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Decorating: Southwestern Styles Overview

Southwestern design encompasses many styles from the region with a range of colors and decor options

The southwest style encompasses several facets that are indigenous to this area of the United States. It is influenced through Mexican, Native American, and even Cowboy/Cowgirl Americana.

Colors can be reminiscent of the desert or the mountains and themes will range from adobe to fishing lodge to Mexican market. This brief overview will give you an idea of some aspects of Southwestern style.


Native American/Adobe

Adobe, cactus, yucca, and geometric patterns are all part of the Native American Southwestern scheme. Pastels range from rusty to peach to turquoise to cranberry accented by blacks and browns. Clay pots are the perfect decorative item. A saddle blanket, kokopelli switchplates, and baying coyotes can easily complete the theme in a small room. If you're brave, add a skull or two.

Modern additions include chili pepper adornments of all kinds from ceramic ristras to party bowls and tablecloths.

Mexican/Hispanic Heritage

Picture a hacienda and decorative touches of Guadalajara and you'll begin to build your Hispanic Heritage theme. It is based on old-style traditions of hand-carved furniture and religious-themed art and icons. Terracotta tiles and grand arched entryways make a definite statement.

Decor can include Mexican folk art and native materials; doodads - or chacharas - are often placed in niches and are out of the way. The perfect focal color may be a tomato-based red that best describes Mexican tiles. Cobalt blue is a traditional color as well. Copper will fit into any Mexican-themed home.

Cowboy/Cowgirl Americana

Spurs and saddles and early bunkhouse bring visions of cowboy/cowgirl Americana style. Cast iron lamp stands and end tables and wood floors bring the wild west to a home's interior. A lodgepole bed is bold enough to hold its own amongst other treasures, such as big floral drapes and tapestried cushions. Add a feminine touch such as an eyelet comforter to tone down that cowboy spirit. Colors can include a wide range of browns softened by buttery yellows and green accents.

Rustic Lodge

A home filled with antique fishing gear and memories of years gone by of vacations to the mountains of the southwest endear this style to many home decorators. It's all about plaid, old lures, and a wall-mounted antique oar or two. It is reminiscent, too, of flavorful and hearty stews and crusty home-baked bread. Hunter green, black, sold reds accent the main plaid pattern.

Rugged furniture in naturally dark tones and heavyweight cushions can be focal points while floral decor is limited to cedar boughs and willow twigs.




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