A little ‘Chettinad’ in your home

Last weekend, I met up with an old friend, whom I hadn’t seen for years! She invited me over to her gorgeous abode and we got chatting over a cup of ‘real’ south indian filter coffee. As I climbed up the stairs to her home, I was completely enveloped in an earthy, old-world feel. The rustic terracotta tiles on the walls and stairway with touches of bright yellow made it look spectacular! To add to this, the aroma of freshly brewed filter-coffee, Carnatic music playing in the background and a lit-up traditional south indian lamp decorated with jasmine flowers transported me to somewhere beautiful in the southern part of India. She prides herself in being a ‘Chettiar’ and her home reflected that completely!

The subtle elegance in her home was reflected in every tile, wall art and the furniture and as we got talking she introduced me to the captivating world of ‘Chettinad’ decor! Her world, her home wasn’t anything like other homes that I had seen in the Delhi area; it clearly was a place that took her back to her childhood memories, her ‘home’, where her soul belonged.  I was totally fascinated by her decor,  as you can perhaps guess! So, here I am, sharing the beautiful style with you all, my lovely readers.

Are you familiar with this style of decor at all? If you are fascinated by this style and are looking to re-decorate a part of your home, then why not bring a little bit of ‘Chettinad’ into your homes? The earthy, warm tones of this style are so welcoming!  I know you do, so here I am, presenting to you ‘the essential 4’ for a Chettinad home:

1. Athangudi tiles

These aren’t ceramic tiles at all.  These handmade tiles are a visual treat and are made in home factories in Athangudi,  typically by filling the mould with bright paints that is mixed with a little cement and local sand.  The patterns on these tiles are generally floral and geometric and are finished (not machine polished!) to stay glossy for years and years!

Beautiful Athangudi tiles via
Colourful handmade Athandgudi tiles via
Some more pretty tiles created with just local sand, paint and cement, essentially ….via

You can get some of these tiles from Madurai Meenakshi MosaicContact: Mr. Mohana Ganesh Phone : +91 – 44 – 32992131/24364309 Mobile : +91 – 09841021317

or from Athangudi Palace Tiles in Karaikudi:  Phone : +91 4565 281339, +91 4565 233331 Mobile : +91 94422 28331, +91 9442229331

2. Antiques from Karaikudi Antique market

Though the Chettiyars are not living in Chettinadu today but the traditional antique market has a huge range of items that were once found in their homes! So, a visit to this antique market is a must!

Karaikudi is one of the major sources of antiques in the south of India. From Ravi Varma’s creations, Tanjore and glass paintings to several pieces originating from all over the world along with some spectacular old photographs can be found in these antiques market. It’s just totally brilliant and worth a visit, I am told.

The Antique market of Karaikudi via
Antique market finds via
Quaint locks from the chettinad antique market via
Antique market finds at Karaikudi via
Antique market - packed with stuff from all over the world, that once lived in a 'Chettiyar' home : https://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/photos/in-the-antique-market-of-karaikudi-slideshow/travel-destinations-karaikudi-antique-market-photo-1390292565897.html
Antique market – packed with gorgeous items from all over the world, that once lived in a ‘Chettiyar’ home  via
Lights found in the antique market - https://www.pinterest.com/pin/209558188885796560/
Lights, that you may find in the antique market  via

3. Carved wood doors and doorways

The Chettiars incorporated the wealth of wood sculpting and craftsmanship in their homes, best seen in the exquisite and intricate carvings on doorways. You could get this for your home, of course, if you are after a  ‘royal’ look. A little bit of ‘Chettinad’ for you…

Chettinad Door carvings at Chidambara Vilas via
A chettinad door : https://www.pinterest.com/pin/13581236345779115/
A chettinad door – how gorgeous is that via 
Beautifully carved chettinad doorway via
Chettinadu carved woodwork in burmese teak…via

4. Solid wood pillars with beautifully chiselled or carved bases

Chettinad pillar - The wonderful ornate carvings via
Chettinad pillar – The wonderful ornate carvings via
Another stunning 'chettinad' pillar with a glimpse of a door via
Another stunning ‘chettinad’ pillar; don’t miss the equally pretty doors  via

So, what do you think? Inspired to bring a little ‘Chettinad’ into your own home?

Chettinad decor via
Chettinad decor with Athangudi tiles via
A little chettinad in your bedroom via

I quite fancy turning my living room, which is really the ‘relaxing room’ into a little ‘Chettinad’. Will share if and when the project happens! Will have to have a good think about finding a place for that stunning pillar…No stress, I will get the answer and so will you…

Until then, happy decorating, people!

XO, Nupur


Cover image: via

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  • Worth full information. If shops where we could buy Karaikudi doors are also included , it will be useful for us who wish to buy antique doors.

  • Hi
    Nupur just saw your Blog on Chettinad.I am doing up my flat in Bangalore on a budget so am trying to get chettinad doors & knick knackss from the source & dont mid travelling there.Can you please direct me to any contacts who will help me .Thanks

    • Hello Asha,

      Thank you for your email. We believe that the best place to get authentic, traditional chettinad doors and other antiques would be from the antique market in Karaikudi. You will find smaller dealers selling traditional doors, that have been used in homes before as well as bigger shops. Give yourself a couple of days to visit the area and pick for your home. Unfortunately, we do not have specific contact names. Our friends whom we referred to in the post bought their finds from the antique market itself in Karaikudi.

      All the best for doing the interiors for your new home. Do look at pinterest for more inspiration.

      Best wishes,

      Shilpa & Nupur