Southwestern style combines bold geometry with rustic charm. The buildings themselves echo the shape and textures of American mesas and desert vistas. Stylistic elements show its historic roots in Spanish and Native American cultures. Southwestern structures seem one with nature as their interior spaces seamlessly transition into the landscape outside.
Welcome to the Southwestern home decor style guide where you can see photos of all interiors in the Southwestern style including kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, foyers and more.
Table of Contents
- Southwestern Style Homes (Exteriors)
- 1. Custom 12,000 Sq ft Ultra “ELAN Smart Home” has Theater, Gym, Bar, Game Room, Pool and So Much More!
- 2. Stunning Southwest Style Home with Luxurious Interior Design that Will Blow Your Mind
- 3. Sleek Contemporary Southwestern House with 2 Primary Suites
- 4. Sprawling Residence with Covered Porches Captures the Spirit of Western Farmhouse-Style Living
- 5. Moonlight Hacienda with Thick Adobe Archways, Distressed Beamed Ceilings, and Saltillo Pavers
- 6. Home in Historic Park Lane Features Intricate, Limestone Mosaic Tile Floor
- 7. El Toro Road’s Historic Ojai Estate
- 8. Santa Barbara Home Features a Large Barrel Coved Ceiling
- 9. Rancho Santa Fe Covenant Estate in San Diego County
- 10. Upscale La Quinta Residence Features its Waters Edge Pool and Loggia with Striking Backdrop
- Southwestern Style Interior Examples (by Room)
- Southwestern Style Home Landscaping
- What is Southwestern Home Decor?
- Interior Style Features
- Exterior Style Features
- Furniture Style
- Materials Used
- Styles that Mix Well With Southwestern
- History of Southwestern Style
- Why the Southwestern Style Looks Great
Southwestern Style Homes (Exteriors)
1. Custom 12,000 Sq ft Ultra “ELAN Smart Home” has Theater, Gym, Bar, Game Room, Pool and So Much More!
This is a charming Southwestern-style homeluf with an off-white tone to its exterior walls that matches with the concrete walkway outside. Both of these are complemented by the yellowish soil of the landscaping as well as the light blue tin roofs that blend with the sky.
2. Stunning Southwest Style Home with Luxurious Interior Design that Will Blow Your Mind
This is a beautiful Southwestern-style home with a blue pool that stands out against the beige walkways blending with the beige exterior walls. These are augmented by warm yellow lights from the wall lamps as well as by the dark brown clay roofs.
3. Sleek Contemporary Southwestern House with 2 Primary Suites
The concrete block walkway and driveway that leads to this home is adorned with pebbled grounds on both sides that matches with the stone walls that accent the beige exteriors. There is a couple of wooden garage doors that match with the main door that is adorned with a large cactus.
This Southwestern-style home has an infinity pool at the back that is accessed through tall glass doors that matches with the large glass windows. Both of these showcase the beautiful interiors that are brightly lit with warm yellow lights.
4. Sprawling Residence with Covered Porches Captures the Spirit of Western Farmhouse-Style Living
The brilliant blue roof of this Southwestern-style home is large enough for three dormer windows that give accent along with the two chimneys that tower over the home. This setup is a nice complement to the earthy yellow exterior walls that complement the wooden main door and the graveled walkway.
This is the backyard view of the beautiful home that has a large glass wall in its middle hall and lotcs of glass doors and windows on the sections flanking it. These are all focused on the swimming pool in the backyard that has a terracotta flooring.
5. Moonlight Hacienda with Thick Adobe Archways, Distressed Beamed Ceilings, and Saltillo Pavers
This expansive Southwestern-style home has brick-colored roofing clay tiles on its various roof tops that complement the beige exterior walls for that classic look. There is a couple of wide wooden garage doors amounting to a garage that can fit at least four vehicles.
