Traveling is one of my passions. I love visiting new places, particularly different countries, to learn about local styles, cultures, and customs. Traveling to a foreign country can make such an impression on those of us with wanderlust that many times we find ourselves wanting to bring a piece of our journey home with us. When I’m traveling abroad, I look for different elements that I can incorporate into my home, not only to evoke memories of my time at that particular place, but also to add elements of its culture to my own aesthetic.
What Is a Global Design Style?
What exactly is a global style in the world of design? Your assumption is probably correct: global design is an interior decorating style inspired by cultures from around the world, mixing patterns, textures, and objects to reflect the lifestyles of those in other places. This style allows you to fondly remember vacations that you enjoyed, honor traditions and customs of cultures you admire, and/or display your appreciation for the craftsmanship that often goes into unique, worldly creations. Widely interpretive and dependent on individual experience (and taste), global style does not adhere to strict design rules. Rather, it focuses on unique expression based on one’s own experiences.
5 Common Elements Found in Global Style
1). Patterns. Whether you prefer Indian mandalas, Asian florals, or African batiks, patterns—and the mixing and matching of several different patterns—are a cornerstone of global style. You might pair an Aztec rug with a complementary mosaic side table, or incorporate the colors of your bathroom’s Spanish Talavera tile into your duvet cover.
2). Artifacts and objects. Display treasures you’ve picked up during your travels to convey a worldly atmosphere. Wooden masks or animal carvings, for example, might be the perfect way to honor African traditions within your home. Suzani throw pillows or colorful textiles might harken memories of a trip to India. Wall art, vases, and sculptures can evoke the same vibes, so be sure to keep these in mind while browsing during your next international trip.
3). Colors. Deep, vibrant, saturated hues are welcome in global design style, so don’t be afraid to use them—and several combinations of them! Jewel-toned colors such as rich saffron, amethyst, and curry can convey strong Middle Eastern influence, while gold, crimson, and black might suggest Asian inspiration. If you’d prefer a less-is-more approach, add pops of bright colors to an otherwise neutral palette of browns, tans, and creams.
4). Textures. Playing with textures is another way to infuse a global design style into your home. Consider pieces made of carved wood, rattan, or bamboo. Look for accents with a three-dimensional draw, such as jute rugs, woven baskets, or velvety fabrics. A variety of textures pairs especially well with the rich colors used in global style.
5). Storytelling. Above all, a home decorated in a global style should be unique, personal, and eclectic. It should focus less on textbook design elements and more on telling a story, whether it’s of a culture that inspires you or your own travels.
Which geographic areas will influence your home’s global design style? Will your selections give off Asian vibes, pay homage to African culture, or feature some highlights from your last visit to Europe? Remember: there is no right answer. Regardless of which countries inspire you the most, a global design style can help you reflect your love of other cultures and leave guests encouraged by the story your home tells.