Your Ultimate Guide to Modern Southwest Interior Design

Posted On February 2, 2023

If you find yourself longing for expansive landscapes and the warm, vibrant colors of the Southwest desert sunset, you should adopt a modern southwest interior design for your lavish home. 

The southwestern style originated in the 1920s in Southern California. Despite the number of trends that have come and gone, this concept has continued to maintain its popularity.

Creating a cohesive modern southwestern style can be challenging. Many people mix contrasting color palettes and various natural materials, resulting in a disarrayed and frenzied look.

To help you create the perfect modern southwest interior design for your home, we’ll explore what southwest interior design is and how you can achieve a chic balance between contrasting palettes and busy patterns.

What A Southwest Interior Looks Like

Southwestern interior design is characterized by a fearless sense of adventure and the intimate embrace of a welcoming home. It combines cultural influences, including Mediterranean and Spanish architecture, Native American textiles, and Western ranch life. Some of its staples include earth-toned color palettes and well-worn natural materials. 

Creating balance should be your primary focus when decorating. Your living space should have the same otherworldly feel of staring into the wide expanse of a desert and the tempting sanctuary of a cozy home: think fiery orange stucco walls and large leather seats with hand-loomed rugs. 

Modern southwest decor is popular for its earth tones, wood accents, and warm neutrals, which are all considered trendy modern decor. By carefully mixing these three styles, you will be able to create a balanced atmosphere that both stimulates your guests’ sense of wonder and gives them a safe space to unwind.

Must-have Modern Southwestern Decor

You will need a handful of home decor to successfully achieve modern southwest style. We consider these seven furnishings a staple in recreating the bold and natural look of states like New Mexico and Arizona. 

Vivid Ceramics

Talavera tiles are vibrant hand-painted ceramics originating from Puebla, Mexico. They feature intricate designs and bold shades of blue, yellow, and verdant green. Typically, you will find them on backsplashes and floors, but you can likewise use Talavera tiles almost anywhere in your home, from your exterior balcony to your archways.

Another great way to incorporate these ceramic tiles into your home is by turning them into stylish tile coasters for you and your guests to use. We recommend incorporating them into your outdoor bar to add a Spanish flair to your dinners.

Pueblo-style Architecture

Pueblo Revival architecture is a popular type of home in the American Southwest and typically features earthy materials, exposed wooden beams, and sloping roofs. These structures are designed to regulate indoor temperatures, making them extremely common in warmer regions like New Mexico. 

Key elements of Pueblo-style architecture include colonial fireplaces, enclosed courtyards, rounded exteriors, and square windows. If your home doesn’t use this architectural style, you can always select natural materials like wood and rattan for your home decor. 

We highly recommend recreating the Pueblo style for a more balanced indoor and outdoor environment, as it is perfect for entertaining guests.

Vibrant Color Palettes

Modern southwest style would feel incomplete without its vivid shades of tan, rusty orange, sunset red, and lush greens. 

While it’s true that you can use other neutral shades like beige or light yellow, more vigorous color palettes are a staple of the southwestern style. They represent the expansive desert landscapes of the American Southwest and its glorious sunsets. 

If you’d like to attempt a more minimalist iteration of the modern southwest design, we recommend pairing a neutral base with home decor that features warmer color palettes.

Geometric Patterns

Aside from the intricate designs of Talavera tiles, the geometric patterns of Navajo baskets and Southwestern rugs are also a central element in the southwestern style. 

Besides incorporating them into your rugs and table runners, we recommend looking for throw blankets and pillows which feature geometric patterns in palettes that match your color preferences.

These patterns will highlight the rich and dynamic textiles of the Native American tribes.

Textured Materials

Materials like clay, stone, grass, and iron are often incorporated into modern southwest interior design. These furnishings represent the same elements found across the landscapes of the American Southwest.

Additionally, woven wool, cotton, and linen are frequently featured in upholstery and rugs. We also suggest using rattan and woven baskets for storage or seating to add more texture to your living space.

Achieve A Sophisticated Modern Southwestern Interior Design

Now that you know the staples of creating a modern southwest interior, let’s talk about how to incorporate each piece into your home.

Start with a neutral backdrop

Because the modern southwest style uses multiple elements and colors, it would be best to maintain a neutral background for a clean and organized appearance. If you want to add a layer of texture to your base, we recommend applying a coat of Stucco to your walls. 

Think of your white walls as a blank canvas, full of possibilities. You can add a brown leather sofa to your living room and accent it with Aztec pillows or soft wool blankets. 

We also recommend using faux cowhide to hint at a West ranch aesthetic. By sticking with a neutral backdrop, you’ll be able to add more patterns and colors to your living space without overpowering each element. 

Stick with a balanced color palette

Another important tip is to maintain a balanced color palette. It can be challenging to sustain a cohesive look when using different shades of orange, red, and brown, but doing so will elevate your southwestern home to the next level. 

If you are drawn to the serene feel of sage, you can add a touch of brown or brick red to create a contrast. We likewise recommend using brass hardware for a luxurious finish to your interiors. Orange may be overpowering for some, so you can always opt for a more subtle shade of pumpkin and pair it with some greenery or gray-brown furniture. 

Look for southwestern-style rugs

The easiest way to introduce southwest interior design into your home is by investing in a luxurious southwest-style rug. You can always look for designer rugs highlighting the iconic Navajo weaving motif of intricate geometric patterns. We also recommend using one-of-a-kind vintage pieces that mirror the rustic feel of the style, like restored Persian or Turkish carpets. 

Experiment With Textures

Besides using materials like sheepskin, wool, and rattan, there are other ways you can play with textures. For instance, wrought iron complements leather materials, so you can elevate your luxurious home office by adding a leather armchair and an iron floor lamp to your living area. 

You can introduce reclaimed wood and clay pottery to your space for a naturalistic flair. Look for durable wooden coffee tables and place them in your living room on top of your southwestern rug. And if you want to add greenery to your living space, such as cacti and succulents, you can showcase them in decorative clay pots. 

Balance is key

The modern southwest style is a versatile concept that allows you to curate it according to your preferences. But remember that balance is vital in creating a chic, put-together living space. The style often incorporates different dimensions and layers, making it important to limit conflicting colors and design elements to one area. 

You can visit our website for more tips on creating stylish, luxury homes.