Moodboard Monday: Southwestern Interior Design Style
Our approach to design centers on curating residential interiors that beautifully reflect what’s most important to our clients. Whether it’s places they visit, their art collections, or heirloom furnishings, these treasured memories define who they are and who they want to be. We thoughtfully incorporate these elements into our designs so the home is entirely theirs.
When our clients came to us about designing their second home in Santa Fe, we knew it was going to be full of personality. The husband hails from Santa Fe, attended college there, and still has family living in the area. The city means a lot to them, and they have deep ties to the landscape and culture.
As we began the design process, it was important for the design to capture the genuine spirit of Santa Fe. The homeowners desired a vibrant, collected, culturally-inspired space that represented the city through its design. Our design team researched the history and culture of the area extensively to come up with their design concept.
Today, we are revealing a new southwestern style home on the portfolio inspired by the colors of a New Mexican sunset.
The History of Santa Fe
Founded in 1610, Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the US. The Native American inhabitants referred to it as “Dancing Ground of The Sun” because of the majestic mountains and picturesque sunsets. As the city flourished with people coming to settle in the west, Anglo, Spanish, and Native cultures collided. The unique blend of people, talents, and experience created what early frontiersmen called “The City Different”. The city’s fascinating past and unforgettable present make Santa Fe one of the country’s most interesting cities.
Southwestern Interior Design Style and Motifs
Recalling the beauty of desert landscapes, the southwestern style is warm, inviting, and full of energy. Incorporating weathered woods, leather, and wrought iron gives it a hint of rugged appeal. The unique patterns and artisan-made accessories evoke a sense of place, creating a space that’s cozy without being too polished.
Southwestern Inspired Colors
Bright, bold colors are characteristic of the southwestern design style. Believed to protect them from evil spirits, Native Americans and Spanish embraced color. Traditional color palettes resemble the colors of the earth. Oranges and yellows reflect the desert, while turquoise and blues reflect the sky. These vivid colors activate the rich, warm earth tones. The combination is welcoming and pleasing to the eye.
Southwestern Tribal Prints and Patterns
Tribal prints and patterns pay homage to the people and cultures of the city. They bring a beautiful touch of color and interest to the design. These bold prints are on everything from decorative pillows to rugs and wall hangings.
Materials of Southwestern Style
The Spanish were the first Europeans to settle in Santa Fe and their style influenced much of the region’s design. The surrounding landscape provided plenty of wood for constructing buildings and making furniture. In the southwestern design style, many furnishings like tables, chairs, and accent beams on the ceiling are wood. Practical and durable, Spanish-style homes often use terracotta and clay tiles on the floor. Common floor arrangements in the southwestern style are lozenge, brick, and square.
Decorative, hand-painted mosaic tiles are key details in the southwestern interior design style. They’re often seen in kitchens and bathrooms as backsplashes, tabletops, and murals. Metal detailing plays an important role in the southwestern style. These decorative elements can be traced back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Metal embellishments on cabinets, shelf brackets, and railings are typical.
Distressed leather, suede, and other woven materials are signature fabrics of the southwestern style. The first Americans settling in the west were mainly ranchers. Animal hides and leather were readily available and commonly used in homes. Brightly colored woven tapestries, like striped serapes and Navajo rugs are iconic elements of southwestern design. These versatile pieces can be used as wall decor, blankets, or rugs.
The Native American tribes of the area contribute many arts to the southwestern design style. They’re known for their basket and rug weaving, as well as artisan pottery. The traditional pottery art form uses terracotta, which represents the setting sun. Cacti and succulents in decor honor the region’s most iconic plant. Ivory animal bones or bleached skulls are another popular element of southwestern design.
Southwestern Inspired Color Palette and Themes
From the distinctive Spanish-Pueblo architectural style to the spectacular views, Santa Fe is rich with design inspiration. The city is famous for its mountainous landscape and rich, rusty hues of burnt sienna and clay. To reflect the colors of the sunset against the landscape, we brought in vibrant yellows, oranges, and reds to the design.
The homeowners embraced themed rooms. Working with the wife’s unique vision, we created plans for each space. The southwestern inspired interior includes a:
- Sunset Room (master bedroom)
- Teepee Room (media room)
- Lobo Room (guest room)
- Saints Room (guest room)
This collaborative effort was the driving force of our design. The wife was very hands-on. You’ll see this home’s interior is deeply personal and special, honoring the landscapes, history, and culture of Santa Fe.
Sourcing and Installing a Southwestern Style Home
Whether we’re working on international or domestic projects, managing the logistics of an project from out of town requires a unique process. Stay tuned to find out how we sourced and installed this out-of-Houston interior design project.