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The Southwestern Design Style

As the name suggests, the Southwestern design style originated from the southwestern part of the U.S. Described as earthy, desert-inspired, and wild west, this design style has three stories:

• The story of the Native American tribe of Navajo.

• Spanish settlers in the southwest.

• Missionaries and ranchers who settled in the area.

The Navajo tribe is known for their handmade arts and crafts, such as woven baskets, blankets, and handmade pottery. The Spanish settlers then came in and used locally available materials such as adobe and clay to build their homes.

Lastly, when ranchers settled in the area, they used materials from the farm to decorate their houses, such as cowhide rugs, leather fabrics, and hammered metal accents. The present Southwestern design style incorporates all these styles to give your home a rustic yet beautiful look.

Southwestern Style Architecture

The architectural designs used in the southwestern design borrow from the traditional houses built by Native Americans and Spanish settlers. They are likened to the Santa Fe-style houses that use locally available building materials.

  • Buildings have wooden ceiling beams

  • Thick stucco walls that are painted white

  • Traditional building techniques using adobe, clay, and hammered metal

  • House porches that reflect Mediterranean and Spanish cultures

  • Traditional fireplace with an adobe surround

  • Rustic railings and rounded masonry

Southwestern Materials

Native Americans and the Spanish settlers who lived in the southwestern region of the US used the available materials to build their homes, furniture, and decor. These materials include adobe, clay, hammered metal, and natural fiber. Layered textures are also common in this design style, which gives a home depth and beauty.

  • Adobe walls and red-clay floorings

  • Wooden ceiling beams to support Asphalt shingle roofing

  • Hammered metal accents

  • Clay decorative tiles in the kitchen and bath area

  • Heavy wooden furniture with mixed wood finishes

  • Woven rugs with geometrical patterns

  • Leather upholstered furniture

  • Wooden coffee tables and side cabinets

Southwestern Colors and Finishes

Do you love desert-like themes? The earthy color palettes such as mahogany brown, turquoise and the color of sand are common in Southwestern design homes. The earthy colors give homes a relaxed feel and the minimal pairing with bright colors makes a home color balanced. Some of the common color palettes in this design style include:

  • White walls

  • Mahogany

  • Brown

  • Cactus green

  • Caramel

  • Sky Blue

  • Bright colors are incorporated in small quantities, such as yellow throw pillows, bright green curtains

Southwestern Furniture and Decor

One of the groups who propagated the southwestern design styles were missionaries who settled in the Southwestern US. They were minimalists with rustic wooden furniture and handmade decorative pieces. The native Americans still make their popular handcrafted decors such as pottery, mosaic paintings, woven baskets, and Navajo rugs.

  • Mainly wooden furniture through the modern couches can be upholstered with natural materials such as leather

  • Clay pottery which you can use to grow houseplants, especially succulents

  • Woven wall hangings

  • Mosaic paintings

  • Turquoise jewelry

  • Woven rugs and quilts

  • Cowhide rugs

  • Longhorn skulls hang on the walls

  • Ram's horns

  • Souvenirs collected from Southwestern visits

Southwestern Lighting

Lighting is a crucial part of any design style. The lighting in the southwestern design style is relaxed, eclectic, and expressive with a touch of the southwestern landscape: picture chandeliers and pendants with expressive colors and hand-glazed table lamps to pay tribute to handcraftsmanship.

  • Iron light fixture hanging at the center of the living room or above the dining table

  • Colorful pendants and decorated chandeliers

  • Hand-decorated lamp shades

  • Wall-mounted sconces

  • Amber mica lamp shades

The easiest way to incorporate this style in your home is by sticking to the textbook characteristic, then rely on the regional details for fine tuning.

Whatever you do, remember that simple and classy served up the American way is the bedrock of the entire design.