All About Moroccan Chic Design

All About Moroccan Chic Design

Decoration and Design
Interior Design
By Dikran Seferian June 16, 2022

Characterized by a blend of rich history and traditional craftsmanship, the Moroccan style of interior design prides itself in being unique. Its dramatic features, ranging from vibrant mosaics to intricate details, evoke a sense of intrigue. One aspect of this exotic form of interior decor is its devotion to everything handmade. The luxurious aesthetics that you find in Moroccan-style homes stand testament to the skilled artisans who craft each item by hand, one by one.

The Moroccan interior style form draws its influence from the Moorish design of the Orient and the shapes and colors of the Sahara. Moreover, its complex beauty inspires many homes outside of Morocco to adopt the fascinating style. 

What Is Moroccan Design?

With Europe to its north, the Middle East to its east, and the rest of Africa to its south, Morocco’s design style borrows elements from various cultures. These include the Mediterranean countries, Arabia, Persia, and the rest of Africa. This distinctive form of designing interiors also features a strong blend of Berber and Islamic styles. Some of the most recognizable elements you may notice in Moroccan-style interior design include vibrant colors, geometric shapes, and zellij tilework (terracotta tiles made of enamel set in plaster to produce mosaic forms). The result is an iconic style that has gained popularity across the world. 

Elements of Moroccan Chic Design

The warm climate of Morocco means spending a lot of time indoors. This prompted homeowners into creating an airy and elegant living space with vivid colors, luxurious furniture, potted houseplants, charming accessories, and plenty of natural light. If the style appeals to your sensibilities, you can achieve the Moroccan chic design by adopting these elements in your home. 

Glimmering Colors

Dazzling arrays of colors give the Moroccan style a charming character.

Dazzling arrays of colors give the Moroccan style a charming character.

Morocco’s picturesque landscape is the primary source of inspiration for the design style’s rich color palette. While shades of blue and turquoise hint evoke views of the sea, green hues hint towards the iconic date trees. Warm reds and oranges, on the other hand, allude to the idyllic sunsets whereas tones of gold and silver suggest desert vistas.

You can achieve a Moroccan-inspired living space by selecting a rich shade of orange or terracotta for the walls. As for furnishings, consider opting for red or green fabrics with intricate details. Moroccan home accents such as throw pillows in contrasting hues like blue, gold, or pink can tie the space together. If you wish, you can kick it up a notch by covering the lower section of the walls in intricate, colorful mosaics — similar to the ones that typically adorn the floors in Moroccan interiors.

If a neutral palette better suits your taste, gentle tones reflecting the desert can be just as ideal for achieving the Moroccan style. Consider going for white walls and combinations of beige, cream, and taupe for upholstery. You can add a sense of dimension with textured fabrics and woven textiles for cushions and throw pillows — but more on that later. 

Elegant Furniture

Moroccan-style interiors are known to feature low-lying furniture such as poufs, divans, and ottomans.

Moroccan-style interiors are known to feature low-lying furniture such as poufs, divans, and ottomans.

Moroccan-style furniture is designed with maximum repose and comfort in mind. Examples include poufs, ottomans, ornate tables, and low-set sofas. The unique character of Moroccan furnishings reveals itself in the rough-hewn features, detailed carvings, and nacre (also known as mother-of-pearl) or mosaic inlays. Upholstered pieces typically feature silks and velvets.

Luxurious fabrics in lavish colors, intricate patterns, and rich textures are key to applying the Moroccan furniture style to your interior. That being said, consider using lush fabrics such as Moroccan wedding blankets to cover everything from seats to tables. You can take the Moroccan chic design to another level by draping sheer silk above seating areas, dining spaces, and bed canopies. 

Traditional Structures and Patterns

Structural elements such as arched doorways are the cornerstone of Moroccan design.

Structural elements such as arched doorways are the cornerstone of Moroccan design.

Moroccan homes traditionally feature arched doorways and windows. The arches are either cusped or shaped in the Islamic key-hole figure. Also referred to as the Moorish arch, the design draws inspiration from Spain — particularly the Islamic architecture of Andalusia.