The classic wooden doors of the main entryway is paired with a terracotta stairway flanked with decorative golden jars on ledges. This main entrance has a nice foreground of a small stone bridge over a stream accented with tall trees and shrubs.
6. Home in Historic Park Lane Features Intricate, Limestone Mosaic Tile Floor
This is a classic Southwestern-style home with terracotta roofing tiles and beige exterior walls as well as a viewing deck on the central turret. The charming complement of the surrounding landscape that has tropical trees and shrubs can be enjoyed from the large arched window.
The large property is gated with a tall black wrought iron gate that opens to a courtyard and driveway with concrete blocks on the ground. This leads to three wooden garage doors adorned with colorful flowering creeping plants and lamps in between.
7. El Toro Road’s Historic Ojai Estate
The charming Southwestern-style home on top of the hill can be accessed through this large white and beige stone structure that has stairs and planters filled with shrubs and pines. The white low walls on the sides are flanked by the thick foliage of the landscape allowing for an awesome walk up the stone steps.
After the short climb of the stone steps, you are welcome by this gorgeous small courtyard made of terracotta tiles that complement the white exterior walls and white pillars of the Southwestern-style home with matching terracotta roofs.
This is the backyard view of the Southwestern-style home that has a quaint area shaded by the surrounding tall exterior walls. This area has an outdoor dining area under a large umbrella complemented by terracotta floors and the view of the amazing landscaping filled with tropical trees.
This Southwestern-style home is dwarfed by the large trees in the background that tower over the terracotta Gable roofs that contrast the bright white exterior walls that are reflected by the swimming pool that is flanked by miniature gardens and stairways.
8. Santa Barbara Home Features a Large Barrel Coved Ceiling
This view of the Southwestern-style home showcases its charming landscaping that has a simple yet eye-pleasing quality. The entryway to this small terracotta courtyard is adorned with a small wooden trellis. This leads to the small tree planted in a large stone planter with blue patterned tiles on the sides.
The neat off-white exterior walls and matching fence of this Southwestern-style home is filled with various arched windows and columns that give it character along the distressed terracotta tiles of the roof like the charm of a few gray hairs on a handsome face.
9. Rancho Santa Fe Covenant Estate in San Diego County
This beautiful arched entryway to this Southwestern-style home has a beige tone to its walls that are augmented by the yellow lights of the wall lamps. This is then adorned with tropical trees, flowering shrubs and potted plants that flank the entryway.
This is an aerial view of the whole property that shows you its many awesome landscaping features like the fountain surrounded by colorful shrubs as well as the collection of tall trees that bring a comforting contrast to the terracotta roofs of the Southwestern-style home.
10. Upscale La Quinta Residence Features its Waters Edge Pool and Loggia with Striking Backdrop
This view makes it seem like the Southwestern-style home is being cradled by the surrounding landscape that has tall tropical trees, shrubs and large decorative rocks along with a nice carpet of grass. These are all wonderful contrasts for the earthy exterior walls of the home.
This is the backyard view of the Southwestern-style home that showcases the swimming and its matching hot tub beside it. Both of these give off an ethereal glow that makes it stand out against the home and its walkways that are adorned with small palm trees and wooden lawn chairs.
Southwestern Style Interior Examples (by Room)
The following are photo examples of Southwestern style interiors (room-by-room). Below each photo are links that take you to extensive Southwestern style photo galleries for each room.
This Southwestern-style living room has distressed black hardwood flooring accented with a colorful patterned area rug topped with a brown tufted coffee table in between the light gray sofa set. These are all under a wooden ceiling that has exposed wooden beams.
This is a cozy and homey Southwestern-style kitchen with checkered black and white flooring that contrasts the bright green tone of the surrounding cabinets and drawers of the kitchen peninsulas that blend with the walls and the fridge door.
This beautiful dining room has a Southwestern-style flair to its patterned terracotta flooring tiles and the small colorful alcove on the side of the wooden dining set. This alcove has colorful and patterned tiles that make it stand out against the white wall.
