Get the Look: Southwestern Style

By Sklar Furnishings

Design Inspiration, Tips & Trends

June 6, 2017

Southwestern is a relaxed interior design style that can be dressed up or down, and expressed traditionally or with a contemporary twist. It originated in Arizona and New Mexico, and draws its cues from both the region’s desert surroundings and its rich indigenous heritage. The versatility of Southwestern style is part of its appeal; its proudly American roots and homely charm also help explain why Southwestern furniture and decor keep cycling back into fashion.

The typical Southwestern color palette combines shades of brown and terracotta with turquoise, orange and perhaps a hit of peach or green. Colorful fabrics in striped or geometric patterns are an essential element; think area rugs, throw pillows, serapes and tapestries. Textures are rich and lived in, rather than sleek and shiny; handwoven baskets, leather, and raw wood cut in a way that showcases its natural shape are all fantastic Southwestern elements. Harking back to the days of ranching, animal hides, sheepskins, antlers and cow skulls will lend a kind of earthy authenticity to your Southwestern space. A dose of Mexican influence shines through in hammered metal and pressed tin accents, inlaid wood, handpainted talavera tiles, and wrought iron railings, chandeliers and candelabras.

All of this may suggest that Southwestern style is tied to the region’s past more than the present, but mid-century modern furniture fits beautifully into this look. Leather-upholstered modern seating is a winner, especially in desert tones like brown, tan or orange.

It’s possible to introduce elements of Southwestern style into any room in the house; it’s also an ideal look for the patio, thanks to its relaxed vibe. Bring those geometric fabrics outdoors, introduce wrought iron elements, and scatter a few poufs and floor cushions for those long, hot evenings. Complete the look by adding an array of cactuses and succulents; they’re robust, they rarely get thirsty, and they effortlessly evoke the desert landscape like no other plants.

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