5 Interior Design Styles From Around the World
1. Moroccan Style
Many ethnic groups have called Morocco home. Their various influences merged into a dazzling, distinctive style of decor. From Ancient Rome comes the craft of tile-making. Vividly colored ceramic tile mosaics are a Moroccan specialty.
The Moors introduced Arabic art. Geometric designs and marquetry--elaborate inlaid wood patterns--are a few of their notable contributions. Graceful rounded archways echo throughout the interior in wood panels, tapestries, and the very structure of the building.
Indigenous Moroccans, called Berbers, are nomadic people. They weave kilims (wool rugs) and recline on stacks of floor cushions. Their appreciation for nice fabric shines through in modern design. Flowing jewel-toned drapes and countless cushy pillows adorn the traditional Moroccan-style home.
Altogether, modern Moroccan interiors are luxurious without being stuffy. Bold burgundy, cobalt, orange, and hot pink lend a joyful atmosphere.
Wabi-sabi is more than a Japanese interior design style. It is a philosophy that draws inspiration from the tenets of Buddhism. Perhaps it's fitting that "wabi" and "sabi" don't translate cleanly into English, as wabi-sabi celebrates the beauty of imperfection and impermanence. The strongest visual examples of wabi-sabi are found in Japanese pottery. A bowl that appears plain and unrefined, its glaze corroded, expresses nature's transformative power with melancholic simplicity.
How does this apply to interior design? Think rustic--but without all the heavy tartan throws and mounted deer heads. A wabi-sabi interior is light and spare. It features asymmetrical decor, crude textures, and earthy colors. Natural light is essential. Plants like the gnarled bonsai tree complete the aesthetic.
Don't conflate wabi-sabi design with stark modernism. The former has a deliberately worn, lived-in quality that recognizes Mother Nature as the ultimate designer.
3. Havana Style
Havana, Cuba was once known as The Paris of the Caribbean. In the 1930s, tourism in the Cuban capital exploded. Marinas, clubs, hotels, and casinos blossomed, and the city gained a reputation as a fashionable metropolitan area with a vibrant, exotic flair.
Havana haciendas combine Spanish opulence with Art Deco ornamentation and Afro Latin influences. The mishmash works. These interiors come alive in highly saturated hues: turquoise, pink, gold, chartreuse. The steamy climate requires materials that are cool to the touch. Terra cotta tile and intricate ceramic mosaics coexist with wicker chairs and ornate chandeliers.
Today, Havana's interior design possesses a romantic faded glory, as if trapped in the mid-century amber. Its unusual influence has spread around the world. Designers achieve the Cuban effect with brilliant colors, vintage pieces, and spacious layouts that beckon a siesta on a sensuous summer evening.
4. Scandinavian Style
Sweden exported its design philosophy to the world via IKEA, the multinational home goods giant that sells build-it-yourself furniture. Since then, Scandinavian interior design has been trending. Its impact can be seen everywhere from stylish city lofts to Instagrammable cafés.
The hallmarks of the Scandi style are rooted in practicality. Clean white walls keep homes looking bright and feeling spacious during long, dark northern winters. Cozy knit textiles provide much-needed warmth, usually in the form of a sheepskin throw rug. The Scandinavians eschew fussy throw pillows and blankets. Floors, walls, furniture, and even children's toys are made of unpainted wood. Light, warm-toned woods like white pine, birch, and ash fit the look.
Above all, Nordic interiors are clutter-free spaces. They are monochromatic, minimal, and natural. Students of this interior design style praise its calming effect.
5. U.S. Colonial Style
It took a while for the first New England colonists to develop their interior design beyond basic functionality. As Puritans, the colonial-style kitchen avoided frivolous details within the home. Slowly but surely, the American Colonial style came into its own. Today, the descendants of this early decor are called "shabby chic" or "country-style".
When you examine these surviving elements, you can recognize their colonial heritage. Plain, heavy furniture made of dark wood contrasts with whitewashed walls, emphasizing solid craftsmanship. Heating and cooking took place in large brick and mortar fireplaces, over which iron utensils were displayed.
Colonists drew inspiration from the European styles of the day. They covered furniture in imported English damasks, Indian calicoes, and needlepoint cushions. French toile wallpaper caught on a little later. Patterns were all over the place: handwoven stripes and plaids, flowers, birds, anchors, and more. This jumble of prints fell out of fashion for a while, but it has been revived for quirky, charming interiors.
Busy mixed prints have a trendy dowdy-chic appeal. But the strategic use of floral wallpaper can also add vintage beauty to a room full of imposing Colonial-era furniture. Staples of the Colonial color palette--red, navy blue, dove gray--are associated with modern nautical-themed design.