Cox and Kings Blogger Challenge: Indian Inspired Bedroom

A few weeks ago, travel company Cox and Kings set six bloggers a challenge – to create an Indian themed room. We had a budget of £250 each to spend and a few weeks to transform a room.

As my previous posts described, I chose to attempt my spare room, which was seriously in need of some attention (you can see all the ‘before’ photos here), but as a reminder, this is what it looked like:

Bedroom in need of decoration
Bedroom before the challenge

It’s been a really fun challenge (what’s not to love about shopping and decorating?!), so many thanks to Cox and Kings for the chance to take part.

After all the work shopping, planning, making and decorating, it’s now time for the big reveal – so, voilà, here it is!

Indian bedroom decor Indian bedroom interior design idea

Indian interior design ideas

As of Monday 12 March, voting opens on the Cox and Kings Facebook page, where you’ll be able to see all of the bloggers’ Indian themed rooms and vote for a winner.

If you like my room transformation, I’d very much appreciate a ‘like’ on the Cox and Kings Facebook page ( on one of my photos!

Voting runs from 12-25 March, with the winner announced on March 26.

Products bought with the £250 budget:

1. Red, gold and tiny bit of jade sari, £16.99 from Ebay

2. Montreal double duvet cover set in red and white, £37 (comes as set of two, or ‘buy one get on free’, as they say) from Very

3. M&S Jacquard patch cushions, £21.50 for six on Ebay

4. Decorative fretwork effect square panels, £7.59 for set of four from Ebay

5. Cut-out metal two tier pendant lamp shade, £14.99 from Dunelm Mill

6. Next cutwork metal table lamp (new), £22.90 on Ebay

7. Fair Trade red and gold sari picture in a reclaimed gold frame £32.50 from Furniture Divas

8. Gold taffeta sequinned and embroidered curtain panels £8 per panel from Wilkinson total £16

9. Another set of decorative wall panels, £7.59 for set of four from Ebay

10. Set of six red and gold tealight glasses, £4.00 from the Wessex Cancer Trust charity shop.

11. Recycled aluminium small red elephant made in India, £4.50 from The Style Room & Café

12. Medium colourful elephant, £8.50 from The Style Room & Café

13. Red glass vase, £15 from The Style Room & Café

14. Burnt orange fair trade round recycled enamel candle holder, £14 from The Style Room & Café

15. Small metal and red glass lantern, £8 from The Style Room & Café

16. Jade green glass fluted goblet vase, £3.99 from Oxfam

17. Red ceramic Buddha wall art, £10 from Very

Incense – free with the sari!

Total cost: £245.05

The lowdown on my Indian themed room

My mini ‘theme within a theme’ was fretwork and fabric.

I love Indian wooden fretwork and elaborate wooden panels on walls and found lots of images in my research of wooden panels above beds in bedrooms – an effect I was keen to create. I also love the colour and designs of Indian fabrics, especially the rich colours and decorative embroidery.

In terms of colours, I was tempted to go with greens and blues, as I saw some nice pieces in those colours whilst doing my research. But in the end it was the rich hues of red, gold and burnt orange that won!

I used an Ideabook on Houzz to keep track of all my ideas and, in particular, the prices of everything, as it’s amazing how costs add up and how quickly a budget of £250 can go. With careful shopping, and by using a mix of authentic Indian pieces and high street products, I’ve managed to stretch the budget relatively well.

Bedding and sari bedspread

Cosy indian bedroom Traditional Indian sari fabric

My first purchase was the sari, which I found on Ebay. I’d sussed out prices elsewhere and some saris are quite pricey, so it was kinder on the budget to buy it on Ebay (it was new).

I initially had other ideas for it, and had planned on purchasing a hand-block printed Indian bedspread for the bed, but when it arrived and I saw how nice it was, I decided to make it into a bedspread instead.

I needed other red-ish bedding to go with it and found loads of nice authentic Indian options but, again, a lot of it was pricey, so I turned to look at high street options with a flavour of India instead.

I eventually came across the Montreal duvet set which was reasonably priced at Very and suited the bill well (I did order the matching cushions too, which were not so good and got sent back pronto). The bedding has three rouched strips of shades of red at the top, with matching pillows, and works well with the sari bedspread.

As I like the Indian style layering effect of lots of fabrics on the bed, I’ve paired the bedspread up with an old table runner that I already had. Although I previously used it a lot, it’s been redundant for the last five years or so, but went well with the colours and has a suitably faded Indian look to it.

Indian style cushions

Indian cushions and bedding

I love cushions so it was only natural to want to make full use of cushions on the bed! Again, I found loads of lovely authentic Indian cushions in some gorgeous designs and there was a big choice available.

I came across the patch jacquard cushions on the M&S website, where they’re priced at £29.50 each, and thought the colours and designs would work well with my plans for the room. Just on the off-chance, I had a quick look on Ebay and lo and behold, someone was selling them – not one cushion, but a set of six!

I put a bid on and managed to get the set of six cushions for £21.50, which was a total bargain (I would never have bought six at £29.50 each from M&S). They’ve been used for six months and are still in great condition.

Having not properly measured the size, I assumed they’d be small-ish (head rest size), but it was a pleasant discovery when they arrived to find out how big they really were – almost pillow size. I’ve used five of the cushions on the bed, plus used the extra one on the storage box I already had in the room to create a little seat.

Indian bedroom decor ideas

The one extra red cushion on the bed was one I already had but, like the table runner, it had been consigned to the loft for the last five years. It’s a red silk cushion, which was originally from Laura Ashley, and I couldn’t resist adding it in!

