Get The Look: Draw Inspiration From Bomti Iyengar’s Home For A Truly Extraordinary Crib

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Art dealer and collector Bomti Iyengar’s colonial home, tucked inside the 136-year-old grand edifice of the Metropolitan Building, is like a narrative that transports you to an antiquarian world. We couldn’t help snapping up the gorgeous decor ideas.

A Dramatic Entrance

The green wooden corridor that snakes around the building ensnared us within its belly, leading us to Bomti’s door. It was like a warm-up  to the cosy space ahead. The corridor had a gorgeous play of indoor plants and wooden chests topped with unique pottery, figurines and jars. Pick up Bomti’s tip and team indoor plants with beautiful flower vases and flowers to add character to your corridor. A great place to pick up indigenous figurines would be the handloom stores in Dakhsinapan or New Market’s Chamba Lama. Look at our recommendations on these places here, and here. For artificial flowers head to New Market’s flower market or the handicrafts melas that are held yearly in our city.

Try Some Floorscaping

Cross the high French doors and you will see that he has merged the contemporary with antiques really well. The high ceiling and the abundant space of this old colonial home makes for a perfect art-gallery-cum-home set up, but you can adapt the aesthetics to fit into any contemporary, less spacious space. One of the tricks we picked up was to let floors make a statement using rugs and carpets. You can pick these up at Dakhinapan from the Kashmir Government Arts Emporium or at various Handloom Emporium outlets. You could also try the carpet market in Burrabazar (Jamna Lal Bajaj Street) for a lower price range.

Get The Antique Look

Bomti has used a lot of antique wooden furniture and you can take a leaf from this for your living room. Small table trunks, side tables, recliners or chairs can add an elegant element to a contemporary space if placed thoughtfully. The filigree-worked wooden Kashmiri table trunks, chests, boxes or stools are perfect to add some character.

Once again, you can pick up all this at the various state emporia at Dakhinapan, at Fabindia stores and also the Central Cottage Industries Emporium near Esplanade. A more well-kept secret is, of course, picking antique fixtures from Kolkata’s Gopal Nagar. Get more deets on where to pick up vintage and contemporary furniture here, here and here. Hit up the auction shops of Kolkata on Sundays for some serious antique finds. Read about them here.

Brass It Up

Another décor idea that can give your casa a striking look is the use of brass objets d’art. From lamps to figurines, plates and chests — these add an eclectic touch to your crib. Check out the store Rakesh’s at New Market for a wide variety of brass objects to pick from. Alternately, visit Poompuhar at Dakshinapan or Cottage Industries for a good range to choose from. You will also find good brass at the old shops on Rabindra Sarani or CIT Road and near Kalighat temple. The Kamala shop at ICCR sometimes has a good stock of brass items, check it out here.

Deck Up The Walls

Bomti, an art dealer, curator and interior decorator couldn’t stress more on the awesomeness of wallscaping. From paintings to photographs, plates and wall hangings, wall montages can transform the complete look of a room from meh to awesome.

Bomti’s is an art gallery-like colonial home, and in keeping with this tone he has wallscaped his rooms and corridor with minimalist paintings, masks, plates and wall hangings — all arranged into a montage with ample breathing space to avoid a cluttered look. Check out the Biswa Bangla stores for different types of masks from across Bengal, from papier-mâché-based Chhau to the wooden Gambhari and Bagpa. CIMA art gallery, Kamala at ICCR {check it out here}, Byloom, Deshaj {read about this store here} and several state emporia at Dakhinapan also stock masks.

While his wall montages are mostly done in ceramic plates, you can also try using enamel plates which are readily available at Aranya in Dakshinapan. Explore the crockery market in New Market to pick some beautiful ceramic and bone china plates. Visit Rajasthali for blue pottery plates and the Central Cottage Industries Emporium for marble ones.

You can also put up paintings and photos. Arrange them from edge to edge or just casually assemble them into a montage, paintings are great modes to individual taste and ideas to a space. While Bomti himself curates new artists and masters like Paritosh Sen, MF Hussain, Asish Gupta, and Partho Ghosh {these are on sale by appointment}, you can also pick up indigenous art from the melas or from the art galleries around the city. Get more deets about the city galleries here.

Some of the cafes in Kolkata have begun showcasing upcoming artists. Check them out here and here.


When investing in wall and floorscaping, don’t forget to take care of lights because good lighting is key to a good setting. With art and curios lining most of Bomti’s walls, he has made good use of table lamps to add the best light accents and play up certain spots. So, ditch the bright white ones and get some cool floor and table lamps from Mahal Lampshades (on AJC Bose Road), Fabindia or Aranya to set the right tone to your space.

The Aavenue 48 store in Keyatala has some great options in lights. Check it out here. We found a tiny store near New Market that has a range of lampshades at pocket-friendly prices, check it out here.


Sticking to white, nude or beige walls are a great way to add breathing space when the décor accents are bright and colourful. This way you don’t veer into the cluttered zone at all.


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