Welcome to the Southwestern interior design style guide where you can see photos of all interiors in the Southwestern style including kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, foyers and more.
Browse all Southwestern styles here or filter your search with the options to the left.
Different Style Types: Traditional | Modern | Contemporary | Craftsman | Rustic | Farmhouse | Midcentury | Transitional | Industrial | Mediterranean | Tropical | Eclectic | Beach | Shabby-Chic | Scandinavian | Southwestern | Asian | Victorian
What is Southwestern Interior Design
Elements of Exterior Southwestern Design
- Use of adobe, stucco or smooth stone, simple wood and brick,
- Red tile roofs or flat roofs,
- Low-slung, one-story design,
- Flat or low-pitched roof and little overhang,
- Assymetrical exteriors with small irregularly placed windows,
- Arches inside and outside the house,
- Has a courtyard, patio or other outdoor living areas; and
- Large colorful gardens with cactus or tropical plants
Elements of Interior Southwestern Design
- Casement or recessed windows with ornamental grillwork facing the street,
- Mix upholstery finished and textiles,
- Bold, vibrant, warm colors (orange, red, gold, yellow, blue and desert-toned neutral hues),
- Accessories made up of dark-colored cast ironmongery, candles, dried flowers, sculptures, animal skins, pottery pieces, etc.,
- Painted wood furnishings built with thick legs,
- Large wall murals, and
- Floors made of rustic brick or terra cotta tiles or mosaic with patterned rugs
A southwest style design element is mainly characterized by the rough-and-ready style that goes with it. This is an old west style with a little bit of traditional Mexican style and Spanish accents, as well as a touch of native American art to go along with it. You’ll find rounded doorways here as well as terra-cotta, clay tile, and some earth tones. You’re also going to find a lot of different aspects that evoke the old west from down on the Texas side of things. Bu, for all the rustic accents, you’re going to see a whole lot of style that balances it all out quite well.
Distinguishing Design Features
Some of the most distinguishing features are going to be the Mexican elements of this style which are characterized by the color palette of bright green, red, and yellow, as well as some orange and turquoise that goes well with them all. You’ll find handmade materials including fabrics and furniture in this style of the house and the types of furniture that are present will definitely have elements of the Mexican and Spanish styles that created and founded them, such as the natural aspects and colors. But the main highlight is definitely going to be the contrast between natural backgrounds and a whole lot of bright colors that will improve things overall.
You may find leather, suede, and other natural materials when you’re looking at a southwestern style. Much of the fabric is actually handmade and woven from different types of wool though you could find linen and other natural style fabrics. You’ll also find things like jute and other natural textured rugs and accent pieces. On top of this, you’re going to see terra-cotta in the pottery, roof tiles, and decorative tiles plus plenty of wrought iron to help pull things together and create a unique accent. You’ll find materials that are mostly brought somehow from the ground or handmade but there may be a few more manmade versions present as well.
The furniture that you find is going to be primarily made with leather or suede upholstery, though you may find a few pieces made with the wrought iron or with only wood and then accented with carvings. You’ll also find specialty furniture for these types of rooms and these may also be accented with burnished metal to create a unique look. The pieces can also be quite distressed in style as part of the accent and may be mixed and matched with different colors and different patterns as these are going to be quite common in southwestern style.
The decorative pieces that you find in this type of room are definitely going to be bright in color. Though you’ll find some that are more natural or neutral, you’ll also find that a lot of the accent colors of bright reds and greens and blues or even yellows and oranges will come from pillows and throw blankets. These, as well as brightly colored rugs or serapes on the walls, will be the primary sources of decoration, though you could also find framed pictures and photographs or other decorative aspects scattered throughout the space and especially on surfaces like tables and fireplaces.
You will likely find pottery and ceramics throughout a southwestern style room because these are often created and handcrafted by the owner of the house or someone in their family. They may be placed out on a shelf or table or may be built directly into the floor or tables. They can also be used on the walls or anywhere else. Some pieces may feature the wrought iron that is often found in these styles as well and the walls will generally be textured and feature small cubbies that can hold additional knick knacks and accent pieces to brighten up space even more.
Why it Looks Great
So, why is it a great style? Well, mostly because you’re getting something that is really bright and fun but can also be toned down if you prefer. You can use the base of natural and neutral colors to create a calm and comfortable atmosphere, but you’re definitely going to be able to create something bold and beautiful with it as well. That’s where some of the fun is going to come in because you can easily add as much or as little of the bright colors, patterns, and designs as you want. The more you add the brighter and more vibrant the room becomes. The less you add the more calm and relaxed it stays. In the end, you have a room that’s really versatile and reflects your personal style and ideas. This can make it a great choice for those who really aren’t sure where they want to get started or how they can get started.