No other traditional design style fits so perfectly with current interior design trends as a Moroccan look. From the souks of Marrakech to the rustic Essaouira beech the authentic Moroccan feel is an amalgamation of quintessential Arabian style from across North Africa, Persia and a little bit of the Mediterranean too.
The inspiration you can draw from the colour, materials and feel of that styling is truly original. And the complexities, intricacies, textures and lighting renowned in Moroccan design make an enchanting look that can work even in the most modern home.
The best thing about the Moroccan look though, is that it's so iconic and simple that it's easily achievable. By focussing on a few very basic features you can transform the whole look of your room, and transport some of the magic of Marrakech halfway across the world.
Colour: Sand, terracotta and rich primaries
One of the first things you notice about Moroccan interiors is the amazing colours. Marrakech is a city built on the desert, so the base colour for everything is sand. But coupled with that come rich natural and earthy tones – natural to Moroccan building materials. The walls are adorned with washes of yellow and orange, like many countries that dress for days of sun, and dressed with deep purples and browns. With the earthy foundations an eclectic festival of colour is the next layer on. A walk around the souks of Marrakech will, quite literally, show you every colour under the sun. From mint green to ocean blue, the vibrancy of colour shows through in the bright orange tagines, emerald green bowls and ornate decorated pottery. The variation means that you are free to introduce any colour you want into your design. Think spices and desert robes. So long as you have a natural sand and terracotta base, anything goes.
Tiling: Magnificent mosaics and hand-painted tiles
The palaces of Marrakech probably have more mosaic work than your average Roman baths. But, unlike the picturesque tile-work of Ancient Rome, the Moroccan look is based on pattern; pattern on a huge and intricate scale. The other side to Moroccan tile-work can be seen in larger, delicately painted tiles with deep blue and green floral and geometric patterns. These sorts of tiles would look great in a rustic, Moroccan bathroom, but the shape and style of the mosaics can also be recreated with paint and stencil work if you don't have the time to lay a thousand or so tiles!
Materials: Rustic wood, brushed metal and thick fabric
Moroccan interiors are great inspiration for designs because they are authentic from top to bottom. All the materials that appear in a Moroccan interior should be traditional and fit with the theme. Most Moroccan furniture is made from wood, and the wood will often be either intricately carved or intricately painted. Windows and lighting are predominantly made from cast iron and equally as intricate, demonstrating the fact that all authentic Moroccan accessories are hand-made. Upholstery and bedding is almost always made from high quality natural fabrics - linen, cotton and wool. Incorporating these elements in your room designs isn’t easy at all, but it is the difference between a Moroccan style interior and a truly Moroccan one.
Lamp light: Intricately cut silhouettes
Cast iron and copper lanterns are commonly seen in a lot of North African or Persian styled restaurants across Australia. So perfectly do they fit with the Arabian style that you might never have imagined them outside that context in your own home. But the beauty and detail of these simple accessories can single-handedly transform your room into a Moroccan palace. The intricate metalwork, backlit with soft low wattage bulbs or candlelight is definitive of the enchanting design of Morocco. And the quality of handmade metal work doubles as a demonstration of classic Moroccan artisanship. A staple for any Moroccan interior.
Rugs: What Morocco is most famous for?
Classic Arabian rugs are the perfect example of Moroccan style. The souks of Marrakech are full of rug sellers ready to be haggled to a good price. Examples of traditional Moroccan rugs are ubiquitous, the extent of which suggests that if you want a Moroccan style in your living room, you're definitely going to need a Moroccan rug. Carpet Court has a perfect selection of simple rugs with Arabian patterns if you're looking for a modernised take on the traditional Moroccan look. http://www.carpetcourt.com.au/rugs.html
Soft furnishings: Cushions, throws and tapestry
As well as making sure you have that classic Moroccan rug, getting the overall Arabian look will require going to town on the rest of your upholstery. Deep colours and thick material is the way forward. But the more the better when it comes to cushions and throws. As most Moroccan furniture is either made of wood or metal work the upholstery is vital. Large floor cushions are also a must for getting extra guests round for that tagine dinner party.
Beyond the look: orange blossom and rose petals
If you only want the perfect Moroccan design to look good in your Facebook photos you’ll be fine sticking with some simple aesthetic rules. But if you want to go that extra mile for guests, and turn your room into something even more authentic, then you need to satisfy all the senses. Moroccan riads are renowned for their courtyards that are, more often than not, filled with the sound of trickling water and the smells of orange blossom and rose petals. A diffuser in your living room will get just that olfactory edge and fresh flowers are the simplest way to make your riad style room feel like the real thing.