As a kid, Diwali preparation in our family would begin several weeks before the actual festival. The atmosphere inside the house and in the city-markets would be ramping up at the same time. Hence, overall it would be easy to motivate yourself and make memories by decorating your home both inside and outside. It all happens naturally. However, for those of us who live outside India, this can be a little different. Since Diwali is not celebrated by majority population, we don’t see much enthusiasm of Diwali outside our homes or in markets. In spite of that, we put our best efforts to impart and transfer our cultural traditions to our kids. We want our kids to have same child hood memories as ourselves. Hence, every Diwali, I try to create the excitement in kids with all the decorations, lights and fire-crackers. Now they look forward it every year. Even if your busy lives don’t allow to implement all the ideas presented below, do what you can. Something is better than not doing anything. Below, I am sharing some ideas from my home Diwali decorations which you can use in entirety or in pieces that suit you.
Let’s start with the outside. Outside decorative lighting is my husband’s responsibility, this time he really jazzed it up by attracting everybody’s attention in the neighborhood. He used professional installers for the roof lining lights, which costed approximately $500. Rest of the lighting, he could do by himself as it could be safely approached using a regular home ladder. For drive ways and circle around the lamp-post he used the programmable LED rope lights. For the tree trunks, home pillars and big planters,he decided to go with net-style LED lights. Regular LED string lightings were used for the creating the pyramid around the lamp-post. Pictures don’t do justice to the efforts, but overall impact of the lighting was breathtaking. Kids loved it as they got to help also, making it a family project. The toddler was busy managing the spikes for rope lighting, while the middle schooler was giving her ideas and passing on tools while dad was up on ladder. Please make sure that you use the appropriate GFCI protected circuits to power your lights and take electrical hazard precautions when installing lights.
In Indian tradition, main door has a special significance. Many Indian tradition revolves around decorating and performing various ceremonies at the home or pooja room entrance. Same applies to Diwali decorations.
Home main entrance décor has been enhanced by using bandhanwar (toran), flowers, diyas and lamps. I got these Bandhanwar (toran) during my last visit to India. These are one of the usual few items I get from India every time I visit back. Diya refers to the earthen lamp used in Indian sub-continent. These days, you can purchase decorative diyas in almost all major cities in USA at Indian grocery stores. These are also available on Amazon, if you do not have time to visit the local store. After a lot of research, I decided to use artificial flowers that I found on Amazon. I was very satisfied by the overall quality, feel and look of the flowers. I also used some fresh flowers from my garden and local store. The lamps were purchased from Pier1 Imports.
You have the option of making the Rangoli both with colors and flowers. In my case, since I Have a toddler, powder colors did not seem like a good idea. So I went with a simple design that could be made quickly in 10 to 15 minutes with combination of natural and faux flowers.
You can further jazz up your Diwali Rangolis by combining with beautifully crafted diyas.
Did you notice the urli in front of Rangoli. Urli, which is a brass bowl for holding floating candles and flowers, adds a different dimension to any festive or ethnic décor. It immerses life into your static décor by making it dynamic with floating candles and flowers.
Next is the Entry Foyer, which is any visitor’s first glimpse inside your home. It creates the first impression and anticipation to see what else is there. It should convey the festive mood of your home while creating a desire to come in and immerse themselves into festive mood. Foyer décor presented here, uses a Ganesh idol center piece sitting on a beaded medallion table runner and surrounded by decorations consisting on brass artifacts and decorated tea-light candle holders.
Over here I have used my existing bangles as tealight candle holders, which is a very inexpensive and a great way of adding Indian touch to your décor. I have a huge bangles collection, so I borrowed some here to decorate the tealights.
The Ganesh idol was gifted to us by my brother-in-law. Over here I have used the brass bowls as urlis. To add urlies as a decoration piece, you don’t have to necessarily buy them or use a brass bowl. You can use any flat topped shallow bowl to create the same effect.
In the picture above, I have used kundan rangolis for floor decorations. Alternatively, you may use a Rangoli design like one shown below. In my case, with a running toddler, it only lasted a few hours.
Inside the house, you can add little decorations at various places to change the overall look and feel of your home and make it look more festive. For example, I enhanced my living room coffee table with candles and flowers.
You can easily see that I am a big fan of Pier1 Imports. Most of the items in this décor are from that store. Whether you are looking at the table runner, or the trays and candles; all items are from Peir1 Imports, which I have collected over time. I just keep moving them around the house to create new decors using different combinations.
I have a good collection of runners and trays. They are my weakness. So, whenever I see a good designer piece, I tend to buy it for future use. Trays provide a defined space and attraction focal point, that allows me to focus on the limited space. Runners add a different texture to the space and can also help bring color contrast and further glorify other décor elements. I have also used kundan rangolis as fillers between the space to give it an ethnic touch.
Another example is the Fireplace decorations, which in American home is usually a focal point of the living room. You can create a nice ethnic décor by simply placing a few artifacts on the fireplace hearth and in space immediately front of hearth.
Over here I have used a combination of three independent elements to create variety with a common purpose to showcase the various ethnic elements of India. I have used two beautifully decorated elephant heads with Nettipattam in combination with brass musical instrument artifacts. I fell in love with adorable Nettipattam elephant heads during Kerala visit and could not resist adding them to my collection. I love the authenticity they add to any space I use them in.
It’s an amalgamation of diyas, kunda rangolies, fresh flowers with carefully selected placemats and a creative center piece which anybody can easily assemble from the picture. The Pearls & Twigs Shimmer Placemat and Glitz Beaded Silver Placemat are both available in Pier1 Imports.
Above table setting combined with festive food created a lasting memory for my family. The complete menu and recipes for the festive food meal is subject for a another new post coming up in a few days.
Last, but the most important location to decorate in your home on occasion of Diwali is the pooja room and the temple. Laxmi pooja is the most important component of the whole Diwali celebration, that is performed in the pooja room at temple. My family moves every few years due to the nature of my husband’s job. Hence, even though I would love to have a separate pooja room, I currently have share it with office. Hence, I use a handcrafted wooden temple with Rajasthani work with a matching backdrop. This backdrop is designed using tulle fabric, adorned with peacock feathers, pearl bandhanwar and pearl strings. Ends of the tulle fabric have been tied using the brass elephant diyas. This setup amplifies the pooja corner.
The door to the pooja room, which I share with my home office is also decked up with bandhanwar and flowers. Try to add little details like satiya stickers and maha-laxmi foot print stickers. Swastika is associated with ganesha and maha-laxmi footprints are associates with goddess of wealth and prosperity. These little details greatly enhance the impact of your décor.
This has become quite a long post with lot of details. Hopefully you will be able to incorporate some of these decoration ideas in you upcoming holiday events. Please share your feedback if you liked a particular section.
Happy Diwali to everyone. May your life be filled with love, light and blessings of lord Ganesha!
||Suklaambara Dharam Vishnum, Sashi Varnam Chatur Bhujam; Prasanna Vadhanam Dhyaayet, Sarva Vighna Upashaanthaye||
Meaning: Lord Ganesha always dressed in white represents purity. He is omnipresent with gray complexion like that of ash glowing with spiritual splendor. The Lord with bright countenance has four arms. I meditate on the God who can destroy all obstacles whether material or spiritual.