26 Southwestern Decorating Ideas for 2024

By Interior Designer, Tracy Svendsen | Published Oct 30, 2023 | Updated May 05, 2024 | 

Southwestern Decorating Ideas: Decorating in a southwestern style can add character to your home. The warm colors, natural materials, and bold patterns in this design aesthetic create a cozy and inviting space. Additionally, southwestern decor often incorporates elements of Native American and Spanish culture, adding a unique and rich cultural touch to the design aesthetic. 

Whether you live in the Southwest or appreciate the style, decorating with a Southwestern style can bring comfort and charm to any home. The West and Southwest have not disappeared from the scene. If anything, today’s style brings fresh good looks, mix-and-match capabilities, and the widespread appeal of sprawling land, blue skies, towering pines, and majestic vistas. 

Twenty-first-century Western style is glamorous, upbeat, refined, colorful, comfortable, and anything but kitschy! It’s a look we wholly embrace, and there’s enough variety to accommodate a vast world of preferences.

Nancy Farina of the California Design Center describes Southwestern style architecture as “large rooms, high ceilings, and huge entryways to reflect the vastness of the Southwest landscape.”  Feature image above courtesy of Jobe Corral Architects.

Modern Southwestern Decorating Ideas | Tracy Svendsen Design

Modern Southwestern Decorating Ideas | Visual Conception by Tracy Svendsen

What is Southwestern Interior Design?

Southwestern design is a popular style that incorporates elements inspired by the beautiful landscapes of the American Southwest. Warm, earthy colors, bold tribal patterns, and natural materials like wood, stone, and leather characterize this design style

One of the most iconic elements of southwestern design is the vibrant geometric patterns found in everything from textiles to furniture. Another key feature of this style is rustic materials like adobe, rough-hewn wood, and terra cotta tiles. Southwestern design is about creating a warm and welcoming environment that reflects the Southwest’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage.

Here are some ideas to get you started: 

1. Neutral Base

Neutral colors like beige, gray, and white walls provide a calming and versatile backdrop that allows southwestern decor’s natural textures and patterns to shine. They also provide the perfect backdrop for layering warm earth tones and vivid splashes of color.

Southwestern Living Room Ideas

Southwestern Decorating Ideas for the Living Room
Image courtesy of Architectural Alliance

2. Reclaimed Wood

Reclaimed wood adds a unique, rustic charm that perfectly complements the warm and earthy tones often found in this style. The character and history of each piece of reclaimed wood can bring a sense of authenticity and personality to any southwestern space. Reclaimed wood is an innovative and stylish choice for southwestern design, whether for a feature wall, furniture piece, or accent decor.

Southwestern Decorating Ideas

Open & Spacious Southwestern Living Room
Image courtesy of Estately

3. Earthy Tones In The Living Space

Earth tones are an essential component of southwestern design. The region’s natural beauty inspires the colors in the earth, rocks, and mountains surrounding it. Using earth tones in southwestern design helps create a warm, inviting, rustic, and sophisticated atmosphere. It is also a great way to bring a touch of the outdoors inside, which is perfect for those who love nature.

Some popular colors in southwestern design include warm earth tones such as rusty reds, deep oranges, and golden yellows. These colors are often paired with cool blues and greens, creating a beautiful contrast. 

Additionally, neutral shades like beige and brown are frequently used to balance out the boldness of the brighter hues. Overall, the colors in Southwestern design are inspired by the region’s natural beauty and evoke a sense of warmth, comfort, and familiarity.

Southwestern Decorating Ideas

Sante Fe Southwestern-Style Living Room | Southwestern Decorating Ideas
Image courtesy of Sotheby’s Realty

4. Wrought Iron

Wrought iron is quintessential to this style and adds a rustic and authentic feel to the decor. It’s versatile for decor, lighting fixtures, furniture, and accessories. Many southwestern homes have intricate black wrought iron staircase railings due to the influence of Spanish home design, as the Spanish were the first European settlers to inhabit the area centuries ago.

Southwestern Style Living Room

Southwestern Living Room
Image courtesy of David Naylor Interiors

5. Mid-Century Furniture

Mid-century furniture is an excellent choice for those who want to incorporate timeless style into their southwestern design. The clean lines, minimalist design, and organic shapes of mid-century furniture perfectly complement southwestern decor’s natural elements and rustic aesthetic. Plus, mid-century pieces are often made of high-quality materials, ensuring they will last for many years.

Southwestern Living Room Ideas

Pueblo-Style Living Room by Helen Thompson | Southwestern Decorating Ideas
Image courtesy of Cowboys Magazine

6. Leather Furniture

Leather looks visually stunning, but it’s also incredibly durable and easy to maintain. Leather furniture can add a rustic and natural feel to your home, perfect for southwestern design.

How to Decorate in Southwestern Style

A Bland Ranchouse Transformed into a Southwestern-Inspired Paradise
Image courtesy of Architectural Digest

7. Stucco Walls

Stucco is a durable material that can withstand extreme weather conditions, making it a practical option for homes in the desert. Stucco is a versatile material that can be shaped and colored to fit a variety of design styles, instantly adding a Southwestern vibe.

This beautiful vacation home was designed by Sara & Rich Combs, who own several homes with a relaxed Southwestern style. One of the design mantras they swear by is designing with natural materials as they tend to enhance with us and celebrate age as character.

They implement this design principle throughout their homes, including rustic woods, natural fibers, and earthenware. They wanted to find a sofa that would allow a casual atmosphere where guests could enjoy themselves without fear of ‘ruining’ something.

Southwestern Decorating Ideas

Southwestern Living Room in Joshua Tree, California
Image courtesy of The Joshua Tree House

8. Navajo Throw Pillows

One of the main advantages of using Navajo textiles in your Southwestern design is that they add a sense of cultural authenticity. These textiles have a rich history and are steeped in tradition, so incorporating them into your décor is a great way to pay homage to the Navajo people and their heritage.

In addition to their cultural significance, Navajo throw pillows and blankets are incredibly versatile. They come in various colors, patterns, and materials, so you can easily find the perfect match for your existing décor. Whether you’re looking for a bold, statement piece or a subtle accent, Navajo textiles offer plenty of options.

Rustic Southwestern Pillow
Rustic Southwestern Blanket

Paseo Road Taos Southwestern Pillows

9. Longhorn Skulls

Longhorn skulls have been a prominent symbol in southwestern design for centuries. They represent the strength and resilience of the Wild West and its inhabitants. 

Adding longhorn skulls to southwestern decor gives a space a rustic, organic, and earthy feel. The intricate design of the horns and the skull make for a striking visual element that can be used in various ways, from wall art to table centerpieces.

Rustic Bedrooms Decorating Ideas

Bedroom with Navajo Throw Pillows & Skull Above Bed | Southwestern Decorating Ideas
Image courtesy of Locati Architects

10. Colorful Terracotta Tile

Terracotta tiles provide a rustic charm, and their earthy tones complement the natural hues in southwestern decor. Terracotta tile is also durable and easy to maintain, making it a practical choice for high-traffic areas like entryways or kitchens. 

Plus, with its timeless appeal, terracotta tile can add value and style to your home for years. These orange/brown tiles bring in warm tones that help create a dessert vibe.

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