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Whether you are looking to breathe new life into your own designs or you have a client requesting that you produce something in a style you are unfamiliar with, learning how to incorporate design features from different cultures into your work will enable you to take your designs to the next level.
Look to Architecture
If you want to get an idea of the kind of shapes, colours, and patterns that define the look of a particular culture, you can often tell a lot by looking at their architecture. In many cases, although not all, the interior look will reflect that of the buildings themselves.
Embrace Hybrid Styles
If you want to give yourself a bit more room to experiment, you should consider choosing styles that combine multiple influences together. Below are some examples of hybrid styles from different cultures and how you can adapt your designs to embrace the best parts of them.
Historically, Morocco has been a cultural crossroads. Situated at the very tip of north Africa, Morocco is separated from Spain by the Gibraltar Strait. As a result of its unique location and the centuries-long tussle between Christian and Muslim armies for control of Iberia, Morocco’s interior design style is one that is influenced by a number of sources but entirely unique.
Moroccan Splendour is all about warm colours, but the emphasis is on geometry rather than colour. Pay particular attention to patterns and textures and don’t make one aspect more prominent than another. If you want to create a true Moroccan look, use a low-height coffee table with cushions around it and invite your friends.
Spanish Revival combines elements of both Mediterranean and African styles to give an appearance that is both homely and sophisticated. Spanish-style interiors lean heavily on warm colours such as reds, oranges, and yellows. Another hallmark of the style is the use of exposed brick brushed plaster and other textured surfaces.
Spanish interiors have long been among the personal favourites of the best interior designers in the world.
Scandinavian interior design is all about combining functionality and comfort while emphasising the natural world. Scandinavian chic has achieved mainstream success in recent years and its minimalist component has been carried over into numerous other styles.
If you want to invoke this look, keep your walls to a neutral tone while using furnishings that are soft in colour. In particular, baby blues, light pinks and yellows will all stand out without being overpowering.
Japanese design is built around simplicity and makes extensive use of natural materials and colours. The result is a peaceful style that is built around light wooden colours. Traditional Japanese homes make extensive use of bamboo and other woods in their construction; these woods are left to show their natural colours.
There are few other colours used in the Japanese style, but when they do appear, they are beige, brown, and other natural shades. These colours appear on non-wooden surfaces.
Once you have familiarised yourself with a few different cultures, it becomes much easier to begin mixing up your original designs. You will have new inspirations to draw on and an understanding of design principles that you would otherwise not have encountered.