The small alcove of the fireplace is line with bright green designs that match the colorful tiles on the side of the ledge that bears a potted plant. This is beside the sitting area that has cushioned armchairs matching the four-poster bed that contrasts the dark hardwood flooring.
The off-white cove ceiling of this Southwestern-style bathroom is a nice contrast for the dominating green and blue tiles of the walls and flooring. These results in the white porcelain pedestal sink and the white porcelain freestanding bathtub to stand out.
This beautiful Southwestern-style foyer is adorned with a fountain on the side that has eye-catching green tiles with patterns surrounding the water spout. This stands out against the contrasting terracotta flooring and the white walls culminating to a groin arched ceiling.
Southwestern Style Home Landscaping
This charming Southwestern-style landscaping has a large white and beige stone structure that has stairs and planters filled with shrubs and pines leading up to the home on top of the hill. The white low walls on the sides are flanked by the thick foliage of the landscape allowing for an awesome walk up the stone steps.
What is Southwestern Home Decor?
When most people picture a Southwestern building, they’re actually thinking about a group of closely related architectural styles. Many modern homes draw on Contemporary Southwestern style. For structures more than a few decades old, you see quite a bit of Pueblo Revival, Territorial Revival, and Spanish Colonial Revival. Although each of these has its own identity, there’s a lot of overlap. Why? It comes down to the styles’ birthplace: the American Southwest.
Southwestern style architecture draws inspiration from the desert environment of the Southwestern states and Mexico. It starts with a warm palette and rustic materials. These are often fused with structural elements rooted in history. The area’s Spanish missions and indigenous Navajo and Pueblo structures all contribute to this unique and rustic aesthetic. The result is a highly distinctive style that offers comfort and enduring appeal.
Interior Style Features
Southwestern style homes can come in all shapes and sizes. However, whether it’s a one-person cottage or a mansion that can house an extended family, these homes all have some features in common. In a Southwestern home, you’ll probably see:
- Asymmetric floor plans: Southwestern style homes often move organically with the land. The left and right halves of the home aren’t mirrored. They may jut out, recede, or wrap partway around landscaping features like driveways, front gardens, back patios, and pools.
- Cozy, modular spaces. Open floor plans are less commonly found here. Instead, the interior is broken up into multiple smaller rooms connected with doors, arches, and screens. This creates intimate and private spaces around the home. However, there’s an easy flow between rooms thanks to their interconnected layout.
- Exterior access: Southwestern style tends to offer multiple points where residents may go from a room to the outdoors. A rustic and traditional choice is double doors, which may be propped open when the weather’s fine. Sliding or folding outswing glass doors may be used in more modern designs. For two-story structures, balconies let people take in breezes in relative privacy.
- High ceilings: Traditionally, the only way to cool a house during blistering Southwestern summers was by allowing the hot air to rise up and away from the residents. Although we are now blessed with the wonderful modern invention of air conditioning systems, you will still find plenty of headroom in these buildings.
- Exposed wooden beams: Roof beams and wall studs are often left exposed instead of being painted or plastered over. This offers two benefits. It showcases the rustic beauty of the wood, and it creates a contrast between the dark brown hues and the lighter walls.
- Tile and brick floors: These warm, rustic surfaces flow from one room to the next, uniting spaces that have been divided into multiple rooms. They may be livened up with colorful, strategically placed rugs.
Exterior Style Features
Southwestern style houses have a famously boxy appearance. However, they feature rounded edges and more decorative touches than aggressively squared off styles like Prairie homes. Let’s take a look at some of the most distinctive style features you’ll spot from the outside:
- Stepped roofs: Although these homes are often just one or two floors high, they aren’t dull to look at. This is because of the stepped roofs. The feature adds height, which in turn breaks up the horizontal visuals. The height may not be a full second floor, but it creates a jigsaw outline reminiscent of rolling mesas. Higher walls create more opportunities to put in windows, leading to brighter interior spaces.