Gold panel embroidered curtains

Gold embroidered panel curtains Affordable curtain ideas

With regards to the curtains, I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough budget left to purchase any, but needed something more appropriate for the room. After a lot of searching and debating what colour to go for (I had initially thought red) I found these gold curtain panels at Wilkinson – somewhere I’d never normally have thought to look for curtains.

They were exceedingly well priced at only £8 per panel and are lovely. The gold sequins and embroidery on the top of the panels glitters and shines effectively when the light is on. Being gold and lighter than the previous curtains, they help add more light into the room as a whole. I’ve used some gold ribbon to tie them back, but they also look fine without a tieback.

Indian-esque fretwork wall panels

Indian wooden fretwork wall panels

In general, most large Indian wooden panels are rather pricey (I did find one option that would have fitted the budget, but it was located too far away and posting was out of the question), so I came up with idea of creating something that mimicked the effect of Indian fretwork, but at a fraction of the cost.

After a lot of searching, I eventually found the panels on a US website. Tracking them down for sale anywhere in the UK was a bit trickier, as nowhere seemed to have them, but I finally found some available on Ebay. They come as a set of four, with clips that you can use to clip them together if you wish, and were highly affordable at only £7.59 for four!

At first, I only bought one set to use on the wall, then later realised they’d also work well to create a fretwork effect on the bookcase, which was otherwise decidedly un-Indian. I had a bit of a palava with the second purchase, as they cancelled the order and said they were out of stock and only had another design available. I decided to risk the other design and re-ordered them and, thank goodness, they turned out to be identical to the original panels!

As the walls in the bedroom are covered in woodchip (hate it!) and it’s a nightmare to get off, it wasn’t an option to wallpaper over it. I didn’t want to paint over it either, as darker colours tend to highlight the woodchip even more. So using the dark fretwork over the white walls seemed like the perfect solution and has created a decorative feature on the wall.

After a lot of fretting (!) over wall and fretwork issues, I’m really pleased with the end result.

Indian inspired lamp and lighting

Indian home lighting ideas Indian inspired lighting

Both the overhead pendant lamp shade and the lamp tie in with the fretwork theme.

On my first research trip, I’d found a lovely fretwork-ish lamp at Bhs, the Henna cutwork lamp, which was gold ceramic. It was lovely and reduced a bit from it’s original price of £75. I didn’t buy it then, but when I went back to get it, it had sold out and was no longer online either (in true annoying fashion, it later came back into stock online, but by then it was too late!).

After more lighting searches, I came across the pendant light shade for £14 at Dunelm Mill – another very affordable purchase.

I searched everywhere to find something similar in a lamp and eventually had to turn to Ebay again, where I found this fretwork lamp (it was originally from Next and was still new in the box). As we didn’t previously have a bedside lamp at all in the spare room, this is a good addition.

The overhead cutwork shade creates a wonderful effect on the ceiling when it’s on and helps pick up the sequins in the curtains, and the beside lamp casts patterns on the wall – I love them both.

Indian art

Indian Sari wall art picture Indian sari picture wall art

In the course of my early research, I’d found some nice canvas prints of Indian fabrics and had planned to order one. However, by the time I got back to doing this, they were no longer available, so it was back to the drawing board again. The second idea was to buy some Indian fabric and frames and make my own wall art, but then I found a sari picture for sale online at Furniture Divas.

They had a Fair Trade purple sari picture featured on their website and, on a whim, I emailed late on a Saturday afternoon to ask if, by any chance, any of the purple pictures had a bit of red in them. Yvette replied quickly, then kindly took the time to send me some images on the Sunday – and it turned out they had a red and gold sari picture that wasn’t yet listed on their website. As it was the perfect colours and ready made, with a nice gold frame made from reclaimed wood, I ordered it. It’s absolutely perfect for the room and looks great hanging on the wall.

Buddah wall art Cosy Home Indian bedroom decor

The red ceramic Buddha tile was very much a last minute purchase, as when I put the room together I realised I had one hook left with nothing to go on it, but a limited budget left, so this fitted the bill!

Indian style home accessories

Indian bedroom accessories Indian home accessories

Elephants from The Style Room & Cafe

The Indian inspired accessories to complement the room were all bought last and it was great fun choosing them all. They’re a mix of new and secondhand, as I found a  few apt items in charity shops. The set of six red and gold glasses/tealight holders were ideal for the theme and the fluted jade green vase/goblet was the perfect colour to match with the tiny element of jade flowers in the sari design.

I bought quite a few items from The Style Room & Café – they had a lovely selection of products and it was a tough choice! In the end I went for the red glass vase to use on the windowsill, along with a Fair Trade recycled aluminium burnt orange candle holder, two cute elephants and a small red and bronze lantern.

The other couple of items in the room were all things I had already – the small brass bowl was in there before, the Indian soapstone candle holder hidden on the bookcase ties in with the fretwork idea (it was originally from Traidcraft) and I used a silver tray to arrange the candle holders on (I kept use of my own items to a minimum, as the challenge was primarily focusing on what you could do and buy with £250). The incense was sent free with the sari.

I’m pleased with how everything has come together and the room is looking so much better than it did before. Rather than wanting to shut the door on it and not look in there, I now want to put it good use!

I feel like I’ve ‘won’ already by being given the money and the chance to shop and decorate, so I almost keep forgetting there’s a competition element to this challenge, too. All the Indian inspired bloggers’ rooms will be featured on the Cox & Kings Facebook page from 12 to 25 March, where you can vote for a winner.

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