When you think of the Southwest, what do you think of? Deserts, cactus, saloons? Well, Southwest style decor can actually combine these visions into a single decorating style. If you’re wanting to use a Southwestern decorating theme in your home, a living room or den is a great place to use it. The bright colors and patterns are conducive to conversation.
When you are looking to use this style, you first want to think about what colors you want to be most prominent. Reds, oranges, yellows, and greens are traditional Southwestern colors. You may want to paint the room a deep turquoise and use throw rugs, maybe even some from a nearby Native American reservation, for the floor. Colorful rugs can also be used as wall hangings. Many reservations still make these types of rugs by hand, so you can purchase authentic rugs at a reservation or online. The rugs are generally striped, and you want to use one that has all the major colors in your room on it.
After you choose a wall color and some throw rugs or blankets with your colors, then you can begin looking for furniture to either match those colors, or fit the overall decor theme you’re creating. You may find that this is your biggest challenge. My suggestion would be to find a slipcover that would match your colors so that you do not have to purchase a new couch, and if you ever want to redecorate you will just need a new slipcover. Tan colors work well if you use brightly colored pillows or you could choose a red or yellow slipcover for your sofa and chairs. Dark woods look good in a Southwest style room; you will probably want to distress the wood so that it looks older, adding a more authentic touch to your room. Rustic, cabin-style furniture and accessories tend to go well with the Southwest Style decorating theme too.
Finally, you will want to choose matching accessories. For each of the major colors in the rug, you’ll want to have two to three items of a similar color around the room; otherwise, the color may look random and not mesh with the rest of the room. Additionally, you will want to have wooden pieces and tan pieces to break up the bright colors of the Southwest style. Ivory and turquoise pieces will also make beautiful additions to the room.
Southwest style has a bright, cozy feel. The colors are warm, earth tones so guests tend to feel welcome and you feel comfortable. Rooms in this style tend to be good for playing games or talking; the colors stimulate action and conversation, so be sure to use this in a room where you truly want that atmosphere. Find authentic Native American pieces when you can, and use desert photographs to decorate the walls. Your creativity will help you envision hundreds of ways to decorate your room in the Southwest style, and each will be interesting, invigorating, and beautiful.
2005, Kathy Burns-Millyard.