Moroccan Interior Design
A blend of African, French, Indian, and Spanish styles, the decor of Morocco, also known as Marrakech, is dramatic, elegant, and supple. It’s about gorgeous colors, comfort, and exuding an inviting and relaxing atmosphere where all are welcome. Moroccan homes are interior oases from the desert heat, created by combining all the design elements taken from the melting pot of the region's cultures.
This exotic, almost mysterious style started to influence the West in the 1960’s. As American society was going through a cultural upheaval in every aspect, U.S. travelers who visited the country brought back this opulent style which was so completely different from the mid-century modern aesthetic that had carried the nation for quite some time. It was an embrace of freedom from conformity, allowing more flow and sensuousness into the household with the luxuriousness of Morocco’s bold colors, fabrics, and patterns.
The traditional curved doorways and arches, as well as the Islamic keyhole design, are some of the most recognized elements of Moroccan architectural style. These Moorish arches are sculpted into pointed, rounded, or lobed shapes and are featured in every home. To bring this detail into your space, without having to implement a construction project, use furniture, shelving, or storage units that emulate this curved style.
To really begin bringing in the Moroccan style, it comes down to color. Rich vibrant color. Colors that are bold, reflecting the surrounding environment of north western Africa, which is the desert and the ocean. You can bring in these colors in two ways: with dynamic wall paint or by adding colorful decor against neutral foundations of white, tan, or sand.
- Reds and oranges
- Earthy hues
- Jewel tones
- Gold and silver highlights
Set the foundation of your Moroccan style with flooring options found in this region.
- Terracotta tiles
- Dark wooden flooring
- Detailed tile work
- Layers of color-packed Moroccan rugs
One of the artisan crafts Morocco is well known for are their Persian rugs. Quite distinctive in their abstract and geometric patterns, these rugs are intricate and ornate, although more solid patterns are available in every shade of the rainbow. Vintage Moroccan rugs have a history woven in by weavers of these tribal carpets. Finding these gems in vintage and second hand markets is a true victory as the feeling that comes from these pieces of history is challenging to replace. But modern throw rugs following this style can be just as stunning and more easily acquired.
LOW FURNITURE ARRANGEMENTS
Some of the key features of Moroccan inspired furniture are:
- Low seating- piles of pillows, comfy ottomans, shorter sofas
- Tables- low to the ground
- Elaborate metal work
- Ornate wood carvings
- Patterned upholstery
The overall goal is one of socializing in comfort. Tactile sense is important, from plush pillows to support guests while dining, to the textural feel of the carpets under bare feet.
Other furniture pieces can be very detailed with intricate patterns from top to bottom. The negative spaces created by carved wooden furnishings demonstrates how ornately these pieces can become.
Fabrics for window coverings are flowing, luxurious, abundant in detail.
Morocco is famous for their tile work featuring geometric designs. These stunning tiles can work well in any room of the home and on several different surfaces:
- Details around doors
- Fireplace accents
- Kitchen backsplashes
- Small alcoves
Inspired by the insular and romantic look of the Moroccan hookah rooms, a trending inclusion in this design style are overhead canopy additions. Finer fabrics such as silk or lite cotton work best when creating this themed look.
Another recognizable feature in Moroccan interiors are the lanterns, lamps, and hanging pendants made with colored glass and carved metals. Hung in clusters or as larger statement pieces, this style of lighting adds a sensuous atmosphere with its soft glow and shapes of shadows it projects on to surroundings. All manner of metals are used:
And then crafted into highly intricate designs.
Mirrors are wonderful decor tools to make statements, to reflect natural light back into a room, and to expand spaces. Moroccan themed mirrors are intricately sculpted from wood, or feature ornamental wrought iron details, or match the arched and dome-shaped curves that are found in Moroccan doorways and other architectural accents.
The craft and skill of Moroccan metalwork has been passed down from generation to generation. These intricate metal accessories are found placed as accents in most rooms of the home. You can see this traditional artwork in the metal:
- Dining and kitchen ware
- Serving trays
If you have the square footage, inside or out, carving out a space for a Moroccan themed courtyard will bring the heart of the country into your home. These courtyards, called Riad (Arabic for ‘garden’), traditionally started with a water fountain surrounded by lots of greenery. The concept was to keep cool air circulating in these hot climates. It was also a place to give Muslim woman some freedom and privacy. Modern versions of riads have ponds, swimming pools, or play areas.
Touching another of the five senses, why not add some rich scents of Morocco to your home as well. Bring this exotic culture to life by lighting some incense, diffusing essential oils, or burning some scented candles in flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and citrus.
Moroccan inspired interior design is extremely grounding, embracing, and sensual in a way. This style feels calming and welcoming, creating a sort of indoor paradise and tranquil oasis from the chaos of the outside world. Though it is more thought of as a bold and dramatic style, you can easily tone it down and just bring in some of the elements on a more subtle level. Moroccan decor is diverse and will add a touch of warmth to almost any decor style you are working with. Again, it always comes back to personal preference. There are no rules when it comes to finding a design style that brings you joy.
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