- Substantial doors: Delicate glass doors with scrollwork are out of place in these solid, cubic structures. The doors need to be large and substantial enough to hold their own in the architecture. Wooden doors are the more traditional choice. These tend to be solid and heavy, often with iron hardware.
- Small and stacked windows: Classic Southwestern homes tend to have smaller windows. These may be stacked or clustered to increase the natural light inside. However, modern and high-end structures may break this rule and offer a big picture window aimed towards a gorgeous vista.
- Contrasting trim: Southwestern style houses predominantly have light cream, beige, or other earth tones on the walls. They need some livening up, and contrasting trim is a popular fix. Sometimes the door and window trim are painted or outlined in stone. The cool grey there plays well with warmer adobe. Another visual trick is to use dark hardwood or brick trim, which pops against the stucco walls and breaks up the stretches of beige.
- Ornamental grilles: In a nod to traditional Spanish Mission architecture, first-floor windows may feature ornamental iron grilles. These are usually kept simple, offering geometric designs like grids and cascading rectangles.
- Covered and semi-covered outdoor spaces: The exterior of the structure maximizes chances for shade. This is done by having windows and doors deeply set in the thick walls. Roof overhangs may be extended, especially over the carport. Shade-casting trees and arbors are scattered around the garden and may stretch over the patio.
- Outdoor fire: The desert may be hot during the day, but nights get nippy. Southwestern homes work around this through outdoor fireplaces or fire pits. This functional feature works especially well with outdoor dining areas and can extend the seasons in which the patio may be enjoyed.
Southwestern style furniture follows through with the core elements of the architecture: natural materials, neutral palettes, rustic design, and Spanish and Native American infused elements. The pieces are sized to what are often relatively small spaces. Giant sectional sofas are rarely seen here, and may not fit through the front door anyway. Instead, rustic and proportional items show up here.
Wood Tables: Because these rooms tend to be cozy, a multipurpose table with shelving is a great investment. The dark, neutral shade pops against cream walls and helps tone down warm brick or terracotta flooring. Coffee tables are another good choice. Their low, wide profile works well with the home’s horizontal lines. A round coffee table can also complement a boxy room.
Leather seating: Distressed leather seats, like this loveseat, closely fit a Southwestern theme. They’re also really cozy and the distressing adds visual interest to the room. Counter stools with western details like bronze studs are a compact seating solution that can be tucked under counters when not needed. Finally, leather ottomans let guests kick their feet up in comfort. They also offer additional storage, which is vital in smaller rooms to keep them from feeling cluttered.
Rustic fireplaces: Southwestern style spaces tend to use fire both indoors and out. Wrought iron accessories can be used here, but it may be tricky to find the right look. Look for horizontal lines and simple geometry like in this fireplace tools set. Simple geometric fireplace screens can help complete the look. For the outdoors, a low profile fire pit in a light neutral color can look very Southwestern chic. A little gentle texture and a cooler palette would also harmonize very nicely with adobe walls.
Distributed storage: Southwestern style décor doesn’t usually devote large spaces and looming furniture to storage. Instead, items are distributed naturally around the home in beautiful, multipurpose pieces of furniture. Wooden sideboards may hold a small wet bar in style thanks to their geometric design. Highly functional dressers can hold an impressive amount of clothes and cosmetics, while the wood evokes Southwestern colors. Finally, woven seagrass baskets can be used to tote laundry, keep magazines handy near the couch, or corral children’s toys that would otherwise be discovered the hard way (Legos underfoot, anyone?).
The key here is to use natural materials in their natural state. Wood, especially Western woods like pine, mesquite, and oak, is a very classic choice. However, any dark stained wood could be used. Southwestern houses also heavily lean on adobe. This gives the home a soft, organic, worn-in feel. Adobe comes in a variety of colors, giving designers flexibility. Brick and concrete may also create a similar look, depending on how they’re used.
