Moor, Moor, Moor – decorating your home in Moroccan style
Bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, Morocco is a fascinating and culturally rich country that has been influenced from a diverse range of civilisations, says interior design expert Richenda Oldham, including Berber, Jewish, Arabic, French and Spanish.
Moroccan interior style is a colourful and exotic melting pot that is actively drawn from Moorish architecture with its characteristic domes, detailed carvings, decorative tile work, courtyards and many different styles of arches from lancet to keyhole.
This incredibly versatile genre runs from the heavily ornate with bold use of colours and intricate patterns to simple whitewashed walls and spicy shades. The blend of cultures provides a heaven sent opportunity to create an eclectic look that mixes different styles and colours freely. This is a decor that can evolve slowly over time allowing you to select really special pieces of furniture or accessories.
Colour is everything for a Moroccan theme - the more dramatic the better. Eggplant purple, cinnamon red, saffron gold, terracotta, crimons and dusky burnt orange will provide a seductive atmosphere. Not surprisingly, Morocco’s different coastlines bring with a profusion of blues, including cobalt and turquoise.
It is altogether appropriate to create a simple, peaceful retreat using neutrals, such as cream, white, taupe and sand colours on the walls and focusing on accent colours and patterns to form the Moroccan theme.
Mathematically precise geometric shapes form the foundation of Moroccan decoration with a recurring theme of squares and rectangles. The eight-pointed star is another common motif, as well as flowing plant forms and traditional calligraphy. Pattern can be used to create a sense of harmony, whether it is in scatter cushions, lampshades, upholstery fabric, a blind or loose rugs.
Just a single item of Moroccan furniture can transform a room, so think carefully before you rush out to buy something new for the sake of it. Plain sofas can be themed by brightly coloured cushions and throws with geometric patterns. You can’t beat a low coffee table in the form of a traditional Moroccan brass or silver tray on metal legs. Alternatively invest in silver, brass or mother of pearl mirrors with delicate arched or hand-carved frames.
You cannot get enough loose rugs for this look – they add a luxurious feeling and will help create the right atmosphere. Similarly, scatter cushions can be put everywhere - piled in heaps on the floor, on sofas and chairs and on beds. When choosing curtain or blind fabrics, select patterns that are appropriate - stripes are always a good option.
Lamps, fabric shades, lanterns and candles are all important for creating mood. There are some amazing designs to choose from, including coloured glass lanterns and punctured metal designs.
1 Traditional Moroccan tea glasses, £18.50 for a set of six, www.maroque.co.uk
2 Spanish influenced geometric patterned encaustic tiles, £99 per square metre, www.alhambrahome.co.uk
3 Marrakesh Veda Mid roller blind, www.directblinds.co.uk
4 Indigo bazaar cushions, £5.99-£12.99, www.dunelm-mill.com
5 Kasbah mother of pearl mirror, £189, www.atkinandthyme.co.uk
6 Moroccan vintage effect candle holder with cut-out detailing, £34.95, www.madewithlovedesigns.co.uk