Morocco — simply saying the name inspires images of a romantic and exciting location. Many of us will never have the opportunity to travel to Casablanca or Marrakech, but we can bring Morocco to us.
Designers are using Moroccan furniture and accessories to create a look that is luxurious and to bring a touch of the exotic into our lives. The effect of Moroccan designs can be powerful and soothing. The country of Morocco absorbs elements of surrounding cultures: France, Spain and Portugal. It is also strongly influenced by proximity to the Mediterranean, Africa and Persia, as well as traditions of Islam. When all these cultures, colors and traditions mesh, a unique style emerges.
Color and craftsmanship are the two defining elements of Moroccan decor. The colors are designed to punctuate the surrounding sea, sand and sky of the country. Light is an essential element of the Moroccan style. Natural light floods into Moroccan homes, while lighting fashioned from metal, colored glass and wood creates a romantic mood within interiors. Craftsmanship is evident in even the smallest accessory. Textiles are influenced by lush, rich, beautiful saturated colors. But the weight of these fabrics is light and airy, providing a sense of floating through space. The rugs are soft and patterned with tribal motifs or simple light-colored prayer mats.
The furniture is powerful and alluring. The intricate use of mosaic patterns, inlaid with stones, shells, glass and ceramics, is unique to Moroccan furnishings. Place a Moroccan table in a room, and it demands your attention. Unlike some other design styles, it is happy to play well with others. Just one piece can accomplish so much.
Moroccan lighting casts a spell like no other. The light pattern created by the tiny pierced holes in metal or wood shades sends thousands of little sparks of light dancing on walls, ceilings and floors. Add colored glass to these fixtures and the effect is magical.
Mosaic tiles are one of the most recognizable aspects of Moroccan art and architecture. The colorful designs are busy and work best when used as the only accent in a space. Keeping the surrounding surfaces neutral and unadorned allows the true beauty of the tiles to explode.
Decorating with a touch of Moroccan design is like taking a wonderful summer vacation without leaving home.
Designer and home improvement expert Vicki Payne is host and producer of “For Your Home,” available on PBS, Create TV and in national and international syndication.