1000 and 1 Nights: Middle Eastern Motifs in Interior Design

kips bay showhouse pulp design studio middle eastern inspired interior design living room red and gold

After the adaptation of the Thousand and One Nights fairy tale was published in the early 18th century, the Middle East became extremely popular in Europe. Charmed by the culture, design aesthetics, and region’s valuable materials, it is only natural people around the world fell in love with the Middle Eastern style. The influences became especially popular in interior design where today top interior designers around the world blend Middle Eastern motifs into modern design masterpieces using a couple of key stylistic parameters.

If you are planning a Middle Eastern-inspired interior design be sure to consider the several different stylistic directions of the East. Better yet, go visit! Head to the Arab Emirates and experience the local traditional interiors for some full-on authentic inspiration. And while you are at it, indulge with the services of a Dubai car rental Lamborghini for a full-on site-seeing tour of examples of Middle Eastern design motifs and concepts. If you can’t visit the Middle East in person just yet don’t worry. This article will help you navigate the key elements of the Middle Eastern interior design style.


How to Incorporate Middle Eastern Motifs in Interior Design


Fixed Decor

Cover the walls with fabric in rich colors (brocade, velvet, silk, moire) or paste over with wallpaper that imitates textiles. Though you can just hang everything with carpets, it is common to decorate the walls and ceilings with wooden mosaics as well. In this case, wooden sticks attach to plates to form geometric shapes; mother of pearl or wooden rosettes decorate rhombuses, stars, and rectangles formed from the joints.

Paint your window frames dark brown. Additionally, replace the glass with stained-glass windows or paint geometric ornaments with stained-glass paints. Ideally, if you have the opportunity to, make the door and window openings in the form of horseshoe or lancet arches.

Cover the floors with thick carpets. Not only for the look but also for comfort as sitting on the floor is often preferred in the Middle East.

Interior by Ramzy Alaa
Design by Ramzy Alaa Interiors

The Colors of the Middle East

The color palette in Middle Eastern interiors is warm, rich, and very bright. It is this palette that creates the right mood and atmosphere of warmth and hospitality. Here are some of the most common shades:

  • Bright red
  • Raspberry
  • Emerald
  • Blue
  • Golden
  • Bronze
  • Intense green
  • Yellow and sand
  • Orange
Interior by Natalia Miyar Atelier
Interior by Natalia Miyar Atelier
hypnotic sconce by koket luxury lighting metal and smoked glass

All About Mood Lighting

Light in Middle Eastern design often takes on a diffused, muted, and yellowish tint. This look instantly creates a relaxed atmosphere. The central element in lighting for this style is a forged chandelier. Commonly seen suspended by chains from the ceiling.

Furthermore, forged lamps made of colored glass are another integral part of this interior style. In these multi-shaped lighting fixtures, there are cultural motifs in the form of the moon, stars, and geometric patterns. 

Interior by Aline Asmar d’Amman of Culture in Architecture (Photo by Walid Rashid)
Interior by Aline Asmar d’Amman, architect and founder of Culture in Architecture (Photo by Walid Rashid)

Middle Eastern Style Furniture

The Middle Eastern interior does not usually use cabinet furniture, to which Western cultures are very accustomed. However, they do include distinct furniture choices worth exploring.

The design style often incorporates low, small tables in unusual shapes. In the Middle East, according to tradition, it is customary to sit directly on pillows that lie on the floor. Accordingly, the tables are lower to the ground. 

When it comes to the bedroom, beds are almost always installed in the center of the room. On the sides, they place the usual furniture pieces or beautiful tables for various, little objects. 

Textiles, Textiles & More Textiles

Middle Eastern style is known throughout the world for its use of luxury textiles. Their abundance is a distinctive feature of the style. There are a large variety of fabric options when designing this style space. Heavy, rich velvet and velour, embroidered tapestry, light, and elegant silk are all examples. The Middle Eastern world utilizes lots of rugs, weightless canopies, and curtains with hangings decorated with tassels. The style also favors an abundance of colorful pillows on sofas, armchairs, beds, and on the floor instead of the usual armchairs.

Interior by B. Pila Design
Interior by B. Pila Design

Finishing Touches

Handicrafts are a special atmospheric decoration in the Middle Eastern interior. They give a special charm and uniqueness to each interior. The brightest element, almost always, is the carpets. And as we know, they are greatly abundant in this style of interior. Natural wool makes up these carpets. 

Even though the Middle Eastern style house is a riot of color and decoration, the space’s style allows you to discover the golden meaning among the design’s many ornamental elements. Moreover, the easily recognizable Middle Eastern traits can be used merely as decor highlights. The world of the Middle East will shine as a small breath of warmth in your home.

Feature Image: Kips Bay Showhouse living room by Pulp Design Studios (Photo by Cody Ulrich)


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