In the 1880s and 1890s, British officials worried that traditional Indian design was disappearing in the face of rapid westernization. But their idea of what constituted ‘traditional’ design was itself new, forged first at international exhibitions and then in the context of Indian artisanal and consumer experimentation with novel combinations of foreign styles and objects. Indeed, it was the latter which prompted British art officials in India to call for a return to tradition. But traditionalism in design was not just in reaction to Indian cosmopolitan tendencies; it tried to achieve its own, slightly different cosmopolitanism by Indianizing western forms with the application of pure Indian ornament. I argue that it was in the intersection of these competing visions - Indian and British, metropolitan and colonial - of how to use and fill homes with new goods that a new definition of Indian traditional design emerged in this period.