I have probably mentioned it but, just in case, I was born and raised in Arizona and now live in Boston. Growing up in the Southwest, Aztec and Native American prints were not my jam. Truthfully, I felt they were rustic, honky-tonk and a little lifeless. At this point, I have not lived in Arizona for roughly six years. Guiltily (or not so), I have found a new love for Southwestern decor. If I am being 100% truthful, I am in overcompensation mode and have been buying anything I find with a Southwestern print (thanks, AMEX!).
Okay, so I started loving these patterns but my personal design preferences went in a completely different direction during those six years. While I can’t fully describe our design style in a single word, it mostly reeks of modern, mid-century and clean-lined design. Well, quite an interesting design mix, indeed. That fact gave birth to a new challenge of incorporating Southwestern textiles into our current design mix (and this blog post!).
My initial strategy was to buy the things I liked and worry about the “design” later – classic, Madison. Finally, after many overstuffed suitcases post winter visits home, I decided I had better start finding places for all of these items to live. While figuring out how to do this, I developed a few insights that I share with you now. I hope they are helpful as you try and add that Southwestern flair to your home without turning it into a complete rustic saloon.
Southwestern prints thrive in solitude
You don’t need an entire sectional littered with Southwestern pillows to get that pop of boho cowboy/cowgirl you are wanting to achieve. In fact, the fewer printed textiles you can have in a room, they are going to stand out. Try and limit yourself to one fun Aztec, ikat or Southwestern piece per room.
Solid backdrops add modern pop
Solid colors as a backdrop to most patterns will add that special “umph”. Right now we have a printed kilim pillow on our white linen bed. It gives off a Boho Chic vibe but still feels light and tranquil. Place light printed textiles on solid dark backgrounds (like blacks and navy blues) while darker patterns look airy and modern over light backdrops (whites or ivories).
Pull from your existing palette
If you can, find Southwestern textiles that include colors from your current palette. In our living room, we included a Southwestern pillow with colors that pull from our sectional, accent chairs and adjacent dining room. The more color cohesion you can have between a busy textile and the rest of your home, the more in place it will feel.
Ready to add in some Southwestern textiles into your home?
Check out some of my current favorites: Pillows Inspired by the Southwest
Want to go full-blown Southwestern Mid-Century Modern?