Textile Patterns in a South Indian Home

Rarely would I travel with a hardcover book. But for our long flight to India, I threw this book in the carry-on bag:

Textile Style Book

So glad I did! It was a pleasure to flip through the pages, and a nice break from movies like White House Down. So by the time we arrived in India, my eyes were primed for noticing textiles. Here are some from around my husband’s parent’s house in Chennai, India.

This cotton is printed with deep pomegranate red, turmeric color and bluish-grays (saying “shades of gray” is forever ruined!). This fabric covers a cushioned divan facing the main door. Someone is always sitting on that divan, watching for visitors. The main door is always open, and visitors are always stopping by.

Printed Textile in South Indian Home

This printed cotton covers a bolster pillow:

Pillow with India Print

Here’s a sampling from around the living room:

Textiles in South India Home

This shows how fabrics have been layered on chairs:

Fabrics in Living Room of India Home

This is the home of regular folk in South India. They aren’t designers or even interested in home design. In fact, the home is extremely simple and the fabrics are probably the most visual part of its decor, aside from the brightly-colored images of Hindu deities hanging on walls.

But without knowing it, they’ve perfectly captured many ideas shared in the Textile Style book. They’ve made an art of mixing fabrics. They have used some of them for decades. Any frays are okay, they show how much the fabrics have been enjoyed in the home. You can also see they used a mix of opulent embroidered designs paired with more subdued fabrics, so you don’t get overwhelmed visually. I think they did this all naturally, just what looked good to their eyes.

As a parting shot, here’s my favorite little view of textiles in their home. It’s a glimpse of the pillowcase underneath a cushion cover that’s tied over it. I bet nearly everyone overlooks this.

Bolster Pillow on Indian Divan

I’ve been to this home during many previous trips to India but didn’t pay much attention to these textiles, until Textile Style suggested I appreciate the simple ways people use them around their homes.

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2 Replies to “Textile Patterns in a South Indian Home”

  1. I love love love all the colors and patterns!!! I would love to take a trip to India, I so envy you!

    1. It’s easier and more comfortable than ever to come to India! Just the flight here is a bit expensive. Sometimes we use our mileage miles for free flights. And we don’t travel here during the Christmas/holiday season – flights are too pricey then.

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