You will find a walk through some of the lanes in Kolkata like Park Street, Gouribari Garpar, and Amherst Street striking for more reasons than one. The contrast of heritage homes, colonial-era churches, and palaces co-existing with high-rise apartments and office buildings are deeply reflective of how the city has evolved over a period of time.
Home architecture and interior design in Kolkata is evocative of narratives from different parts of the world. The British influence most profoundly impacted the city’s structures, apart from elements of Moghul, Jewish, Chinese, Armenian and other communities.
Kolkata Home Design in the 1800s and 1900s
Decorated pools, stone-laid footpaths, wooden doors and windows, antique showpieces, four-poster beds, and ornate writing desks characterized home design in Kolkata of the 1800s. Homes were huge, housed multiple families, and were blessed by abundant space. They also served the purposes of climate response, cross ventilation and daylighting.
19th-century Bungalows in Kolkata
The 19th-century Bungalows were built by single-family affluent residents which were usually situated in big plots of land. These had European, Bengali, Marwari, and Rajasthani influences that combined to create a unique style. Long, wrought-iron balconies and ornamental entrances were some of the main characteristics of these bungalows.
Independent Houses in Kolkata
The trend of independent houses by the city’s middle class started in the mid-1900s. They typically had red oxide stone floors, slatted Venetian painted windows, horizontal wooden bars to lock doors, open rooftop terraces, patterned cast-iron railings, and intricately worked cornices. Some houses of the 1940s also had quirky art-deco elements like semi-circular balconies, porthole-shaped windows, and sunrise motifs on grilles and gates. The interior design style evolved to “eccentric” (in Amartya Sen’s words) and beautiful, and entirely of the Bengali middle class.
What are the Interior Design Trends in Kolkata Today?
Cut to today, the need is for smaller, smarter homes or apartments with compact designs for smaller families. Today’s interior design in Kolkata homes reflects the individual owner’s tastes and sensibilities. Modern needs and space constraints influence their choices. However, the ethos and aesthetic sensibilities remain the same. Here are the top interior design trends in Kolkata today:
1. Contemporary Interiors and Old-World Elements
Kolkata homes have sleek, contemporary interiors infused with traditional elements like Kalighat paintings and even stained-glass accents. In a living room, you’ll find modern furniture and surprise traditional elements like a swing or an antique rocking chair.
In your dining room, you could place an antique shelf to hold your fine bone china and cutlery. Place an antique writer’s desk or a wooden trunk in your library or bedroom. Use a salvaged wood console in the entryway. And, modern shelving with traditional carved wood accents in the pooja room.
2. Optimum Space Planning
Compact homes in Kolkata need optimal space planning and the use of space-saving furniture. In your living room, go for a space-saving coffee table with a nested stool – this will give you additional seating options when you have lots of guests. Install a folding wall-mounted dining table to create a breakfast area adjacent to the kitchen or an extendable dining table in your dining area. Place a sofa cum bed in your guest room to make extra room for guests who stay over.
3. Modern Lighting Solutions and Maximum Use of Natural Light
Kolkata home typically has modern lighting solutions. But, they also maximize the use of natural light. In your home, design large windows and French-style doors, or floor-to-ceiling windows for maximum natural lighting. Use sheer day curtains in your living and dining rooms.
Pick contemporary lighting solutions that are functional and aesthetic at the same time. Make sure you have proper ambient lighting in all rooms, task lighting especially in the study or home office, and accent lighting around your favourite show-pieces.
4. Mix Modern and Traditional Floor Treatments
In some rooms, opt for bold, patterned-tile floors. In your bedrooms go for wooden flooring, real wood veneer floors, or distressed wood laminate floors. You can even use ceramic tiles that resemble wood. For a natural look, use stone tiles in your kitchen, and maybe marble for the rest of your home. Terracotta tiles are also a great idea, especially for your patio or balcony.
5. Plenty of Comfortable Seating Areas
Conversation nooks in living rooms and verandahs delight the Bengalis who love a well-informed conversation on the arts or politics. In your home, carve out seating areas where you can curl up with a book in front of a large bookshelf, or just unwind on a pleasant, windy evening. Arrange a few comfortable chairs or a day bed, surrounded by your favorite items including books, plants, and a record player maybe. Complete the nooks with pouffes and side tables to hold your cups of chai.
6. Display of Art and Personal Memorabilia
Kolkata homeowners want modern homes reflecting memories of growing up in the city, and of a sepia-tinted past. and modern designs in flooring, walls, furniture, and wardrobes often incorporating their heirloom collectables. In your study or a portion of the living room, design a tall, custom-built bookshelf that will hold all your beloved collectables. Display black and white family photographs and your collection of artwork proudly on the walls or shelves. Design a feature wall in your living room, showcasing paintings and sculptures from your personal collection.
It takes a bonafide interior design expert who is sensitive to the preferences, ethos, and cultural nuances of Kolkata to collaboratively design a home using the vision of its owner.
If you need to design your home in Kolkata, get plenty of inspiration from HomeLane’s experience centre in the city. Or, connect with us online or by telephone right away to discuss your ideas.
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