With the coming of springtime and the exuberant colors of the Holi festival, it’s time to add a dash of color to a place where family often gathers together. Why? Because color has a significant influence on our moods and energy, so why not use color to our advantage in a room where memories are created with family and friends: the dining room. Holi, with its splashes of many bright colors, is perfect inspiration to bring positive energy into your dining room. So I sought out dining room decorating ideas that are reminiscent of the festival.
Now, even though having color on your dining room table can make a meal feel festive, I’d caution against having too many different colors in the middle of dinnerware, where you place food. Enjoying a meal involves all the senses: touch, taste, smell, and yes even sound if you consider the gentle clink of a spoon as you swirl tea, for example. And it also involves vision. The food really should be the star of the show on a table.
To show how you can bring Holi’s festive color to your table but still allow the food to shine, here are several examples of dinnerware from World Market that would accomplish this. See how there is a great deal of color on these pieces. But the insides of the bowls are white. The centers of the dishes are white.
The insides of the coffee mugs are white. This decreases the visual competition where food is placed. The large chartreuse, orange and white platter has color throughout but it would be used as a serving piece, where for example, you could place a cake on it. The color would peek out a bit, but the cake would still be the center of attention. You can also introduce color through textiles underneath plates, such as the colorful paisley placemat here.
Another point to keep in mind; food rarely looks good when placed directly on the color blue. There are also very few foods that are naturally blue. There are blueberries, some bluish potatoes, blue veins in some cheeses … can you think of any others? It’s just not an appetizing color to eat unless you are eating blueberries. This may be because we are wired to avoid eating foods that could be harmful to humans, and blue may have been a warning of dangerous mold. Once you know that, it might not be a surprise that color experts say that blue is an appetite suppressant. Perhaps, then, you may want that color in your dinnerware! Or to paint your dining room walls blue. In all seriousness, after cooking a meal for your family, you want the food to be appealing so colors should enhance the food.
Another way to bring bright colors to your dining table is through printed napkins. They are an easy and inexpensive way to tailor your table for a party or holiday celebration without investing in new dinnerware for the occasion.
One source of colorful dining room items is Merimekko, a line with more modern style. Crate and Barrel carries some of their wares such as these napkins that could just as well have been printed with Holi powders, the colors are so bright. The round shapes also make me think of these being created by throwing fistfuls of blazing color powders at them.
And of course retailers in India can always be counted on to bring on the color. I love the punch of this simple orange bamboo lacquer bowl from Zansaar paired with this ikat table runner from India Circus.
If you really like decorating with blue, this is one way to weave blue into your dining room decor. The runner would cover the middle of your table, and food wouldn’t be placed directly on the blue color. You could use a simple white plate with these items and it would be a modern, graphic look.
Beyond the dinnerware on the table, consider adding splashes of color throughout your dining room. This dining room looks like it is painted with Holi colors with its lime green, magenta, red and orange – what an energetic combination of color!
This dining room looks like an instant mood lifter. Color can have a powerful impact on how we feel. It can have a physiological effect on us, for example certain colors like red can make our hearts race faster. Of the colors in the room above, green is a refreshing color, orange is active and hot pink is exciting. Hot pink has the effect of red but toned down a bit. Maybe that’s why my reaction was that this room is a mood lifter!
Picture the same room but with soft baby pink and light mint green. That would create a different feeling, wouldn’t it? That’s the power of color. This room packs more power into it because there is bold color on all surfaces. If you don’t want to commit to painting entire walls such a bright color, you could take some cues from this room and paint a few simple chairs, cover the dining table with a bright fabric or hang bold curtains.
Here’s another example with bright against white. All the white tones down the impact of the color on us, so you don’t feel as “enveloped” in the color while looking at this photo.
But yet, the little pops of color still have their effect on us. Note the energy and excitement that the orange and hot pink colours bring to the room. Now imagine this room with beige fabric on the seats and a natural-color artwork on the wall. You might feel very different in that room. Maybe conversation and activities would be different? I wonder. Is it possible that using bold, strong colors in our homes can influence what we do?
Sometimes we must keep our rooms white because we rent and cannot paint the walls, or simply because we like the brightness of white. In that case, add color through artwork, like the painted discs here that bring a mix of wild colors reminiscent of Holi celebrations. These colors add energy to the room. And if you think about it, what do people do during Holi?
People are smiling, laughing, and expressing themselves. They’re active. They’re having fun. Certainly the bright colors of Holi powders help to create that feeling.
So consider that when thinking about the environment you want in your dining room, or any other place where family and friends frequently gather in your home. I hope this has shown you some new ideas for how to bring the festivities of Holi into your home!
About India Pied-a-Terre
India Pied-a-Terre is a blog that celebrates India design and other worldly design inspirations. It is written by Deb Trombley where she writes about global inspired design and DIYs. You can find more information at www.indiapiedaterre.com pinterest.com/indiapiedaterre .
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