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"Good design is food for the soul," says Airbnb host Shan Bhatnagar

(Photo: Pexels)

Giving guests an authentic modern Indian experience

By N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe

May 27, 2023 (IANSlifeOne of the most important aspects of transforming a house into a home is interior design. In most situations, the design and small details that we add to our collection tell a lot about a person's personality. It is the small details, such as door knobs, window panels, and the colour of the cabinet and chairs that determine whether we want a space to be cosy or focused on the task at hand. 

World Interior Design Day, which is observed annually on May 27th and is organised by IFI (International Federation of Interior Architects/ Designers), emphasises value to people's well-being. IANSlife speaks with Airbnb host Shan Bhatnagar, who is an interior designer by profession and has worked with a diverse range of clientele, including the royal families of Jaipur and Udaipur!

Read on to find out what he has to say on his journey as a host and an interior designer:

Tell us about your journey as an interior designer.

Shan:  I'm a self-taught artist and Interior designer. I studied Business and economics at the University of Maryland and then moved back to India, worked in the corporate sector and then gave it all up to paint and pursue my passion for design.


What does "World Interior Design Day" mean to you?  And what message/ tips would you like to give our readers?

Shan:  I feel that good design is food for the soul! It becomes a part of overall wellness when you surround yourself with a well-designed, well-lit, beautiful space. World Interior design day means celebrating all of that! It's acknowledging the need to plan a space and do full justice to it whether it's minimalist or maximalist, modern or classic. My tip for our readers is, to stay true and convinced about the language you follow in design and always be a little flexible to incorporate clients requirements without compromising on the overall aesthetic you aim to achieve.  


What is your takeaway from working closely with the Royal Families of Jaipur and Udaipur?

Shan:  It is amazing to work with both of these families. I've learnt a lot from these experiences. They are the most humble people and are extremely artistic. To work on palaces, one has to learn to balance the old with an undertone of modern equipment and hardware.


What are some interesting artefacts you've acquired from around the world? And the reason for it.

Shan:  I love collecting Indian antiques. Bronze, brass, deepams, idols, mukhlingas, and miniature paintings are all things that really excite me. 


How many of your properties are you hosting on Airbnb? How does each residence provide a unique experience from the other?

Shan:  At the moment we host two Airbnb homes in Jaipur. We love hosting, and meeting people from different nationalities. We aim to give our guests an authentic modern Indian experience of how we actually live. We help guests with recommendations for where to eat, shop, party like a local and hence ensuring that their experience with us and Airbnb is wholesome.


How has your experience been with Airbnb in terms of hosting your abodes? Do share an interesting anecdote (if any) from your conversations with guests you have hosted.

Shan: There are so many good experiences with guests and so many repeat guests, that they have become like our family, and we look forward to hosting them each time. Some of them have attended our family weddings and other occasions as well!




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N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe can be contacted at