An authentic Indian restaurant should exude the exotic opulence found in Indian inspired interiors. Warm, vibrant colors and layers of texture provide an alluring atmosphere that beckons visitors to come in and get comfortable.
Set the Mood With Color
One of the most significant elements of Indian design is color. Bright jewel tones mixed with fiery earth tones create unforgettably rich palettes. Cover walls in crimson or burnt orange. Red stimulates the appetite while orange stimulates conversation.
Color Wash Walls
If you can't decide between the two, use them both. Start by painting the wall orange. Then mix the darker red color with a glaze and color wash the wall, using a cloth, paintbrush, or natural sea sponge. Each method produces a slightly different effect of faux texture, creating depth and interest to the finish.
Jewel and Metallic Tones
Incorporate jewel toned hues of blue, green, and violet in fabric or glass accents. Use metallic hues of gold or copper on painted architectural details to invoke a feeling of splendor. HGTV's copper painted pillars and textured red accent wall would work well in a restaurant setting.
Texturize With Textiles
Textured walls are just the beginning of a design style that embraces tactile elements. India is well-known for being one of the largest producers of textiles in the world. Primarily woven from cotton or silk, Indian fabric is commonly embellished with embroidery, gold or silver metal thread work, beads, jewels or tiny mirrors.
Indian craftsmen mastered the technique of treating fabric to accept and bond with dyes for resilient lasting color. They also use various complex techniques to create tie-dyed patterns and block prints made by hand stamping fabric with intricately carved blocks of wood.
Saris and Linens
Colorful Indian saris, when not worn as an accessory, are often made into beautiful décor items. Hire a seamstress to make saris into curtains, tablecloths or table runners. Use vintage saris for unique upholstery on chairs or benches. Alternatively, brighten tables and windows with block print linens.
Rugs, Tapestries, and Pillows
Cover the floor with hand-knotted Indian rugs, which stand up well to high traffic. If possible, incorporate bench style seating in booths or in large corner tables, embellished with embroidered accent pillows. Frame Indian fabric as wall art or hang colorful Indian tapestries on walls.
Hand Carved Furniture Details
Filling a restaurant with intricately carved Indian tables and chairs would be cost prohibitive for many but adding a few hand-carved accent pieces can add just the right touch of cultural flair.
For example, separate the foyer waiting area from the dining area with a hand carved rosewood screen or position one to hide unsightly views of the kitchen. Patrons might not mind waiting as much for a table when seated on a hand carved teak or rosewood sofa, loveseat, daybed, or elegant armchair.
Present an impressive entry with hand carved wooden panels on the door leading in to your Indian restaurant.
Intimate lighting in a restaurant creates an atmosphere of romance and relaxation. It's important that lighting is flattering to both people and food, so patrons feel comfortable when dining.
Moroccan Pendants and Lanterns
For attractive accent lighting, consider hanging pendant lanterns. Many styles of Moroccan pendants fit perfectly with the intricate patterns and vivid colors of Indian style décor. Small Moroccan candle lanterns make excellent tabletop accent lights.
- Find Moroccan pendants and candle lanterns at Tazi Designs.
To ensure you have adequate lighting wherever it's needed, you may also need to install overhead track lights. Position each individual fixture to cover tables, dark areas in the room or to highlight other decorative accents such as wall art. Install dimmer switches to control the lighting as needed.
- Lumens has a wide selection of track lighting kits and individual track light components.
Accents and Accessories
Enhance an authentic atmosphere with cultural icons of India. Indian art is infused with spiritual symbolism, ancient traditions, and exotic mysticism.
Sculptures of Hindu deities have significant spiritual meaning to the artists who make them and those who use them to meditate or worship. Constructed from stone or metal, include figurines such as:
- Ganesha - With the head of an elephant and four arms, Ganesha is an easily recognizable deity.
- Krishna - As a highly worshiped God in India, Krishna is commonly portrayed playing his flute.
- Shiva - It is believed that Shiva is beyond gender and form, a true supreme entity represented in many abstract and humanoid forms.
- Vishnu - This deity has three typical poses: standing straight and holding his attributes of a conch, wheel, mace and lotus in his four arms, sitting, and reclining.
- The Goddess - Also referred to as simply "Mother," Mata, Mataji, or Ma, this female deity has multiple limbs, aliases, and forms.
Batik paintings make impressive wall art. The design is made using a negative dying technique. Parts of the fabric are covered in wax, which prevents the dye from permeating the fabric in those areas. Once the melted wax is applied to the fabric, it is dipped in ice cold dye, which causes minute cracks in the wax. This produces fine veins of color running through the design, giving the Batik painting its characteristic appearance.
Folk art paintings feature the traditional ornamentation found in prehistoric paintings. Painstakingly intricate details symbolize magical rituals or narrative stories of ancient Indian epics.
Keep It Classy
While your decor should represent the culture and lifestyle of India, don't over clutter the dining room with too many accents. Most Indian art is colorful and intricate by nature, meaning a little goes a long way.