Tamil Nadu Traditional House Designs

Tamil Nadu is home to a unique cultural and linguistic heritage that reflects in the traditions, clothing, food, and even in their homes. In this article, we’ll look at the typical elements in a Tamil Nadu traditional home so that you can re-create a similar effect in your home.

Traditional Tamil Nadu Homes Architecture

Older Tamil Nadu homes are usually roofed with red clay tiles, arranged in two levels – one for the porch and the other for the rest of the house. The roof is supported by terracotta pillars with intricate carvings and reliefs.

Older Dravidian style houses have influences of towering temple gopurams and huge temple complexes. They have a central courtyard surrounded by a few wings of rooms that open into the courtyard. Entranceways are usually tall, arched or ornately decorated.

In the Agraharam style of architecture, rowhouses line both sides of the street leading up to a temple (forming a garland around the temple). The road acts as a communal space for the entire Agraharam. The rooms inside each house followed a linear plan, in contrast to courtyard houses, all connected by a side passage. Tiled roofs would have glass tiles to let sunlight in (skylights).


The entrance to a traditional Tamil Nadu home is flanked by terracotta pillars or an ornamental archway. Today, you can buy traditional wooden carved pillars from stores and get them installed in your home for a traditional look.



Wooden Swing and Furniture

Wooden swings are a classic feature of Tamilian homes. Get yourself a simple or carved one to spend your leisurely mornings and evenings listening to music.

wooden swing

Athangudi Tiles for Flooring

Use the beautifully patterned and vibrant Athangudi or Chettinad tiles for your flooring. They are made mainly in and around Athangudi village of Chettinad in Tamil Nadu. Athangudi tiles are cement tiles handmade over glass surfaces. They also have the advantage of being cooling in summer and warm in winter.

Athangudi Tiles

Spacious Verandahs with Built-in Seating Areas

You would often find communal areas for conversation and activities in Tamil Nadu homes. There would be a low parapet wall in the verandah where family members meet neighbours over casual chats or just a sip of hot filter coffee in the mornings.

In your home, if you have the option to make structural changes, opt for a large balcony or verandah. Build in a window seat indoors or a relaxed balcony seating with a granite or marble slab.

tamilnadu home balcony

Tamil Nadu Artwork

Almost all Tamil Nadu homes celebrate their collection of Tanjore paintings. It is a classical south Indian art that started in Thanjavur or Tanjore in Tamil Nadu. They feature Hindu religious subjects and is distinguished by its gold coating.

You can buy a few classy pieces and mount them up on your living room wall with proper lighting to make stunning wall décor.tamilnadu art

Natural Materials

To bring in the rustic, earthy look keep a few of your brick walls exposed. Wooden shelving and vintage artefacts will look lovely against an exposed brick wall. Try unpolished cement floors in your bathroom, balcony, and outdoor patio.

Use jute rugs on the floor, and natural fibre pouffes to create lounging nooks. Use bamboo drapes to adorn your windows.

Add plenty of metallic elements – copper and steel bowls in the kitchen and dining room, brass flower vases, bronze door handles, and so on.

natural material


Plants are a common feature of Tamil Nadu homes. So, grow plenty of them outdoors and arrange a few artistic terracotta sculptures around your garden to complete the look. Keep plenty of smaller plants indoors as well. Grow some elegant creepers and climbers inside your home too.

greenery in tamil nadu homes

Traditional Furnishings

The state has several weaving communities each specialized in a different type of textile – Kanchipural silks, Madurai Sungudi, Thanjavur Thambais, Woraiyur handlooms, and plenty more. Weavers and textile designers take inspiration from the murals of famous temples like in Tanjavur, weaving in temple motifs into the fabric.

For your home, tailor-make furnishings like curtains, throws, pillow covers, bedspreads, or rugs using some of these traditional textiles.

traditional furnishing ideas

Musical Instruments

Tamil Nadu has a musically rich culture where children and adults of almost every household learn some form of music or at least appreciate some form of music in depth.

If you are a musician or even a budding one, proudly display your instruments as one among the décor elements. Give your harmonium, veena, violin or guitar a pride of place on the wall. Or lean them against the wall in a special nook of its own.

musical instrument as wall art

Earthy Colours

Tamil Nadu traditional homes are a study in warm earthy shades of red, yellow, orange, and green. Of course, other colours would find their way in, but you would notice a predominance of these colours in older homes, especially in their wall colours.

An exposed brick wall can frame all your wooden furniture and wood-framed artworks beautifully. Even if you have a neutral base for your home, you can add pops of earthy rust and oranges in the form of table and bed linen, cushions, or drapes.

earthy colours

Are you now inspired to redo your home with traditional Tamil Nadu house designs? HomeLane can help you build the home of your dreams – just contact us, and our expert designers will soon get your plan rolling. If you want to check out some of the homes where we have incorporated traditional elements in our customers’ homes, visit HomeLane.

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