The kids have their end-of-year break going on, so we spent a few days in Agra last week. The holiday included all the beautiful monuments with their amazing stories and loads of yummilicious food… especially street chaat at Sadar Bazaar. But the highlight of the trip was obviously the fabulous Taj Mahal. We went once, and we went again to view it at sunrise. And though I’m back home, my head is spinning with decor ideas inspired by the Taj Mahal that I would LOVE to use.
Decor Ideas Inspired By The Taj Mahal:
We spent hours walking around and then just staring at the Taj Mahal. And I am still in awe. The detailing that went into everything.. from the choice of marble and the stones used in the inlay work right down to protecting the foundation from earthquakes and the amazing drainage system to get rid of the rain water.. is astounding. We could never replicate it now, even if we tried. But I am still very inspired. Though it’s size and scale is unmatchable, I’d love to use some of the design features in my projects if possible. So here are some of the decor ideas inspired by the Taj Mahal that I can’t wait to use!
Isn’t that a gorgeous pic? And yet it does no justice to the Taj Mahal. You need to be standing right there to actually feel it’s awe inspiring size, scale, beauty and grandeur. But I think I’m digressing. Here I’m going to try to break down it’s grandeur into parts.. which is worse! But since we can’t even dream of replicating the whole thing, maybe we can try parts of it?
So the first thing that caught my eye was all the beautiful arches. Right from the main entrance gate, which is a beautiful red stone arched structure, to the main entrance of the Taj Mahal itself, to the smaller arches on both its sides, to the little arches in all the minarets, and the shape of the arches replicated in the domes. The Taj Mahal is all about arches. It’s the curved lines which make it delicate and beautiful. Now look at the pic above and imagine all that’s described above as straight lined rectangles. No way, right?
So how would I include these in a design? I love the way the Oberoi Amarvilas has done it. In fact, a lot of my pictures here are from the Amarvilas. I think the hotel is a stunning tribute to the Taj Mahal! That beautiful row of arches with a painted mural, again in an arch on the wall behind. It’s gorgeous!
This might be possible in a large bungalow. But I live and work in Mumbai. So I’m thinking more ‘what will work in a flat’. And these are some ideas I love.
These intricately carved arches against the wall are stunning. The mirror behind them is a great idea to add depth so that the arches don’t look flat against the wall. It looks like something is behind them. Anyone looking for a bedroom like this? Message me.. I’d love to help you design it! 🙂
Or a niche in a living room. Instead of leaving the opening rectangular, add an arch to it to make it stunning.
Similarly for rectangular windows and doors. What’s to stop us from having an extended arch shaped pelmet which also conveniently conceals the curtain channels.
(2) Floral Inlay Border:
Exquisite marble inlay in semi precious stones, like this one at the Taj Mahal, will be amazing for a client who can afford it. But how would I do this without having to pay an arm and a leg?
The floral tiles on the risers here make these steps spectacular.
Similarly, this simple door arch is stunning because of the tile work.
Here, an ordinary terracotta tile flooring becomes extraordinary because of the patterned tiles inlaid in between. Also notice the tiles on the steps and the floral motifs painted on the door arches. That’s more ways to use florals!
As also on furniture. Click here for the DIY that turned this plain chest of drawers into this beauty. It’s really simple and I’m most tempted to try it out myself.
There is some spectacular jaali work inside the mausoleum where photography was not allowed, so this amazing jaali work is from the Salim Chisti Dargah at Fatehpur Sikri.
I have always loved jaali work and if you remember, we used jaali in this foyer, behind the Buddha. We put a sheet of textured gold laminate behind the jaali so that the jaali design stands out. You can see this entire foyer here.
(4) Domed Ceiling:
The domed ceilings are again, spectacular. I don’t know if you can tell in this picture, but that pattern is not just flat inlay. It is a 3D pattern, similar to the cuts on the surface of a diamond, apparently inspired by the Kohinoor. A dome adds grandiosity to a space like nothing else!
This dome, at the Oberoi Amarvilas, is absolutely dazzling. The blue and gold pattern and that gorgeous chandelier only add to it’s grandiosity.
See how the dome above this bed makes the space look so much larger than life? But again, this is not really possible in a Mumbai flat. So what is possible?
A simple cove with a stenciled or wallpaper pattern on it is a great alternative.
So is the use of a simple medallion on the ceiling.
(5) Floor Pattern:
The entire courtyard of the Taj Mahal has this beautiful pattern in marble and red sandstone, and so floor patterns is the next on our list of decor ideas inspired by the Taj Mahal.
This beautiful floor forms the lobby of the Amarvilas, just below the dome you saw in the picture above. This space is simply stunning!
I’d love to use patterned floors, and using them outdoors, on a terrace or large balcony, could be easily done. This patio from Emily Henderson’s home is my favourite space from my favourite decor blogger! Did you notice that this is the exact same pattern used at the Taj Mahal? Only the colours are different!
But what about inside a flat? I’d think twice before doing a heavy pattern in a small room. I’d prefer something like this. A bold pattern in a passage or one area of a room, that makes a statement in itself.
Verses of the Quran are beautifully inlaid along the arches of the Taj Mahal, and using calligraphy is one of my fave decor ideas inspired by the Taj Mahal.
Though we’ve used the Gayatri Mantra in Em’s living room…
… I’d love to use Chinese / Japanese or Arabic script.
A beautiful script is art in itself.
And what about some script on upholstery? Isn’t this a deliciously delicate corner?
So technically, I saw these at the Agra fort, not at the Taj Mahal. But since it’s Agra, and the same holiday.. and I’m just as inspired to use them, they’re included in this list.
In an apartment, we could use them as architectural elements. Add them to a door, window or entryway and it changes the way the space looks.
I also love how they’ve been used as decor elements in these spaces. This corbel makes a simple plant stand on a wall. If you add a glass or wooden top to it, it would make a great side table.
A lamp shade on this corbel makes a stunning wall sconce.
The Taj Mahal has inspired and moved people for generations, so this list doesn’t even begin to do justice to its splendour. But it’s a start. These are my favourite decor ideas inspired by the Taj Mahal. And yet, I’m sure, if I were to visit again and look at it a bit longer, I’d come up with some more.
What about you? Which part of the Taj Mahal would you like to replicate in your home? What design ideas does it inspire in you? Go ahead and add to this list in the comments below.
And every time I use any of these decor ideas inspired by the Taj Mahal, you’ll be the first to know!
Until next time,