How to Design Pooja Rooms

Updated March 23, 2017

In Indian tradition, a pooja room, also known as a puja or temple room, stood in the garden. Now, you can design a pooja room inside the home, typically in a more remote space and sometimes in the basement. For people with tight floor plans, a pooja cabinet or shelf serves the same purpose as a pooja room, to display icons that inspire you to meditate, pray, chant or engage in other religious rituals.

Situate the room in accordance with tradition. If possible, a pooja room should not adjoin rooms that see frequent everyday use, such as kitchens and bathrooms. A pooja room should feel tranquil and remote, so try to place it in a quiet part of your home. The northeast corner of the home is associated with good fortune and prosperity.

Paint a pooja room in pleasant neutrals. Soft white, pale yellow and barely blue create a meditative atmosphere.

Display statues and images of icons and deities in the pooja room. Most people use pedestals, altars, shelves or stools, covering the surface with a swatch of cloth, velvet or an Indian textile. You can invest in a carved wooden shrine, or an elaborate brass shrine for a more formal pooja display. Ideally, the idols should be lightweight, unbroken and under six inches tall. Indian religious tradition warns against displaying more than one image of the same deity.

Adorn the icons, taking care not to cover representations of their faces. Instead, scatter flowers, flower petals, beads and shells on the cloth around the icon. You can hang miniature garlands of flowers, pearls and beads around the bases of statues.

Place small bowls, plates, incense burners and silver containers near the images of deities. You can burn candles, oil lamps and incense sticks or cones while in the pooja room. Use the bowls and plates to place water and sweets in front of the deities. Keep your containers stocked with sandalwood, camphor, candles and water.


Keep your pooja room clean and free of clutter.


Do not place photographs of dead people in a pooja room. Do not hang bells from the ceiling of a pooja room. Instead, hang miniature bells from shelves or niches inside cabinets.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Shelf
  • Candles
  • Incense
  • Icons
  • Adornments for icons
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About the Author

Nina Makofsky has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. She specializes in art, pop culture, education, travel and theater. She currently serves as a Mexican correspondent for "Aishti Magazine," covering everything from folk art to urban trends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.