Living Space: Exotic Moroccan styling adds an air of intrigue and intimacy

By Kathryn Weber
Nov. 7, 2013 at 5:07 a.m.

Rich fabrics, vibrant colors, metal accents and a sense of intimacy are typical of Moroccan decor.

Rich fabrics, vibrant colors, metal accents and a sense of intimacy are typical of Moroccan decor.

Rich textures, saturated colors and stylishly exotic accessories are all hallmarks of the Moroccan decorating style that has grabbed our attention in recent years. Intricate patterns marry with ornate carvings, metal work and rugs to create a style as comfortable as it is visually appealing.

With an aesthetic that incorporates influences of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Moroccan-style blends, these design influences create a singularly captivating look.

Comfort, visual appeal

Creating a decorative oasis is one of the goals of Moroccan style - it's at once cozy for retreating into a quiet cocoon as much as it emphasizes social gatherings. Large pillows, daybeds, low sofas, padded footstools and small tables create a lush, comfortable ambience.

Rich hues of red, gold and cinnamon meld together in a vibrant mix. Plants like palms abound, and lighting is cast into luminous dots by intricately carved lamps made of punched metal and multicolored glass panels, creating an exotic aura.

A touch of Morocco

If the glamour and intrigue of this North African country beckons, you only need to make small changes to create a Moroccan feel in your home. Accents like carved wood trunks, candlesticks and tables scattered around the room add an authentic touch.

Look for tables with metal tray-tops. Drape sofas or chairs with jewel-toned, highly patterned textiles and add colorful rugs. Dress windows and entryways with thick, full drapes pulled back with heavy cords.

For a thoroughly Moroccan design, incorporate highly patterned tiles on the floor, wall or on small tables or trays. Don't worry if patterns appear to clash. This is part of Moroccan appeal - the mixing and blending of a variety of patterns and styles.

The same is true of throw pillows: The more, the better. Look for pillows that are designed with bright colors and patterns like Ikat and that have nice details such as metallic threads, cording and tassels. Rugs can be layered on the floor or used as wall hangings.

Finishing touches

To create a thoroughly Moroccan room, cut out plywood to resemble the highly styled curved door openings you might see in Tangier. Paint the forms with vibrant colors and patterns. These can also be used as headboards or over fireplaces.

Be sure to use drapes and textiles generously. Add a canopy over your sofa or daybed or create a fanciful headboard. Even inexpensive touches like mosquito netting over a reading chair in the corner of a room add intrigue.

Intimate spaces filled with cozy furniture and decorations are all keys to the allure that's such a part of Moroccan style. Add a fabric canopy at the ceiling and a large Moroccan-style ceiling pendant, and your look is complete.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website,



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