In the new normal, souvenirs from souks, textiles and prints that draw on a mix of cultural influences, and decorative trimmings that reflect our eclectic tastes, feel as out of reach as a Moroccan riad – and wafting down a mosaic-tiled courtyard in a beaded kaftan.
But while we’re social distancing, would-be globetrotters and those loving lockdown are perfectly placed to spice things up at home with warm tones of terracotta, a gleam of gold, and rich fabrics to capture a timeless, laid-back look inspired by the past, as we look forward to the future.
Here’s how to introduce some sun-drenched stylish updates…
“As spring creeps into summer, add touches of warmth to your scheme with terracotta reds, soft pinks and hints of gold,” says Emily Dunstan, home buyer at Heal’s. “Drawing inspiration from the outdoors will create a comforting environment that’s gentle on the eye, perfect for a relaxing lounge area or bedroom; while blending rich, earthy tones with refined elements of brass and gold will evoke an exotic feel, bringing a sense of holiday heat into your home.”
It’s all in the detail
Dunstan suggests weaving earthen tones into your existing palette with soft furnishings, such as their Linie Design’s Monu Rug in rose. “Its elegant, abstract motif will add interest, whilst subtle golden detailing will catch the light and create a subtle shimmer.”
For smaller finishing touches, try introducing a distinctive pattern, such as those seen on this Stones Cushion, which combines rich gold with an eye-catching print, to add a hint of nomadic luxe.
And to mirror the ornate carved detailing and handmade pieces you might see in a souk, Amara’s version looks as authentic as one you might be tempted to try and stuff in your suitcase.
To make a larger statement, a patterned sofa in warm hues will create a focal point within the room: “This season, One Nine Eight Five took inspiration from the curves of our Wallis sofa, creating an abstract design that echoes the shades of spring. Featuring deep red and orange brush strokes alongside nude shades, this bold upholstery also includes a velvet ochre backing, drawing the eye from every angle,” explains Dunstan.
Beige and browns blend effortlessly together
Bold without being overpowering, shades of spice, rust and terracotta are design staples that lend themselves to a multitude of decors, from Scandi to mid-century,” says Suzy McMahon, buying director for Sofology. “These are colours that work best when chosen to complement, rather than clash. Keep walls and furniture tonal and embrace the richness that comes from reddish oranges and rusty browns.”
For a truly impactful scheme, she recommends pairing accents of saturated tones of green, black and navy. And you can enhance the look with darker metallics, such as gold and bronze, rather than silver or chrome.
“Furnishing your space with upholstery in one of these versatile spiced hues will create a warm and cosy feel,” says McMahon, and the choice of material will really set the tone here. “Selecting a velvet will create an opulent, luxurious finish, whereas a linen or cotton will bring a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere. Layer with throws and scatter cushions in similar shades and tactile textures, to bring added comfort and depth to your scheme.”
Make the switch to decorative lighting
As Claire Hornby, head of creative at Barker & Stonehouse points out, lighting is an integral part of any Moroccan-inspired interior. As well as floor-standing lanterns with an artisan feel, and the flattering soft glow of candles, an array of rattan pendants hung at various heights will offer a nod to bazaar style, without compromising the calm vibe of the space.
Warm golds radiate warmth
A cool palette of grey and deepest charcoal, backed by a wall painted in gold or mustard, offers an earthy contrast and works brilliantly in an entrance hall or fireplace surround. Team with monochrome travel prints for a glowing getaway feeling.
“Terracotta and rust are colours found in nature and offer a connection to the outside world, creating a sense of calm,” says Helen Shaw, director of Benjamin Moore UK. “Incorporating rich, bold spice colours creates instant character, taking a small space from sterile to stylish.”
And if you really want to luxe it up, what could be more wondrous on the wall than metallic feather wallpaper?
“We may not be able to go on fabulous holidays right now, but that doesn’t stop us taking inspiration from the stunning aesthetics of Moroccan interiors,” says Alex Whitecroft, head of design at I Want Wallpaper. “The use of spicy, warm tones and pops of gold can bring a much needed heat, and create a sense of the exotic in any room. Try a splash of cobalt blue to really bring a room to life – as inspired by the incredible Jardin Majorelle in Marrakech.”