The tired woman's guide to last-minute festive home decor
The devil is in the details
Chaos is a way of life in Indian households and, without fail, there’s a sharp spike in this stress graph during Diwali. But before D-day comes the dreaded annual safai. Makdis lose their well-knit homes to jhaadus and vacuums, every morsel of dust is hunted down and every platform cleaned till you can see your reflection in it. But that’s just cleaning — it’s step one. Anyone will tell you Diwali decor (Our latest episode of Spacelift on Youtube has some ideas) is a whole different beast to conquer.
Once your pocha has hopped from shelf to shelf and pankha to pankha, it’s time to summon the strength for step two. You swap your floral curtains for shimmery ones, replace solid cushion covers for those with sequins, rearrange your house plants and hang fairy lights. Finally, comes the hukum ka ikka — adding accent pieces for aesthetics. It can take a while to get through all three steps though. And with all of us focusing our energies on multiple fronts: khaane mein kya banana hai?, which presentation deck is due at work, and Chintu’s last-minute craft project, thinking of how to decorate the house for Diwali will feel like a burden even Batman can’t lift off of us.
So if you’re only getting around to Diwali safai now, less than half a week from the celebrations, here’s some ammo to get through step three. These low-effort decor ideas will help your inner tired woman make your home look Pinterest-worthy before the guests start arriving.
Disclaimer: We’ve listed the original prices of the suggested items, but you could get them at discounted prices during festive sales and offers if you’re lucky.
9 last-minute tips that’ll elevate your festive home decor this Diwali
Dress up your table
Dining tables are an under-utilised piece of furniture. With simple accessories, you can change the look of the table and make them an active part of your decor. Get a runner in a festive colours, like red, orange, pink or green with floral or paisley motifs. Your local decor store may have some beautiful designs or you can buy this multicoloured table runner for ₹299 from Ikea.
Place a small vase with leaves or flowers at the centre of the runner or put jars full of kaju, badaam and kishmish for casual snacking. We assure you the gujiyaas and motichoor laddoos will look more delicious placed on a pretty ceramic plate atop the runner.
Upgrade your drinkware
Special days deserve special drinkware — be it coffee mugs, tea cups or glasses. They’ll also serve as perfect additions to your Diwali party decor and servings. (Here’s how you can throw an eco-friendly Diwali party)
For guests who drop in just as you’re groggily recovering from an afternoon nap, these red and white autumn leaf cups from Weaving Homes (one for ₹389) will be perfect for your special adrak wali chai. They’re festive, just the right size and will be a great addition to your ceramic collection.
Also, this would be a great time to get those special colourful glasses out of storage or hunt your local stores for an eye-catching set in which to serve a cooler or cocktail.
Create a charcuterie board
We all have crockery and dining sets which are preciously stowed away and see the light of day only when we have guests over. In addition to giving them their time to shine, consider stocking up on hand-painted platters and serving plates to elevate snack time because, after all, plating is an art.
Invest in a couple of brightly coloured or abstract patterned platters to serve the namkeen. We like this deep green banana leaf-shaped platter set of two priced ₹3999 from Exclusive Lane—it’ll definitely fetch you compliments. Or go one step ahead and create a desi charcuterie board with samosas, kaju katlis, jalebis, mathri, etc. We guarantee you it’ll be the talk of the town till your next party.
Give your candles a makeover
Diyas, lanterns and fairy lights either come out of storage or are upgraded every year for Diwali. But how about you splurge on a votive this year and add a new lighting element to your living room? A votive candle holder is a glass container that holds a candle in place, and creates just the right mood lighting.
You’ll find votives in interesting shapes at your local markets. Or you could also DIY them at home using spare or old glasses and craft materials. You can check out some ideas here. We particularly like this brass and glass votive holder priced at ₹990 from Jaypore — it resembles a grand spiral staircase. In the evenings, you could light the candle inside and during the day, it’ll serve as a showpiece. But this item has sharp corners so if you have young kids, you may want to avoid it or be extra careful.
Splurge on a floor lamp for mood lighting
Fairy lights aren’t always bright enough to light up every corner, and you most definitely don’t want to have to switch on the white lights. To create some mood lighting that’s also bright enough for your guests, consider investing in a floor lamp. Yes, we know there could be space issues, but hear us out. A sleek lamp with a tripod base in a neutral shade would work well. It’ll light up the room and create the right ambience for Diwali photo dumps. You can order this one in beige and brown from Amazon for ₹4000.
Invest in a combination of items
Indians are synonymous with jugaad. We’ve been multi-purposing household items for decades. Broken barnis as planters, spoons and forks to make rangoli designs… you get the drift. Here’s one more addition. Urli or urulis are a type of cookware largely used in the South Indian states (it’s made of copper or bronze) and they can very well be turned into decor items.
You can add marigold flowers and leave it atop your centre table in the living room. Or if you have a large urli, you can place it in an empty corner, fill it with water and leave floating candles or diyas in it. You can buy urli bowls of any size, shape and design online if you don’t have one at home. There are plenty of options to choose from. Our pick is this minimalistic lotus-shaped set with one urli bowl and three light holders for ₹1899.
Consider choosing crochet flowers for some spaces
Real flowers are pretty, but their shelf life isn’t. And plastic flowers, well, that’s a no-no. We have another option that’s just as beautiful – crochet flowers. If you’re fond of knitting, DIY some bright flowers and put them in an attractive vase, and you’re sorted. But if you’re not a pro with the needles, you can go out and buy these sustainable flower arrangements to adorn side tables and corners.
We found a small business on Instagram that creates lovely crochet flowers and bouquets. This one with lilies especially caught our eye. There are three sizes of lilies available, so you can customise them per your needs. Check them out – Created With Love.
Appeal to the olfactory senses
A home that smells good, feels good. And to take your festivities up a notch, there’s no better way than to appeal to all senses at once. Buy a small incense diffuser and a pick a fragrance of your choice — we recommend going floral, but you can opt for a type that you prefer.
A diffuser will add a welcoming element to your decor and make your home smell better than freshly washed laundry. There are four types of diffusers — vapour, heat, ultrasonic and nebulisers, which are the different ways in which the scent is dispersed. Marks & Spencer has a wide collection to choose from, but you can also get one at any store that stocks home accessories. And if nothing else, you can always turn to our dear Jeff. Tch Amazon, we mean. They have a range of options that they deliver quickly. Our pick is this set of three from Soul & Scents priced at ₹2097. They have multiple scent combos, so you can pick the one that appeals to you the most.
Put up wall art
Walls are the best canvas to play with when it comes to decor. If drilling holes and hanging art feels nightmarish to you and you can’t find a handyman courtesy of the holiday, a set of stick-on wall art will do the job. There’s a range of wall art available from absolutely baroque to modern and minimal, find one that matches your home decor.
But we found a set of 4 from Triad Basics for ₹1299, which strikes the balance between artsy and minimal. You can put them up in any pattern you like. You can also wrap dainty fairy lights across the squares or behind them to light them up.