Color palette: the building itself is generally in warmer colors. Even white walls tend towards a warm cream instead of an icy, industrial grey. However, accents can utilize more vibrant colors like deep turquoise blues, mesa inspired oranges, verdant greens, and sunset purples. Cool stone and heavily weathered wood can add notes of blue and grey, to balance out all the warm shades.
It’s the little touches that bring a space together. Nailing the décor can also create harmony in a space that fuses different styles (see below). Some common decorating elements in Southwestern homes are:
Lighting: Table lamps are a versatile and functional decorating feature. You’ll want to stick with natural color palettes, but shape and texture can still be played with. A rustic choice would be chunky lamps that play with the patterns found in traditional pottery. A more modern take uses geometric lines and mesa-inspired colors to bring that Southwestern style.
Rugs: ‘Neutral palettes’ has come up a lot in this article, but rugs are one area where you can add a splash of color while keeping a Southwestern style look. Geometric designs inspired by Native American art are especially effective here. Consider coordinating splashes of turquoise and the core pattern with the rug, throw pillow, table runners, etc. However, if this is too traditional for the modern space, another option is to draw broadly from Southwestern colors and shapes as in this abstract rug. The palette really connects it to the theme, offering a brighter but still natural take on the rolling hills, green canyons, and blue rivers of the Southwest.
Plants: Houseplants add a splash of green and a cheerful vitality to any space. In even better news for those without green thumbs, succulents and cacti can be among the easiest houseplants to take care of. A mixed pot of different varieties has more texture and interest and can double as a great centerpiece for the table.
Pottery: Perfectly smooth, mass-produced pottery doesn’t strike the right note here. Instead, look for hand thrown pieces, rustic finishes, and dramatic shapes. Pottery can be as functional as a charming handwarmer mug or be a genuine work of art that can get handed down for generations. Native American artisans have created some truly remarkable pieces that put a modern, high-end twist to traditional colors and designs.
Styles that Mix Well With Southwestern
The simple palette and clean, geometric lines inherent to the Southwestern-style allow it to play well with other aesthetics. Retro Art Deco works well here, as both have a focus on square geometry. Mediterranean and Spanish color palettes and building styles fuse seamlessly with Southwestern designs. Prairie style may also work; these low, wide, boxy structures also strive to integrate with the local environment. The key, as always, is balance. The more different the two styles are, the more important it is to draw mainly from one with elements of the second.
History of Southwestern Style
The Pueblo peoples first developed their distinctive style of architecture centuries ago. In the face of a harsh yet beautiful desert environment, they innovated. In these ancient buildings, you’ll see many features of Southwestern style including flat roofs, thick walls, and adobe with wooden structural supports. Spanish Mission-style architecture was another big influence in this style. They introduced roofs with low pitches and wide eaves, clay tiles, chunky arches, and stucco.
Contemporary Southwestern Style has naturally evolved from those roots into what it is today. Its squared-off buildings, desert-inspired earth tones, and focus on the landscape and natural world has made it an appealing, popular, and distinctive form of architecture. Pueblo and Mission Revival peaked in popularity by 1930, but what we now call Contemporary Southwestern architecture remains as popular as ever.
Why the Southwestern Style Looks Great
Colorful and comfortable, this style has a rugged simplicity that’s been refined into something truly elegant. Southwestern style draws from and celebrates the natural world around it. The spaces, with their rounded corners and organic texture, feel like they grew out of the earth itself. There’s a sense of American history baked into these spaces, bridging traditional Pueblo building shapes, Spanish Mission arches and grilles, and Western frontier furniture.
In a Southwestern house, intimately sized rooms transition effortlessly into the land around the home. These outdoor spaces are both beautiful and functional. There may be a drought-friendly herb garden tucked away by the kitchen, a pool in the backyard, and a patio with fire pit in the front. These rustic areas are perfect for enjoying a Southwest sunset – or enjoying any sunset in Southwestern style.