Better Together

Brass beauties, shimmering tealights, sweet smelling flowers, rugged earthenware… Interior designer Rajee Sood mixes tradition with contemporary styling in this festive living room setting.

Contrasts make or mar a look. While the gleam of gold and the rugged appeal of an earthy tone gel well, the brightness of a sequinned turquoise cushion would look almost vulgar when paired with a Swarovski-studded furniture piece. In fact, this is the dilemma that most of us face while planning our Diwali settings. Then there’s the age-old war between the contemporary aesthetics and classical elements. But when we asked interior designer Rajee Sood for a festive makeover for our DIY pages, she not only readily agreed, but was also quick to come up with some stunning ideas. Rajee decided to create her vision of Diwali decor in her living room, where she entertains her family and friends. Her concept was simple — to ensure that the space looked contemporary and chic, and yet, is infused with traditional elements.

The story unfolds the minute you walk into the inviting living room. The first thing that catches your eye is the black wall, which forms a majestic backdrop for the setting. Since the colour can be overpowering, Rajee has limited its use to only one wall, the rest are brownish-beige. This atypical background (one hardly associates black with celebrations), is just one of the many ways she breaks the mould and tries something new. It highlights varying shades of cream and beige through art: a mix of her own artwork, her daughter’s paintings, a lithograph by Dithi Mukherjee and a piece by Sheila Makhijani.

If the wall is contemporary, the brass items spread over her coffee table and console have a traditional vibe. It has been carefully culled out from her personal collection — the teapot with a lotus motif and a mouse for a spout was purchased at an auction, the large box with camels was bought in Navi Mumbai and the circular ghee container once belonged to the royal palace of Baroda.The traditional stroke continues with earthen kullarhs (displayed on the coffee table), which contrast well with the gleaming brass. This is juxtaposed with several jasmine-scented pillar candles placed in neat rows. While she has selected cream candles, one can also go for red, pink or beige; remember to pick one colour and stick with it.

Paired with the pillar candles are morpankhi leaves placed on a metal tray. These leaves are not the only natural element in the set-up; she has filled the room with several floral arrangements, a mix of white orchids, roses, daises and lilies. Rajee placed a jute runner on the coffee table and the console instead of brocades, velvets or other rich fabrics. It is eco-friendly, inexpensive and also an ingenious way to highlight the key ingredients in the setting — brass, earthenware, candles and floral arrangements. The tea-lights on the console make the space look ready for Diwali.

The beauty of the setting is that all elements are antitheses of one another, yet they’re magically tied together. But what truly sets it apart is the affordability of this makeover. Take a tip or two from Rajee and use clever design tricks to tell your own story.

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