Global Chic is sophisticated and adventurous, trendy and timeless. It brings to your home the spirit of various cultures that you fashion into your own personal statement. Adopt or adapt decorating styles from around the world and, while you do, gain an appreciation for the beauty and wisdom of the worldviews that are expressed in the ways in which people decorate their living spaces.
The Swedish word is “lagom.” It means “not too much and not too little” and is the balance that Scandinavians seek in every aspect of their lives. With lagom, you can have a home that is beautiful, comfortable and respectful of the environment—you needn’t sacrifice one or the other. Because Scandinavian home design is quiet and unassuming, it can live in harmony with almost any scheme. A neutral palette, such as milky whites, soothing greys and warm beiges, is simple yet elegant. Soft linen, comfy sheepskin, bulky knit blankets add texture. Natural wood or whitewashed floorboards are the perfect complement to the understated look.
As Scandinavians live through the long, dark winters, they like to brighten up their homes with sunny colors, various shades of yellow and orange, in accessories, such as throw pillows and rugs, vases and objets d’ art. The jovial colors also serve to emphasize the simplicity of the décor.
Although we would never mistake a Japanese décor for Scandinavian, the philosophy behind them is very similar. The Japanese word is “shibusa,” which means “simple, subtle and unobtrusive”—add to your space only that which is needed for an uncluttered and balanced décor that is in tune with nature. The Japanese honor their connection to nature with expansive windows or a large sliding-glass doors to let in the natural light and views of nature. Inside the home, rooms are partitioned with shojis, screens that slide back and forth, that take up less space than doors that open out. Traditionally, the screens are made of fine translucent paper that let in natural light.
Natural materials are used to decorate (e.g., bamboo, river rock, flagstone) with a simple color palette, primarily the colors of nature: the browns of wood, greens of plants, greys of stone.
“Riad” at one time referred to the courtyard that is the center of both home life and light. Today, riad refers to the way that harmony in the home is created by color, texture and light. To channel riad, create spaces dedicated to living plants, decorate with woven wall hangings or brightly colored tiles and make use of the brilliant Moroccan light. Unlike the Japanese and Scandinavians, harmony in Morocco is created with ornamentation and vibrant colors, rich jewel-tone fabric, complex designs, intricately carved partitions and a sea of floor pillows.
The pièce de résistance of Moroccan design is the pouf, a large firm cushion covered in heavy fabric used as a footstool or low seat. Prop up your feet or add chic extra seating for an unexpected guest. Top t with a tray and it’s a tea-time table or a side table for the patio. A pouf adds color, comfort and a regal touch to any room.
Swahili is Kenya’s national language and their interior design expresses “karibu,” which means “welcome.” They welcome guests into their homes with a décor as warm as the sun and sand and as exotic as the local flora and fauna. Bold patterns, vivid colors and earth tones, animal prints, wood carvings—all mirroring the splendor of the continent and a tradition of mysticism.
Key pieces are the Inkundla-inspired sofa that recreates the camaraderie of sitting in a circle; a wooden potjie, a three-legged pot originally brought to southern Africa by the Dutch; and thick wool rugs with native motifs in juxtaposed natural shades and vibrant colors.
Each island has its unique characteristics and traditions, yet there is a Caribbean identity shared by all of them. Part of that identity is “riley,” the carefree existence, authenticity and energy that flows through their interior designs. Bring the islands into your home with natural materials that are durable: rattan, bamboo, wicker and mahogany wood and vibrant colors: lime, coral, peach and yellow. Hang baskets with colorful patterns. Have a corner full of lush greenery and tropical flowers.
Or you could have an all-white room with linen curtains and small bursts of color, such as a pillow, a small rug or vivid flowers.