Classic Colonial Dining Room

The Discern design team wanted to create a space that had a classic décor style. They found their opportunity at this old apartment building in Mumbai, which had remnants of an era gone by. The team designed and decorated the dining room in the apartment, keeping in mind the tropical climate and the proximity to the sea. It has been furnished with local furniture from antique bazaars. The classic colonial décor is a recurring theme in this look, albeit with a contemporary finish. The inspiration behind this was to create a space that was colour-and-light-neutral. The design team envisioned a space where the inhabitant’s memories and personal expressions could be captured. This was translated into a wall installation of photo frames. A multitude of frames in different colours, sizes and details lends a very trendy vibe to this dining room.

The classic colonial style references elements of British, French, Dutch and Portuguese influences seen in the creation of furniture during pre-independence India. This style is predominantly seen in the hill stations and tea estates of India, and more specifically in the churches of Goa, and in interior décor across Pondicherry and Cochin. Identifiable through the use of dark woods such as ebony, rosewood, teak and mahogany with elements of woven cane, this style was adapted to suit the tropical Indian climate. The Elite Glass Chandelier by Pepper Fry gives the dining space a royal touch and acts as a décor element inspired by the Colonial era. Intricately carved and designed chinaware and crystal products were also a hallmark of this period.

Discern was inspired by local bazaars, which is where the design team went to source various pieces for this look. Rummaging through markets and online sources and putting together inherited pieces of furniture was how this look was finally created. The space’s design is formal, yet doesn’t look dated or over-cluttered.

Of the various pieces of furniture, art, artefacts, linen and rugs, here is a selection of the ones that stood out for us as iconic pieces. We love the double pedestal dining table which is a quintessential example of the Classic Colonial style, custom-made by the Raj Company. This table excludes elegance and features hand-moulding around its apron along with hand-turned and fluted pedestals. An oval dining table, or rounded edges, always feels much warmer and nicer than a square or rectangular shape. The dining table chairs are 1925 upholstered chairs, custom-made by the Raj Company. These are simple yet contemporary chairs, which help to break the monotony of a matching suite of chairs. We added a touch of colour with an accent rug.

Remember, while putting up an installation of photo frames, a certain order within chaos must be established. The various photo frames were carefully arranged to maintain a certain degree of uniformity. Most urban Indian apartments are limited by height and carpet area, so it is important to provide a sense of space and volume. Discern recommends keeping the walls and the drapes subtle. Textiles and colours with no prints and in a neutral colour palate work best. The key is to allow natural light to reflect through the room. This minimises the risk of making this room look over-decorated.

The colour palette is warm and earthy, in tones of Beige, Silver Fern, Russet, Cress Green and Chilli Pepper. The Silver Fern on the walls is a neutral colour that happily embraces the explosion of colours on the carpet, and in the wall art installation.

To learn about more design styles, check out Discern’s Style Guide, which is a comprehensive look at 16 different decor styles, seen across India and around the world.


With our newly launched mobile app “Discern Living” available on the Google Play Store and iOS App Store, we aim to be a one-stop shopping destination for all your décor needs.


Originally published at www.discernliving.com.