You may also notice geometric (tastir) and floral (tawriq) patterns adorning various surfaces. These fascinating patterns are used as an alternative to portrayals of human and animal figures — which are frowned upon in Islamic art. Repetitions of geometric patterns across surfaces are known as “Arabesque” and they symbolize eternity. 

Decorative Tiles

https://stock.adobe.com/images/stairwell-in-a-courtyard-in-a-moroccan-riad/83689914 Zellij tilework is one of the most notable features of Moroccan-style design.

Another notable element of the Moroccan style is mosaic tilework known as zellij. Aside from flooring, these decorative tiles appear on various surfaces including table tops, door and window frameworks, accent pieces, and wall art. Zellij tiles appear abundantly in homes and enclosed courtyards (also known as riads) throughout Morocco. Even fountains in private, as well as public gardens, are usually adorned with vibrant mosaic tilework.

Initially influenced by Persian tiling and later by the Roman approach, Morocco used the two styles to develop its own. Moroccan-style tiles are nowadays available in a wide array of colors and patterns. To transform your living spaces into a Moroccan paradise, consider going for mosaic flooring in strategic areas such as entryways and hallways. Zellij tiles can even make for lovely kitchen flooring. Adding a couple of potted palm plants reinforces the style. 

Charming Textures

Texture in Moroccan design is key for both comfort and aesthetic value.

Texture in Moroccan design is key for both comfort and aesthetic value.

Among the most important Moroccan design elements is texture. This applies to everything from stucco walls to silk tapestries to handwoven pillow covers. Contrasting textures are an ideal way to incorporate a rich layer to the Moroccan style, thereby adding visual interest.

 There are several interior design techniques that help you achieve this contrast. One way is to be generous with the number of throw pillows on sofas and beds. Create diversity by adding pillows with different textures, colors, and patterns. An additional way to create contrast with texture is by pairing stucco walls with mosaic tiles or carved detailing.

Besides the aesthetic appeal, certain textures in Moroccan design are meant to maximize comfort. Silk and velvet, for instance, are insanely soft to the touch; and it comes as no surprise that they are the go-to choice for beds and sofas in Moroccan homes. 

Eye-Catching Accessories

Charming accessories make up an integral part of Moroccan chic homes.

Charming accessories make up an integral part of Moroccan chic homes.

Everything from houseplants to mirrors, to accent pieces, plays a defining role in Moroccan chic design. Creating a tasteful blend of these accessories will help you introduce the exotic style to your home.

Pendant lamps featuring geometric shapes made of cut metal, carved wood, or stained glass are a mainstay in Moroccan decor. These unique adornments can additionally serve as accent lighting. Tropical plants such as date, banana, palm, and papyrus trees in large, ornate pots are also common in Moroccan living spaces. Another recurring element of the design style involves placing decorative copper trays or kettles on poufs and tables. Mirrors can get the Moroccan treatment too with a mosaic-tiled or Moorish arched framework. 

Alluring Textiles

Create a Moroccan-style setting by stacking an abundance of cushions on a Berber rug.

Create a Moroccan-style setting by stacking an abundance of cushions on a Berber rug.

Abundantly draping and flowing throughout Moroccan-style interiors are textiles awash with rich colors. You’ll often see fabrics like silk and gauze-like sheers used for dividing rooms, covering windows, or simply throwing on furniture. Textiles also appear in the form of floor coverings such as Berber rugs and flat-woven kilim rugs. The latter are primarily used as prayer rugs but have become popular for home decor applications. Consider accentuating a Berber or kilim rug by pairing it with a bunch of throw pillows and floor cushions. 

Enticing Scents

The right combination of fragrances can evoke a Moroccan vibe.

The right combination of fragrances can evoke a Moroccan vibe.

A pleasant fragrance can set the right mood in a Moroccan-style living space. To provide the final touch, choose a combination of candles, incense, or diffusers that exude rich scents of spices such as saffron, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Consider trying the delightful aroma of jasmine or rose with hints of ginger, clove, orange, and the earthy tones of sandalwood.

Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian