In the 1980s, a Southwestern decor craze swept the United States, bringing the look of this unique slice of the American frontier into homes from Oregon to Maine and beyond. While the howling pink coyote that characterized that trend has since been relegated to the dustbin of design history, an updated, sophisticated look that combines unique ethnic and cultural elements with a more contemporary decor approach has emerged as a more refined alternative for lovers of Southwest style.
Across the board, the kitschy interpretation of regional trends that characterized home design in past years has been discarded in favor of a more subtle evocation of the unique attributes that make places like the Southwest so irresistible.
Gone are the chili lights and cow skulls that represented clumsy attempts at Southwestern decor in the past. Todays sophisticated alternative combines contemporary and transitional furniture and design elements with a subtle Southwestern palette and unique, understated ethnic touches.
Shimmering shades of light teals and turquoises, coral, terra cotta and adobe-inspired tans provide the backdrop for eclectic furniture with distressed finishes and primitive details. Bold accent colors drawn from the dramatic natural palette of the desert Southwest are also important.
Art, accessories, and accents bring a lively sense of place to Southwestern interiors. Paintings, pottery, and sculptures featuring Hispanic or Native American themes and subjects are common, as are indigenous pottery and artifacts.
Roughly textured fabrics and textiles also provide a level of heightened authenticity in this decor style. Architectural details that mirror those found in many traditional Southwestern dwellings, such as arches, kiva fireplaces, and plastered walls, can also help complete this look.
Window treatments should be minimal, drawing on natural materials or regional textiles whenever possible. Whether you want to honor your Southwestern heritage or you just crave a little extra spice in your life, Southwestern decor presents an easy-to-achieve alternative to ho-hum interiors.
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Article Added on Monday, September 18, 2006
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