In recent years, there has been a growing interest in incorporating diverse cultural elements into home decor. For those who are of South Asian descent, decorating with pieces that reflect their cultural background is not just an aesthetic choice, but a way to connect with their heritage and express pride in their cultural identity. 

In a recent interview with Mahima, we learned about her use of Indian decor in her home and how it has become a way for her to showcase her Indian heritage.

Mahima, who works in tech and has been living in her apartment in San Francisco for seven years, shared that she has always been deeply connected to South Asian culture. 

She frequently traveled to India as a child, sings classical music, and has a deep appreciation for her heritage. 

Her love for South Asian culture is reflected in her home decor, which includes a corner for Gods (see above), books, artwork, rugs - and her kitchen contains all the Indian spices you can imagine!

When you look at Mahima's, it is obvious she's a foodie (in fact she went to culinary school), culture junkie, and San Francisco local. Here are 3 of her favorites:

1) 🍞 TARTINE: A Classic Revisited, a must for any home baker! If you are ever in San Francisco, make sure to stop by Tartine in the Mission - and don’t leave without a loaf of country bread!
2) 🍜 Crying in H Mart: A beautiful memoir that explores the connection between food, family, culture, and grief
3) 🇮🇳 Indian-Ish: Recipes and Antics from a Modern American Family, Of course, it has to be on the bookshelf of any Desi culinary school graduate!

When asked about what inspired her to integrate South Asian culture into her home, she mentioned that her first piece of decor was an art piece (shown below) shipped to her by her grandparents from a local artist in India. She fell in love with the piece, how unique it was, and how it helped her feel connected to her heritage.

“My favorite piece of decor is my entrance artwork that was shipped to me from my grandparents in India” says Mahima.

Since then she has also spent time shopping with her mom in the markets to find unique pieces and even took some artwork from her mother-in-law (see below). "I grabbed it from my mother-in-law’s Indian art collection! I don’t even know what it represents, but I love staring at it and coming up with storylines." These personal connections to her decor add to the richness of her story. In Mahima’s home, it's clear culture is appreciated and passed down from generation to generation. 

 As kismet would have it, Mahima stumbled upon the same local artist years later while traveling in India and picked up a vintage art piece with frayed edges (see above) to add to her collection. These pieces have special meaning to her as they are not just decorations, but symbols of her heritage and family history. Each piece is a shared memory of her family, her homeland, and her upbringing. 

One aspect that stands out in her decor is the use of vibrant colors, particularly blues and reds. This sofa (see below) was bought in San Francisco but pairing it with the Jaipur quilt adds personality! These colors are commonly found in South Asian textiles and art and add a bold and lively touch to her home. 

Mahima is a passionate cook and loves hosting, and her guests love her South Asian-inspired home decor. She is always excited when her guests ask about a specific piece so she can share the story of its cultural significance and she obtained the pieces she has chosen to display. For those who are interested in incorporating South Asian culture into their own home decor, Mahima advises being intentional and finding unique pieces that have a personal connection. She shares, 

Mahima’s Advice: 

“Be intentional, each piece will tell your story. I encourage people to take their time with curating pieces - you build a collection over time!”

 While it can be challenging to find authentic pieces outside of South Asia, Mahima is grateful there are companies like Marble Lotus that specialize in bringing South Asian decor to a broader market.

Overall, the use of South Asian decor in the home is not just a trend but a way to express cultural pride and connect with one's heritage. It is a beautiful way to showcase the richness and diversity of South Asian culture and share it with others.

    Saundrya Mehra