Diwali Special: How to make an entrance
Master of grand wedding settings, Punit Jasuja tells you how to dazzle your guests with a tastefully done-up foyer
An elegant entryway and a warm, inviting foyer serves as the perfect backdrop for your festive celebrations. Whether it’s a mahogany console table, dressed with a spread of fresh mithais, bouquets of blooms and gifts, or a tasteful ensemble of framed paintings hung across the wall, anchored by a statement mirror—there are many ways of giving the entryway a celebratory touch. Diwali is about lights and colours, but it’s also about orchestrating a nuanced festive décor. A splash of eccentric colour or contrasting visual elements can lend a certain musicality to the space. Delhi-based Punit Jasuja, who runs Punit Jasuja Productions, is known to conjure up magical wedding backdrops. He also owns a design store called Second Floor Studio in Shahpur Jat, Delhi. Jasuja speaks to Lounge to make sure your Diwali décor is done right.
Although the door represents “the soul of the house", Jasuja recommends giving it an elegant, minimalist appearance. “Framing your porch, railing and doorway with flower garlands or mirchi lights is a sure way to dress your house up for Diwali. Mirchi lights come in a variety of colours. Pick battery-operated mirchi lights from Good Earth, or if you don’t have time, you can rent them from your local tent shop."
Modern and timeless ‘rangoli’
While layering the porch with candles and diyas is often tastefully executed, it is styling the rangoli where we usually hit a road bump. Rangolis have a tendency to become trite, but Jasuja suggests a classy way of contemporizing it. “Incorporate flower petals and spices as potpourri, which will lend a beautiful fragrance to your setting. Traditional rangoli colours are orange, yellow or red—try and use coloured powder to draw out intricate patterns and motifs. Feel free to write festive words or scriptures in your rangoli. Pillar candles or tea lights will serve as a tasteful finishing touch," says Jasuja.
The greeting at the door
“The porch is the introduction to the house, so placing a murthi (statue) of Ganesha at the entrance to greet your guests is auspicious," says Jasuja. “You could place the murthi on a long table like a credenza near the entryway. Long credenzas are available all over town, but some of my favourites of late are from Marina Home in Sultanpur, Delhi. If you are looking for a quick fix just for the holidays, you can get a 4ft buffet table from you local tent shop and use a textile/tablecloth to cover it."
Rein in the colour palette
While the traditional colours for Diwali are primarily orange, yellow and maroon, Jasuja contends that picking the right colour really depends on the style of the house and how the owners wish to express themselves. He recommends the deep hue of eggplant as a tasteful option. “Purple is a modern colour, which will complement your orange and reds really well. It could be a purple runner placed on your credenza or pillar candles which can work as a thematic visual element—even a purple cushion on a nail-tuft sofa chair, or a baingan-coloured wallpaper. Check out US-based Studio Printworks for a great wallpaper selection. There are various ways you can play this up. "
Dress up the table
It’s great to have a console table in the foyer where you can place mithais, fresh flowers, thali (platter), candles and incense. “I would recommend using a glass cloche for the mithais to keep the sweets fresh," he says. “You should also keep gold or silver thalis ready on the table, so that you can put tikka on the guests as they enter. I also often paint kulars (clay mugs) in silver and gold and use them as flower vases, which can look really fun too."
A constellation of lights
Pillar candles of any colour are a must-have for this season. “White is always my favourite, but feel free to use the ones with a bit of visual element. You can decorate the windows, as well as the front porch with tea lights, mirchi lights and paper candles," says Jasuja. “In addition, use different colour flowers of varying shapes and sizes; put them at different heights to complement the candles and diyas. Bringing in a floor lamp for mood lighting is a great idea too. Flos (a designer lights brand) available at the Lightbox store in Sultanpur, Delhi has a few good options."
To all the gods in the house
“Diwali is not just about decorating; it’s also about reminding people the sentiment of the holidays—it is about love, family and forgiveness," says Jasuja. If you have religious paintings, like Tanjore frames of Ram and Sita or Ganesh for instance, Jasuja suggests pulling them all out and hanging them across the wall. “These paintings will become talking points, where you can sit down with your children and tell them about Diwali, what it really means and why it is celebrated. They can also be a collection of small paintings or pieces of artwork from a book which can be framed."
Fruits in the mix
A bowl of fruit is a really economical way to decorate, says Jasuja. “A mix of fresh apples, oranges, pomegranates and grapes—anything that offers colour and some life—could work. Place fresh fruits in either a beautiful rustic basket or a crystal bowl. If not fruits, you could also put potpourri in the crystal bowl. L’Occitane has a nice selection of potpourri, and I’d recommend Waterford or Baccarat RCR crystal bowls, which are good options. Another fun way of decorating the table is to have a display of gifts with different sizes. Pack your gifts in wrapping paper that matches your decor. Spend time on the gift wrapping. Well- wrapped presents can make all the difference."
Rugs “Your rug should be along the same colours—festive and fun," says Jasuja. “Use a rug that is a bit darker in shade. Jaipur Rugs or Carpet Cellar in Delhi are a few good options."