Design Dilemma: Moroccan style without the Kitsch | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Moroccan style without the Kitsch

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Warm breezy weather’s got us thinking of warm, breezy locales. Marrakesh, anyone?

If you’re hankering to bring an exotic feel to your staid, predictable home, you might investigate a trip to North Africa. Moroccan style is readily identifiable — lots of color, pattern, handmade tiles, arched windows and doors, lanterns, low-slung couches and cushions on the floor, to start. It may be right for you if you’re a bohemian soul looking to give your home a relaxed, artistic flare. If you like to pad around your house barefoot with a Paul Bowles book than Moroccan style may be just your thing!

Here are a few examples of Moroccan-influenced interiors:

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Here’s a Moroccan-influenced study:

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A dining room:

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A Moroccan-inspired seating area:

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And a Moroccan-inspired bathroom:

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The thing about Moroccan style is that it’s hard to pull off. At it’s best, it is dramatic, vibrant, artistic. But make a few wrong moves and the look begins to feel kitschy. Your goal is to hint of Morocco, without necessarily going the full distance, the way the wonderful interior below does. Most of us just don’t have the architectural detail to pull off true Moroccan style.

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  • Use lots of strong color. Glowing oranges and pinks, deep blues and purples are common in Moroccan interiors.
  • Keep your furniture low.
  • Use lots of pillows.
  • Mix patterns and colors.
  • Keep your furniture layout unstructured.  Flow and freedom is what’s important.
  • Invest in a Moroccan rug — or alternatively, consider ceramic tile.
  • Build your room around a couple of high quality signature pieces — for instance, a carved Moroccan screen, Moroccan lanterns, or a Berber rug.
  • Appeal to all the senses — color and pattern will appeal to the eyes, textured rugs and fabric appeal to the touch, scented candles or incense appeal to the sense of smell.
  • Keep lighting dim and moody.


  • Don’t go folkloric. Stay away from the very common and inexpensive textiles that are normally associated with the look — Moroccan poufs, the textiles with the little mirrors in them —  or anything else that feels like something you would have found in a college dorm room in 1969.
  • Don’t overload. True Moroccan interiors are simple in terms of furniture, but busy in pattern. So there’s no need to pack your room with lots of furniture.
  • Don’t fill your room with only Moroccan things. True Moroccan style is a mix of Moorish, Spanish, French and Berber influences, so it’s fine to mix things up.

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So there you go, a few style rules to get you started on your Moroccan journey. Enjoy the trip!

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