Decorating your home with furnishings from far-flung lands can seem a little cliché and smack of inauthenticity. However, with a nuanced eye and a little careful, considerate shopping you can easily find something unusual and exotic to add an extra flourish to your home. Here are a few tips on how to do just that …
Plants & Vases
Depending on your environment, space and willingness to go green-thumbed, there are plenty of hardy, exotic plants that can handle the UK’s climate. Bamboo, for example, is an evergreen and can be used to screen windows, while gingers such as Variegata are excellent plants for conservatories and living rooms due to their small size and beautiful scents.
Of course, for every plant that is not found naturally in the UK, an equally exotic vase is needed. Greek-style vases, as beautiful as they are, probably won’t suit foreign-based plants, so it may be better to pair such plants with, say, a Chinese or South American style vase.
Deep, rich, ‘spicy’ (think turmeric or chilli) colours like orange, red, purple and gold immediately conjure up images of far-away lands, as do lighter colours like cyan or turquoise. You don’t need to repaint your entire room to get that exotic look though – simple things like choosing unusually-coloured bed sheets, cushion covers, or wall hangings can work equally well.
Adding Different Textures
Silk, satin, velour, velvet … There are so many materials that can be used to create an Asian or Middle Eastern theme, and they can all be used to invoke senses other than sight. This is especially useful to those looking for a change from a more minimalist styling.
Paintings, tapestries and other works of art (including vases, as previously mentioned) can have dramatic effects upon the feel of your room, without the need to repaint or redecorate it from top-to-bottom. For purposes of originality, it is perhaps best not to buy a piece of art that is mass-produced but rather find an artist whose work you would be genuinely proud of displaying. If you can manage buy authentic art from source, so much the better.
Coppers, reds and golds are not exclusive to Indian décor, but such rich colours are often used in Indian-styled interiors. However, creating a genuine Indian room requires more than just getting the colours right – elaborate sari- and mehndi- inspired patterns, layered textiles (particularly silk), and animal motifs are all common in Indian rooms.
As for furniture, hand-crafted pieces made from high-quality woods such as teak, rosewood and ebony are popular in India. Though such pieces of furniture can sometimes look rather basic, they are extremely well-made and are built to last, as well as being intricately and beautifully carved.
Moroccan-styled rooms have some similarities with Indian-styled rooms, but they differ in several key ways. One of these differences is in the use of religious motifs: Indian rooms are often Hindu-influenced, whereas Moroccan-themed rooms are likely to be more influenced by Moorish architecture (although the two styles do overlap). Mosaic tiling, bold geometric patterns, opulent and heavily-cushioned seating areas, coloured light shades and ceiling drapes all constitute elements of Moroccan design. Moroccan décor is also likely to have more Western influences due to Morocco’s proximity to the Mediterranean. Image credit
Rugs are one of the simplest ways to make your room more exotic, and several rugs can be bought and used to change the look of your room on a day-to-day basis. Rugs are excellent for wooden floors as well, and can prevent a room from looking ‘bare’. When it comes to varieties of rugs available, the choice is endless.
Indonesian, Hindu, Buddhist, Chinese, Persian and Islamic cultures have all used batik to design a variety of materials, from clothes to furniture. Batik is also distinguishable by country and region, and so it is possible to find a pattern that is quite distinct.