Decorating Guides

Southwestern Home Interior Design Ideas


The Southwestern style primarily reflects the environment and heritage of Arizona and New Mexico. Natural elements and colors and accents motivated by the Spaniards, Mexicans and Native American Indians are identifying from their style. Broad courtyards, open floor plans and flat roofs and gardens are hallmarks of a Southwestern home.


A Southwestern home utilizes subdued colors that reflect the area’s surrounding mesas. Earthy tones in terra cotta, tan, brown, cream and white set the platform for the bright pops of colour brought in through plants and Native American Indian–inspired colours and fabrics. Azure is a highly effective color with the Native Americans, and its reputed forces to ward off bad spirits make it a popular color for exterior doors and windows. All colors reflect colors found in nature, like slate blue, forest green, salmon, mackerel and yellow.


Minimalism is a distinct characteristic of the Southwestern style. Furniture should be easy, unpretentious and produced from natural elements. Rough-hewn wood with decorative carvings, natural cloth coverings and leather are all acceptable options for the furniture. Pillows on the floor or hammocks at the courtyard offer alternate seating arrangements. Rooms need to have a natural flow and feeling of distance. Pull the furniture out of the walls and concentrate on creating small groupings to make better use of space.


A conventional Southwestern home is made from adobe, and inside walls are plastered over the adobe. Smooth rock or stucco may be utilised in its place. Hand-painted tiles give color and warmth to the otherwise drab walls, and therefore are often used to insure kitchen backsplashes or as individual beams throughout the house. Murals depicting spiritual stories and rituals or mirroring their environment are generally seen in the Native American culture. Cover 1 wall with a mural on your largest room to create a colorful focal point.


Terra cotta tiles, generally honey-colored, are the most common flooring material in Southwestern decorating. Add visual interest by organizing them in square, brick or lozenge designs. Light hardwood flooring or parquet can be acceptable, especially demanding, wide planks. To get a more colorful approach, lightly colour the wood floors using a cobalt blue dye, making sure that the grain stays visible. Stone and brick might also be used throughout the house without sacrificing style. Scatter Native American Indian rugs throughout the home in traditional colors and designs to brighten up the rooms.

Decorative Accents

Use natural accents to decorate your home in Southwestern style. Paintings aside from murals are not usually used, but are acceptable if the topic reflects the natural environment or a Native American theme. Wrought iron, candles, dried blossoms, blossom pottery, sculptures and animal skins are all acceptable decorative accents.

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