If you’re looking to add more Indian flair to your home as you decorate, taking influence from India’s traditions is the perfect place to start. One of these is Abhla Bharat – also known as Shisha, a method of Indian traditional mirror work that has been used in India for centuries. It is the craft of attaching small mirrors to the fabric in order to create a reflective, glimmering appearance.
Although it originated in Persia in the 13th century, this style of mirror work was brought to India by tradesmen and travellers during the Mughal era. Originally, it stemmed from Islamic beliefs that the mirrors would repel the evil eye, bad luck and harmful spirits, creating a sense of protection and positivity.
Today, it is used in a number of ways – on clothing, as a decorative effect and in the home. Here are some ways you could take influence from this tradition and use some traditional Indian mirror work in your home décor!
Textiles are the most common way to feature mirror work as sewing the mirrors to fabric is essentially what the tradition entails. You can buy cushions, curtains, rugs and more from many Indian shops and manufacturers, each with delicate mirrored detailing to add sparkle to your home.
Alternatively, why not try your hand at making your own? It’s easy to find bright, colourful fabric. All you need to do is sew on the mirrors and create a pattern!
2. Lights and Lanterns
You may also find that many lanterns and lights available throughout India feature mirrored effects or small, decorative mirror beads.This is a way to feature the same traditional craft in a whole new way. Bright, mirrored lighting (such as candle holders or lanterns) is often used during India’s festivals. You could recreate the same effect on a lamp shade to use in your home all year round.
Tiling is an easy and effective way to give your home a whole new look without too much work or disruption. Tiles are available in a vast range of colours, textures and patterns, so keep a look out for some that feature a mirrored design. Once you’ve found one you like, use it in a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere in your home that could do with some extra sparkle.
If you’re looking for something different than a painting or photograph, try looking for artwork that features mirrors! Many artists use additional beading or embellishments to further enhance their work – and that includes the use of mirrors! The mirrors can add the illusion of light to a piece, or even just give it that little something extra to make it pop.
Throughout history in India, people have affixed mirrors to their front doors as a way to protect them from evil spirits. While back then, a Shisha Toran was used to create a structural gateway, today’s modern homeowners may prefer to simply use mirrored decorations. This is a way to illustrate your own history and culture while still keeping a home that’s contemporary and on trend.
Inside your home, you can use colourful decorative mirrored curtains to embellish each doorway if you wish!
If you’re looking to refresh your built-in cabinets or wardrobes, you’ll find endless variety when it comes to the door panels. Today, panels come in different materials (including a vast range of woods), colours and finishes. But on top of the basic shape, many people choose to include a mirrored effect. The mirror is simply placed on the outside of the panel to create a mirrored finish.
As well as looking cool and contemporary, it also eliminates the need to feature an independently standing mirror in the room.
If you’re a fan of the mirrored panels but want to take things a step further, why not consider mirrored furniture? There is furniture you can buy – such as beds, cabinets, armoires, vanity tables and stools, that is entirely finished with a mirror effect. Essentially, the piece is a mirror in itself!
The effect is incredibly on-trend and stylish, making it the perfect way to add a little tradition to your home whilst still featuring plenty of mirrored sparkle.
8. Traditional Indian Decorations
As traditional mirror work is so well loved in Indian culture, it is seen on a wide range of decorations that you can display in your home. These include entry curtains (as described above), decorative wreaths, ornaments, festival items and just about anything else!
Check out your local handmade store or some independent Indian retails. They’re sure to have something in the mirrored look you’re going for.
9. Actual Mirrors
Although it may seem obvious, what about just using actual mirrors? This is probably the easiest and simplest way to feature a mirror effect throughout your home. Mirrors can be found in almost any style, size and shape, so there will always be one that suits your interior.
Take a look at some different frames and see if you can find one you like! There are many frames that feature traditional Indian styles – some of which feature even more decorative mirrors!
Whether you use all of these ideas or just a few, adding mirrors to your home is an easy yet effective way to add a little Indian culture and history to your home.
Does your home feature mirrors? What kind of style do you use to display them? Share your thoughts, ideas and experiences in the comments – you may inspire someone to do the same.