, mudhas are known for their adaptability and portability. Traditionally used in community gatherings and informal settings, mudhas have now found a place in modern homes. Today, mudhas are present in living rooms, verandas, or certain nooks and corners, offering convenient and movable seating for casual interactions. The neutral tones of natural materials dominate the colour palette of mudhas, but decorative variations may feature colourful upholstery or intricate patterns.
The “patla,” or “peetam,” as a furniture piece in Indian homes, is known for its simplicity and practicality. Generally small and low in height, the size of the Patla is 35cm x 25cm x 8cm, making it convenient for various uses. Traditionally crafted from wood, patlas are commonly left unpainted, showcasing the natural colour of the wood, but variations with colourful finishes are also available. Historically, patlas found its use as low seating or a makeshift table during gatherings or ceremonies. Whereas, in modern homes, it has found its way into living rooms, serving as a low side table, an impromptu seating option in bedrooms, or even as a plant stand on balconies. The patla’s versatility and unpretentious charm make it an integral part of Indian homes, adapting seamlessly to different roles and environments.
9. Takhat Tables
“Takhat” tables are a traditional style of furniture commonly found in Indian homes. It’s thick, sturdy legs support the solid, flat top surface. Takhat tables are traditionally crafted from solid wood, with popular choices being sheesham, mango wood, or other hardwoods. The dimensions can vary, but they are often larger than standard tables. Earlier, royal families used them as dining table, but with time, they are now a central piece of furniture in a living room or an impactful dining table for cosy family dinners. They also associate with a regal or royal aesthetic, reminiscent of historical palaces and grand residences.
A “bajot” is a low table or stool used in North Indian homes, particularly during religious ceremonies, rituals, and traditional functions. They were very prominent in Indian havelis. The size may vary based on the intended use, and the shapes have also evolved from square to round and octagon. The bajots are primarily made of wood and aluminium, featuring intricate ornamentation that may have symbolic meaning. Bajots have acould either have a natural wood finish, or painted or lacquered for added visual appeal. In modern times, they can be used as small dining tables for individuals, as a platform for religious idols, or as a decorative element in homes.
11. Traditional Kursi
The term “kursi” simply translates to “chair” in English, but is known as the namesake in most parts of India. Traditional kursis often exhibit characteristics such as solid wood construction, complicate carvings, and designs inspired by regional cultural influences. The basic dimension of a kursi is 18 x 20 inches, with the overall height being 40 inches. A kursi can either be a standalone piece of furniture or in a group as a dining chair or a seat in baithak. They serve not only as functional seating but also as pieces of art that contribute to the overall aesthetics of traditional Indian homes.
12. Jaali Partition
Jaalis refer to intricately perforated screens or partitions that are a prominent feature in traditional Indian architecture. They are also known for their elaborate geometric or floral patterns, and they are often crafted through carving, piercing, or latticework. The patterns not only serve aesthetic purposes but also play a functional role in providing privacy by creating semi-private spaces within homes or public areas. Apparently, jaalis used in the interiors as partitions are often made of wood. Historically, they were categorically seen in historical buildings, palaces, and temples, but in recent times, they find its place in interior spaces as screens, room dividers, or architectural elements for aesthetic appeal.
13. Pooja Mandir
A “Pooja Mandir” is a dedicated cabinet for performing prayers in Indian households. They come in various designs, ranging from cabinets and shelves to elaborately carved structures. Typically crafted from wood, some may also feature materials like marble, glass, or metal for decorative elements. The location of a Pooja mandirs are in a prominent and respectful location within the home, such as a prayer room, a living room, or a niche in a common area. The design and features of a Pooja Mandir can also vary based on personal preferences, regional influences, and cultural traditions.
“Gaddi” refers to a traditional Indian cushion or mattress, typically used as floor seating. In traditional Indian homes, Gaddis were placed directly on the floor to create comfortable seating arrangements. Now they are a conscious part of living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, or any communal space. Gaddis come in various sizes, ranging from small square cushions to larger rectangular mattresses. Gaddis came in natural materials such as cotton or other plant-based fibers. The outer covering can be made from cotton fabric, silk, or other textiles. They can have impeccable embroidery, patchwork, or hand-woven patterns, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of India. In contemporary settings, they are a part of bohemian or eclectic decor styles.
A “Damchiya” is a traditional Indian wooden chest or cupboard, often used for storage and displaying items. It is also known for its unique and ornate stepped or tiered design, making it a decorative piece of furniture. What sets Damchiyas apart is the intricate woodwork and carvings that adorn the exterior. The carvings often include geometric patterns or floral motifs and are made of wood. Originally, they were a part of dowry arrangements or used as storage in living spaces. In modern interiors, they find its purpose as consoles in living rooms or entrance foyers. Also, their ornate designs make them stand out as statement pieces in home decor.
Indian furniture design in homes is like a vibrant thread woven into the fabric of everyday living. Through the exploration of the above 15 essential pieces, we’ve glimpsed the unique blend of tradition, versatility, and craftsmanship defining Indian furniture and are still relevant in modern interior design. What essential piece of Indian furniture design holds a special place in your home, and how does it contribute to the overall ambiance?
Content Writing And Research By: Ar. Ishita Jindal
The post Indian Furniture Design: 15 Timeless Collections For Your Home appeared first on The Architects Diary.