5 International Influences for Redecoration Inspiration

We’ve talked a lot this week about news of the country and its effect on real estate. We’ve talked about the hard work of selling your home, and what you should do to get your place ready in these tricky economic times. But now Friday’s here. We’ve earned a break—or even a vacation. Let’s take a trip abroad to see what our foreign neighbors can teach us about home decorating. Have a yen for simplicity? Look to Japan. Want to spice up the kitchen? Check out the colors and flavors of Mexico. After all, making your house as beautiful as possible might help you sell it, yes; but let’s not forget it might also make living there in the meantime a lot more enjoyable.

Our top 5 International Picks (in alpha-order)

1. Holland: Intellectual

The Dutch design aesthetic is hard to pin down: it is at once modern and retro; serious and playful. Influences on architecture and interior design converge to create truly intellectual living spaces, but not the kind of intellect that takes itself too seriously.

From the Dutch we can learn to rethink our use of space, color, and the way we arrange our most used items. We can rethink furniture shape as well.

2. India: Spiritual

The bold, rich colors of India bring a kind of exotic luxury to any room: silver and crimson red, mustard yellow and bright gold. These colors appear on shiny, sheer, and fabrics, sometimes draped from the ceiling to intimate a kind of secret hide away, a sanctuary within the home.

Furniture and architecture are also distinct with ornate Eastern shapes that evoke the ancient history of this country.

3. Japan: Simplicity

The muted colors of Japanese decorating draw influence from nature’s quieter elements: fog, moss, rivers, stones. Paired with a geometric sensibility, Japanese décor can create a feeling of order that’s both calming and spacious, while textures achieve a balance of opposing forces: rice paper strengthened by bamboo; cedar softened by silk: woven mats atop wood or granite surfaces.

Different from western traditions, eastern traditions do not generally seek to mix multiple colors, preferring instead a bold statement through emphasis on a single color. Japanese design also makes use of black and white to create definition.

4. Mexico: Celebration

Mexico is a country that celebrates all aspects of life, even death. We can draw much inspiration from the generous use of primary colors, the mix of metizo style artifacts with those of European traditions.

Mexican décor relies on pine, painted tiles, copper, pottery, and much allusion and homage to its past.

Don’t forget the garden! Mexicans know how to celebrate the flora and fauna too.

5. Spain: Austerity

Elements of Spain of course turn up in Mexican decorating, but Spain has its own aesthetic. Traditional décor draws heavily on dark wood, tall ceilings, and straight lines. Cleverly placed and ornate Moorish embellishments in doorways and built-in cabinets create a quiet yet evocative space. The use of bright color is subtle and slight.

Decorations such as rich tapestries, large hand-woven rugs, and pottery bring cheer to what might otherwise be a severe tableau, while curving iron staircases bring elegance.

Those are our top 5 for this Friday. Obviously, we’ve barely scratched the surface in a world with over 190 countries. Wherever you draw your influences, the way you decorate, clean, and care for your home creates a feeling there in. We ask then: why not create the kind of feeling that actually feels good? And if you have a success story, an excellent “make over” or infusion of international flair in your home, we’d love to hear about it. Share in the comments below!