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Create a lush tropical tablescape with expert Lalima Chhabra

  • Table Décor
Aug 03, 2022
engaging table décor

The set designer and stylist on her professional journey, and ideas for creating engaging table décor

If you are guilty of often sneaking into a reverie on a busy day at work hoping your fantasies could become real, you will relate with our current guest stylist. Meet Lalima Chhabra who makes her fanciful musings into a reality. With a background in Psychology and over six years of a full-time corporate job with Harvard business publishing in India, she started her career as a consultant. One would think she switched out of frustration, but she surprises us. “I loved my corporate job! In fact that’s what gave me the stability to try my hand at set design in parallel,” she says. She worked on several set design projects as a freelancer post that and realised her creative side.

When asked to describe her category of work, she delightfully lists out her multidisciplinary interests. “I really struggle with labelling myself,” she confesses. Be it floral installation, table styling, interior decoration or set design, she does it all.

Recently, she launched her personal brand, ‘Figment by Lalima’ to showcase her work.

Q: How did you start with ‘Figment by Lalima’?

A: When I started set design, my friends would often ask me for advice on how to put things together or where to source things from for their homes. People wanted to know how I transformed any particular space and what went behind the scenes of each project. So I took this as an opportunity to create a dedicated platform where anyone could come and take what they're looking for. My page on Instagram is my take on sets, spaces and flowers. And since I have always been a big daydreamer, most of my ideas come from figments of my imagination. I built my personal brand around it and named it ‘Figment by Lalima’.


Q: What is your process from idea to execution like?

A: The idea is the biggest starting point for me. For example, maximalism or tone on tone. That defines the base of any project for me. Once that is in place, I move to referencing. This comes from the various interactions I have, be it ideas online, coffee table books, or art accounts on instagram, I choose what works best for my theme. Then I put everything on a mood board. This step grounds my concept and helps me narrow down my direction—I can pick up colours, textures and elements based on this. And then it is all about bringing it to life.

Create a lush tropical tablescape with expert Lalima Chabbra

Delhi based artist Lalima Chhabra creates aesthetic spaces with multidisciplinary approaches.

Q: What makes your work unique?

A: I don’t have a background in design. I spent hours studying flowers and how to style them right. The same goes for my knowledge in set design, which I mostly learnt on the job. With every project I have this one component at the centre of things—the openness to learn. 


Q: What does space styling mean to you?

A: I think space styling is a form of storytelling for me. Something as simple as hosting a dinner at home, can be executed in various ways. For example at my home, for all festivals I always have a theme—it helps me tell a story of that festival, with the colours and elements that hold significance. Similarly when I am styling a space I am helping a director or a homeowner tell their tale. What do the residents in the space like, the choice of colours or the heritage they come with. 

engaging table décor

An abundant tropical atmosphere is created by adding a dramatic floral installation at the centre of the table. invited Lalima to conduct a table styling workshop for us at the latest Colour of the year launch by Asian Paints. With a tropical theme she set up a beautiful spread of accessories, in interesting layers. “I wanted to bring in the true Indian aesthetic to the table, which is often confused with traditional. I believe in bringing different things together and making them work in a fun way”, she says. The table is decorated dramatically with floral arrangements and bold pairings of materials and colours. She used the colour of the year, Transcendent Pink, in the form of napkins and flowers giving it a playful vibe. “Always keep two sentiments in mind while styling any space; playfulness and abundance. When you do that, you will make the most of your own style rather than trying to replicate a western or restrictive technique”, advises Lalima.

Take a look at the table styled by her!

In connection with Colour of the year launch by Asian Paints

Each setting is layered with multiple plates and topped with a napkin in the colour of the year. A lemon with a name card adds a personalised touch.

lush tropical tablescape

Add décor accessories that hold relevance to the theme.

floral arrangements paired with bold colours

Layering the table with different materials and heights makes it visually interesting. The fruits and flowers bring in an organic texture, while the reflective surfaces add dimension. The softness of fabrics help balance the look.

dramatic décor

A patterned table runner creates an interesting base for the setting and sets a fun tone for the rest of the set up.

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