Interior Design – Inspired by the Southwest

//Interior Design – Inspired by the Southwest

Interior Design – Inspired by the Southwest

Southwestern interior design features, are distinctive, ethnic styles, that are very warm and inviting. It is a decorative compilation of Native American and Spanish styles, which are the environment and heritage of New Mexico, Spain, and Arizona natives. The Southwestern style is a traditional infusion, consisting of color, woods, metal details, and decorative accents.

Southwestern interior and exterior home decorating characteristics, includes flat roofs; large, open floor plans; extensive courtyards; high ceilings with exposed wooden beams; spacious foyers; and beautiful, lush, colorful arid style gardens.

Let’s look at some key traits of the Southwestern interior design fusions:

Color Usage

There is a legend, that color was introduced by the Spaniards, who believed it would ward off evil spirits. The bold, bright colors of the Southwestern style are drawn from the land, such as cobalt and turquoise which matches the sky, with yellows and oranges found in desert plants. Southwestern interior paint colors are extremely bold and vibrant, yet warm, in its prominence on walls, hand-made tiles, upholstery, tapestries, and unique accessories. The Southwestern interior paint colors of orange, red, gold, yellow, blue, and desert toned neutral hues, are fundamental in its traditional accent, like those of American Indian blankets. See the turquoise blue door image and how amazing it looks next to the earth tone or use a bright red color to highlight a particular area.

Prominent Types of Wood

Pine, oak, maple, birch, Cherry wood, and hickory, are some of the wood species that are used throughout rooms that are Southwestern design-inspired. Due to the sturdiness and thickness of their nature, furnishings are constructed with thick legs, and eye catching accents. They represent the wood, which is a study in quality and history, which were used in old churches, buildings, and haciendas. The foothills, mountain ranges, and high plateaus of the high Rocky Mounts in New Mexico and Arizona, yielded much of the wood used by Spaniards to create their amazing furnishings. The wood species have kept their own distinctive coloring, but for added Southwestern coloring, you can find painted wood furnishings, like tables and armoires, in white, cream, red, lime green, and cobalt blue. Remember to keep wood tones, warm and resonant.

Metal Detailing

The influence of the 18th and 19th Century Southwestern style, is also earmarked with wrought iron and other metals, used as decorative elements. To get the right Southwestern interior decorating style for your dream home, you can find crown details on cabinets, furniture, and wall art, including metalwork in shelf brackets. If you have incorporated hand-painted and hand-crafted pottery into your Southwestern interior design, image placing its colorful beauty on your own wrought iron stand in the corner of your room.


Why not mix upholstery finishes and textiles, to give your room an eclectic, vibrant punch. Even plain, antique, primitive, or simple Southwestern walnut or cherry wooden furniture, looks fabulous in leather, suede, or woven materials. How about distressing your furniture to make it look old by simply lightly sanding its painted surface, so that the initial finish shows through. Also, try using a small hammer, a covered meat tenderizer, or a short chain, to create an elliptical dented surface and an interesting pattern, followed by applying a paint finish that crackles the paint to reveal the wood beneath.


This is where you can have fun and give your Southwestern theme the perfect touch. Original Southwestern walls were made of adobe, stucco, or smooth stone. Innovative paints, wallpapers, and textured techniques can give homeowners the same effect today. To further enhance your wall, use picturesque murals that depict spiritual rituals or stories which mirrors the Native American culture. Use large wall murals in large rooms, to create a much talked about, colorful focal point.


Use your artistic inspiration in creating your Southwestern inspired flooring, by using honey-colored terra cotta tiles. Arrange them in various layouts, like square, lozenge, or brick. Added Southwestern flooring can include parquet, stone, and rough, wide planks, which will not distract from an original Southwestern interior decorating style. For a distinctive colorful appeal, use a lightly colored wood floor, with a cobalt blue dye and a visible grain running through it. As an additional feature, scatter Native American Indian, patterned rugs throughout your home, to brighten up each room.

Decorative Accents

In addition to wrought iron as a traditional decorative accent, add candles, dried flowers, sculptures, animal skins, bleached bones/skulls, picturesque tiles, throws, Kachina dolls, light fittings, and pottery pieces. Wall paintings other than murals can also be used, if it reflects the natural environment of the Southwest or a Native American subject. Also, accent your furnishings, with dark colored cast ironmongery in the form of ornate knobs, pulls, handles, and door hinges.


Spanish inspired mosaic tiles have a long standing history in Southwestern interior decorating. In using hand-painted tiles as part of your ongoing Southwestern theme throughout the home, use them as a kitchen back splash, tabletops, wall art borders, like around a fireplace, or piece them together as a mural. Hand-crafted and hand-painted tiles are the key details in Southwestern interior design, much more than machine crafted ones. Mexican tiles are traditionally infused with intricate, colorful designs that can be matched to any Southwestern décor. With innovative arts and craft tools and equipment, you can also make tiles a DIY project.


Indigenous pottery pieces are another Southwestern component, especially in terracotta, mainly found in rust-orange coloring that represents the setting of the sun. The creation of pottery shapes and sizes, are an amazing creation of a traditional art form that stemmed from its clay preparation, modeling and shaping, sanding, smoothing, slipping, firing, and polishing. It doesn’t matter whether you use pottery in its natural state or hand-painted, this decorating item is always an integral element in Southwestern design motifs.


Southwestern interior designs, known for its Native American and Spanish details is full of energy, warm, and a hint of natural ruggedness. Modern Southwestern palette decorating designs are both contemporary and traditionally ethnic. The Southwestern style is still a popular décor that allows homeowners to think outside the box with sophistication, personality, and a heritage style, that is part of the cultural history of the United States.



By | 2017-04-11T18:57:44+00:00 February 13th, 2017|News & Media|0 Comments

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