When you’re decorating your home, you probably don’t want it to look like any other house in America. Whether you’re a world traveler or an appreciator of culture, you can bring the best of global décor into your home. With these five styles, you can assign a country to each room or mix and match aesthetics for an exotic, worldly feel.
1. Turn your regular kitchen into a French country kitchen
You can easily turn your regular kitchen into a French country kitchen. The room should feel warm, so use wood for your furniture and smooth creams and yellows for your color scheme. With floral textiles, you’ll be ready to live off of baguettes and fancy cheese.
2. Emulate the style of Louis XIV
For a living room area, try emulating the style of Louis XIV. Louis was known as the Sun King, so it’s no surprise that his Baroque style is one of grandeur. When decorating, choose furniture with ornate carvings, rich silks, and lots of gold. Gold colors, gold accents, and even a gold chandelier will achieve the gilded Versailles look.
3. Incorporate ruffles where you can
The key to decorating in a French style is elegance. Incorporate ruffles where you can, bring in furniture with distressed woodwork, and use a mix of energetic and monochrome colors. Soft lighting and patterned fabrics will complete the look and bring that look of sophistication into your home.
4. Create a colorful work of art on your walls
One of the staples of Latin American décor is colorful walls. Instead of being a solid-color perfectionist, use your walls as a blank slate to create a work of art. Peruvians can create stunning wall murals out of pebbles, seashells, and pieces of glass. If you have a small bathroom, make the mural wrap around two walls to take your visitor’s attention away from the size.
5. Decorate with rich, bold colors
The people of Latin America have a rich heritage, and the colors you incorporate should be just as rich: rich magenta, deep yellow, deep red, rust brown, etc. This is not the time to be subtle. You rooms should shout with vibrancy!
6. Incorporate archways into your home
Forget the cookie-cutter doorways of the American home. In Latin America, homes feature hand-carved arches. The curved design is distinctive and creates an openness between two rooms, creating one bigger, friendly space.
7. Use dark metal/iron accents
Just as the Baroque style has gold accents, the Latin American style is not complete without dark metal/iron accents.
8. Turn a sari into a bedspread
While Indian saris are famously beautiful dresses, you can also take one home to use as a bedspread! The sari is usually six yards long, so it should fit over any sized bed.
9. Incorporate Indian block-print textiles in your sink
Even your bathroom can benefit from global influences! Give a nod to the outdoor fountains of an Indian courtyard with a soapstone washstand, marble shower and wall-mount faucet. For the sink, incorporate Indian block-print textiles.
10. Include bright colors and gold accents
Indian design includes bright colors like oranges, reds, bright blues, and gold accents. Anytime you can incorporate these colors with arched furniture, you’ll be bringing a bit of Indian design into your home.
11. An Indian trunk is a great addition to any room.
The trunk can be used as storage space, but it’s so much prettier than a plastic bin. Hand-carved and ornately decorated, you can buy a hand-painted trunk that’s as charming as it is compact.
12. Add a touch of amethyst to your walls
Amethyst walls are the perfect color to add an exotic ambiance while bringing a burst of Indian color into the room.
13. Don’t make the mistake of making thinking African means “safari.”
You don’t need giant plants to achieve an African-themed room. Instead of a leopard-print bedspread, try decorating the room with wood carvings of animals, like lions.
14. When decorating choose soft, earthy colors.
Browns, khaki, black, and dark orange are colors seen in a lot of early African art.
15. Decorate with clay pots
Some of the most beautiful artwork from Africa is its clay pots. Women have been shaping and decorating their own clay pots for centuries and using them to store water and cook food. You, however, can buy these brightly colored pots to decorate an entryway to your house.
16. Take out your regular ho-hum windows and install jalousie windows!
The parallel glass in a jalousie window will filter the light coming into the room for a distinctive Middle Eastern feel
17. Stain the moldings and your floor a deep, dark brown
Sometimes it’s not just the furniture you put into a room, but the overall feel that makes it exotic. Staining the moldings and floor a dark chocolate will reflect the darker wood found in the Middle East.
18. Design geometrically
The Spanish Alhambra Palace is a good example of how the Moors incorporated geometric design into their architecture. Instead of including human likenesses, they preferred bright colors and intricate patterns in their art, which you can incorporate in your tiles, stonework, or sculptures.
19. Add an ornate afghan carpet to your room
A hand-woven afghan carpet is a gorgeous addition to any room. The rugs are some of the most distinctive of all oriental rugs and often feature elongated human and animal bodies on a red background. An afghan carpet usually comes in a medium size to fit any floor space, and you can buy carpets made by exiled Afghan weavers online.
How to incorporate your own travels
20. Pick an empty wall space and hang up hats you’ve collected from around the world!
A bush hat from Australia, a Spanish Montera, a bowler hat from Bolivia, and a Moroccan fez will make a great wall display.
21. Show off those shells you found across the world
Collect freebies: save those seashells from Zanzibar and glue them onto a picture frame, then add a photo from your trip! If you gather feathers from waterfowls in Zambia you use them as accents on your mantle! (Just make sure whatever souvenir you take home is legal – some countries have specific laws on what you can and cannot take from the wildlife!)
22. Take home marketplace treasures
Buy hand painted tiles from Mexico and take them home for a DIY project – they’ll add gorgeous color to your kitchen.
23. Buy maps of your favorite places that you’ve traveled and pin them to your walls
Voila! Instant wallpaper! And it tells a story: when you invite friends over you can point out exactly where you’ve been.