From Santa Fe to Sedona and everywhere in between, Southwestern-style homes have inspired DIY-ers and interior designers for decades. While there have been a few bad examples throughout the years (we’re looking at you, 1980s!), desert decor has come back in a tasteful, back-to-the-Earth way that can work in any home. If the warm desert sun is calling your name, this guide can help bring it to your home.
History of Desert Decor
The cultural origins of the Southwestern style are essential to recognize before using it in your home. Much of this style comes from the melding of traditional Indigenous art and culture, particularly that of the Navajo people, with the architecture of Spanish settlers. What you may imagine as “American cowboy” culture also influenced this decor eventually, with rustic elements like cowhides that started as a utility before they became stylish.
Be mindful of the sources when shopping for decor that incorporates traditional designs. Support Indigenous craftspeople instead of fast-fashion styles that appropriate traditional work!
Elements of Southwestern Style
Like many other decor trends, Southwestern style has come in and out of fashion. One notable example was in the 1980s when an over-the-top version of Southwestern was popular. With pastel colors and cartoonish versions of traditional crafts, it wasn’t a proud moment for interior design – and certainly not one worth repeating! Here are a few ways to incorporate Southwestern warmth into your home, with more timeless styling than previous iterations.
One of the critical aspects of the Southwestern style is the distinctive desert colors that it utilizes. Visualize multi-hued red sandstone, green sagebrush and cacti, and brilliant cobalt skies. Turquoise is an important accent derived from the gemstone’s prominent use in Navajo and Zuni jewelry.
To keep your look timeless, don’t slather the walls with terracotta tones, though. Stick with clean white and amp up the accents with things like rugs, pillows, furniture, and decor.
While the opportunity to utilize bold statement pieces like a cowhide sofa may be ripe, remember that they are challenging to restyle when it comes time to redecorate. Instead, lean on more classic pieces like leather chairs and rustic wooden tables.
Art and decor allow you to let your personality shine in the home. With Southwestern style, you’re not stuck with one particular look. The desert has inspired countless artists, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Shonto Begay, and Frederic Remington. Let it inspire your artistic side!
For example, you can lean into desert flora and fauna with cacti (real or faux!), and artwork featuring desert flowers or one of countless desert-dwelling critters like coyotes. Or, if you feel more inspired by rustic Western life, consider using skull designs and vintage leather. What if modern desert glam is more your speed? Turquoise wall decor, eclectic paintings, and plenty of metallic accents with flowy boho vibes can work for you.
Southwestern Desert Modern Decor, Room by Room
Do you crave a cozy kitchen that looks like it should smell of roasting Hatch green chilies? What about a warm, welcoming living room that begs guests to sink deeper into the sofa and stay longer? Here’s how to achieve those looks and more!
Desert-style homes utilize plenty of wood and metal in furniture; your bedroom is a great place to showcase this. A wood bedframe pairs great with vibrant geometric bedding – or go with earth tones if you prefer a more subtle look. Let soothing desert colors warm your toes all winter with vintage wool blankets! Rustic wooden dressers and nightstands, especially with wrought iron details, will make your decor (hello, artificial cacti!) pop.
One appealing aspect of desert decor is its warmth and invitingness. Channel this energy in your living room and help your guests feel at home! A brown leather sofa is a beautiful, timeless piece that will fit perfectly with your new Southwestern decor but can last through dozens of redesigns. A colorful, geometric rug can add visual interest, and throw pillows and blankets are an opportunity to go bold without too much commitment.
Kitchen and dining room
The kitchen is almost always the centerpiece of your home. Bring the desert to this space with deep red tile and light, mainly white, walls. A colorful backsplash with blues and greens or even a desert-inspired mosaic can add a personalized touch to your kitchen. You don’t have to call a contractor, though. Follow the previous advice of using rustic wood, metal, and leather in earthy tones to add desert-inspired touches to your kitchen without picking up a sledgehammer.
A unique metal chandelier in your dining room can hang over a heavy wooden dining set, sitting atop a brightly-colored rug. If you’re not quite ready to dig into the look that deep, try out towels and wall decor focusing on earthy colors.
Find Your Style with CORT Furniture Outlet
As the seasons shift and the days get shorter, you should enjoy every last bit of sunshine and warmth you can find. And what better way to bring those rich, warm vibes into your home than with desert-inspired decor? From the deep reds and oranges of Sedona’s sandstone to the crisp blues of the wide Santa Fe sky, embracing the desert’s vast palette in your home can help you feel grounded and warm.
But no matter the season or the region that’s inspiring you, timeless furniture designs can lay the foundation for a comfortable home that feels like your own. And when you shop at CORT Furniture Outlet, you can find high-quality, classic pieces that stand the test of time. From full living room sets to unique wall art and everything you need for a productive home office, CORT Outlet has it.
Not only that, but many pieces are eligible for same-day pickup! Every piece is CORT Certified, meaning it has been inspected and cleaned by our expert team for your peace of mind. Shop CORT Outlet in-store or online today and start building your desert oasis.