Details like the cowhide-upholstered chair and iron lamp add to the delight.

Southwestern Decorating

Architecture is the jumping-off point for this Southwestern living room's intriguing decor. The step-down design of the entry -- complete with massive pillars -- is a dramatic preview for the room beyond. Pairing bricks with wood is also a method to increase visual interest.

The creamy stucco walls and the wood-covered ceiling are traditional in the Southwest. The visual weight of the beams suggests a vernacular that has endured for centuries with very few changes.

In order to allow the character of the room to reign, furnishings needed to be straightforward, unpretentious, and minimal. To offset the chocolate-brown upholstery and the rich leather chairs, bright Navajo rugs and green plants are all that's required.

Pulling the chairs and furniture away from the wall and allowing them to float makes better use of the space and also stretches the room visually.

Antique trunks with iron handles serve as both end tables and hideaways for books and magazines.

Accents of black iron hark back to the Spanish influence in the area. Best of all, the interesting armoire doesn't give a clue it's hiding electronics so, when the doors are closed, the ambiance remains undisturbed.

The owners of this Southwestern room might enjoy lounging on floor pillows by the crackling fire. But, likely, the window seat attracts more attention, especially at sunset when the rugged landscape blazes with color.

The wide-open spaces of the Southwest have inspired many decorating styles. See the next page for an interpretation of spacious style in an urban setting.

To learn more about interior design and get tips and information on decorating your home, visit:

  • Interior Decorating: Get tips on how to decorate your home and read about organizing a project and selecting an interior design that fits your lifestyle.
  • Home Decorating Tips: Learn about home decorating styles and get tips on how to plan and complete decorating projects.
  • Decorating a Room: Find out how to decorate a room from floor-to-ceiling.
  • How to Design a Kitchen: Create a kitchen that works for you and get tips on how to choose and place appliances and create a decorating scheme.
  • Kids Rooms: Get tips on decorating your child's room, with information on colors, smart strategies, and money-saving tips.