Ethnic style is known by a number of different monikersu2014world decor, global design, and tribal chic, just to name a few. It crosses continents effortlessly and is influenced by some of the most exotic destinations in the world. While many tend to lump u201cethnicu201d into a singular style, each culture should be appreciated for its unique history and traditions.
Sub-Saharan Africa is incredibly diverse with an abundance of traditional designs, colors and textiles. The part of the continent that lies south of the Sahara Desert offers a wide variety of decorating choices that tap into the regionu2019s rich tribal cultures and unsurpassed natural resources. From Botswana to Tanzania to Ghana, thereu2019s a wealth of tradition, color and materials from which to draw.
It is difficult to categorize tribal African style and with so many choices, it can be equally difficult to narrow down your options. A good place to start is with fabrics and furnishings that have a close association to flora and fauna. Graphic animal prints are always a great option paired with the color palette of native vegetation. Never underestimate the role of indigenous fabrics in ethnic style. They are not only striking; they also provide insight into tribal art and history.
For the purpose of interior design, Asian style includes elements from both Japan, China and to a lesser degree, Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Indonesia. Whichever region you choose, balance is one of the main design principles you will encounter time and time again when planning your Asian-style room. You not only need to create physical balance with furnishings, you also must create visual balance through color, texture and light.
Natural plants and Asian floral arrangements inject a space with texture and artistry. Shoji-style window shades provide privacy and rice paper lamps give rooms a soft glow. Add depth and rich color by introducing a lacquered chest, table or cabinet into the design. Antique wooden benches, beds and screens impart a sense of history to your interpretation of Asian style. While we often associate bold colors like red, yellow, gold and black with Chinese style, organic hues such as brown, cream, green, tan and gray are also common colors in Asian design, especially in Japanese interiors.
India is a country rich in style, color and texture. Indian culture is vibrant, colorful, rooted in ancient tradition and has provided inspiration for interior designers for centuries. India is home to some of the most exquisite textiles in the world and its du00e9cor is brimming with detailu2014from intricately embroidered silk curtains to carved mahogany and ivory inlay tables.
Color is everywhere in India. The vivid colors of traditional embroidered saris and the rich hues of spice markets can infuse a room with energy and life. Dark woods like ebony, teak and rosewood are crafted into rustic, oversized furniture pieces. Find balance by pairing a heavy coffee table with an upholstered bench sofa. Create a cozy grouping by adding low seating and colorful accent pillows.
The festive colors, patterns and textures of Latin America are perfect for creating a casual and fun mood in any room. The overall aesthetic includes textured rugs, serape prints and rustic, hand carved wooden furniture. Picture a Spanish colonial dining room dressed in native textiles in shades of bright blue, green and red. Add pieces of Mexican dinnerware to your dining room and kitchen or Central American pottery adorned with a lovely floral motif. Neutral artisan floor tiles anchor the space while soft yellow and terra cotta accents round out this cheerful color palette.
Not all Latin American accessories feature bold colors. Consider items with traditional patterns and graphic prints in dusky tones of red and turquoise accented with warm colors found in the high desert. An elegant and sophisticated Latin American look is created with minimal furnishings and subtle color, punctuated with a large artisan furniture piece as the roomu2019s focal point.
Moroccan style is rich with Moorish influence from Iberia, Malta and Sicily. It is a hot, parched country situated between the Sahara Desert, Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Its people specialize in intricate motifs, which are featured on their rugs, woodwork, tiles and pottery. Deeply hued fabrics are deferential to the ancient designs and traditions of one of the worldu2019s oldest cultures.
The sheer number of elaborate patterns in a single room might seem overwhelming to the Western eye. Conversely, a floor covered in ornate Zellige tiles and offset by lofty cream walls, creates an elegant countenance. Add traditional low, modular benches and round tables surrounded by ottomans, floor cushions or poufs to provide additional seating. Colorful Kilim rugs, pierced metal lanterns, oversized urns and mosaic-framed mirrors create the ultimate Moroccan getaway.