Interior design is all about celebrating cultural diversity and embracing trends from across the globe. Whether it’s the rolling sands of Morocco, the religious elements of Arabia, or the simplicity of Japan, there’s so much to learn from each design style.
Keep reading to discover key themes of the Moroccan, Arabian, and Japanese interior design styles, and keep an eye out for the elements you love and use them as inspiration for your next design project!
Moroccan Interior Design
Moroccan interior design draws inspiration from elements of the rolling sands of its deserts and the Moorish design of the region. It encompasses fluid lines and plenty of colour and texture. The interior design reflects the rich cultural traditions and history of Morocco, making it stand out amidst other design styles. Moroccan interior design is often featured by arched doorways, detailed carvings, and vividly-hued fabrics.
The colour palette celebrates a vast array of bright colours, such as royal blue, fuchsia, deep purple, and bright red. Other more neutral shades are also found, particularly those inspired by the desert. These include beige and taupe.
Credit: Design Cafe
Texture is particularly famous in Moroccan design. Contrast can be created by pairing rough stucco walls with smooth bedding — or furry rugs with velvety sofas. However, it is helpful to note that textiles are typically flowy and smooth. Silks and drapery sheers are two common examples in this regard.
Another significant design element in the Moroccan interior design style is the horseshoe arch — celebrating Moorish design, which also gives it the name “Moorish arch”. It is characterised by round arches on top of narrower doorways or by simply engraving the shape into the background of the space.
Credit: Mimar Interiors
The furniture items of this style have a very sophisticated presence (with elements such as pearl inlay and wrought iron scrollwork) and are set relatively low to the ground. Additionally, Moroccan lighting focuses on lamps and pendants creating a dimly-lit ambience. Using candle lights for a romantic touch is also a common practice.
Credit: Design Cafe
Arabian Interior Design
The Arabian — or more commonly, Arabic — interior design style is all about extravagance, mystique and luxury with a dash of fantasy. It draws inspiration from Islamic architecture and decor, whilst also borrowing ideas from the surrounding Mediterranean region. The Arabian design style focuses on religious elements more than the Moroccan style. It also uses more elaborate lighting fixtures, giving the interiors a more traditional touch than their Moroccan counterparts.
The space layout in Arabian interiors should be welcoming and comfortable. This means seating areas are grouped together. This helps encourage conversations and contributes to a friendly environment whilst also avoiding static silence. Such a concept also supports the Arabic mindset of entertaining and prioritising family and loved ones. Closely tied to this is the concept of creating a focal point, such as the television or fireplace, and building the rest of the decor around it. Remember, choosing the correct focal point makes all the difference!
Credit: Al-Shamaa Al-Hallaj
The colour palette comprises warm and luxurious hues (learn more about warm versus cool colour tones here). For example, creams and other warm neutrals, whilst greens and blues are also commonly found.
The walls of the Arabian design style are particularly interesting. Intricate wallpapers are allowed to create a statement, whilst portraits with verses of Arabic written can be found in almost every room of the home.
Credit: Islamic Metal Wall Art
A wide range of textiles are used; from heavy drapery and Persian rugs to tapestries and bolsters, everything that diversifies texture is welcomed. Furniture pieces are decorated with carvings and have a highly traditional appearance. Fun fact: Furniture was introduced in this design style not too long ago — floor seating had been the norm earlier! Metal accents and decorative lighting are other common elements of purely Arabian interiors.
Credit: Joanna Tate
Japanese Interior Design
Japanese interior design is known for its simplicity and connection to nature. Clean and uncluttered living, order, balance, and ancient history characterise this style. The colour palette is calm and neutral, featuring whites, light beiges, and browns.
Natural materials are famous in Japanese interiors. These are incorporated through stone, wood, and glass. And, of course, plants. Japanese plants, such as Bonsai trees, are particularly famous.
Natural light is also celebrated in Japanese interiors. So, large, floor-to-ceiling windows are used with minimal window treatments, ensuring the interior is well-lit by sunlight during the day. Sliding doors are also found in homes that allow views to greenery and gardens.
Credit: My Feeta
Japanese furnishings are simple, featuring clean lines and a minimalist build. They are typically set low to the ground. Handwoven straw mats, soaking tubs, and little to no clutter are integral parts of the Japanese interior design style.
Credit: Indigo Plaza Deco
Decorating your interior is a tedious task — and getting inspiration from design styles from around the world can make it fun and exciting. Whether you admire one design style or different elements from various styles, our series on celebrating cultural diversity has you covered. Stay tuned for more styles from around the world!
Need some help to define your style and translate it into your space? Just book one of our Interior Design Gurus here! They can look at your space over video chat and give you tips, ideas and guidance on how to achieve an interior that you love.