Decorating? Make It Moroccan!

Janet Ramin - It may have started with Valentino stealing a kiss in the casbah or Lawrence of Arabia storming across rippling sands astride a camel, but our fascination with desert cultures has had a long history and continues till today. In our latest mood board, let's explore the exotic desert land of Morocco to discover the elements of Moroccan style.

Natives of the desert have lived primarily a nomadic, tribal life and consequently their furnishings had to be portable too. Through their travels, they carried with them

  • pillows for their seating
  • small tables and folding chairs for dining
  • rugs to cover the sand 
Eventually some natives settled into walled cities - the casbah - but their homes still echo their past nomadic lifestyles. 
In our mood board above, we show the traditional pillows and ottomans that would typically grace a Moroccan home. The blue Ikat pillow and the large, fringed ottoman are both from Wunderley. The small portable Zeneb table features Moorish geometric patterns, including the pointed arches as its legs. The Hamsa Eye mirror above is made of camel bone and silverplate. Both the table and mirror are available from Casbah Décor. For lighting, tribesmen carried with them candlelit lanterns such as the oversized Kutubia lamp from Just Morocco. This Kutubia lamp typically sits on the floor to light the room or tent. Other Moroccan lanterns hang from a hook.
As desert natives moved into buildings, they started to build more permanent furniture. The sofa in the mood board is a typical Moroccan design, made of mahogany and accented with camel bone – by Tazi Designs. Notice that the sofa is still designed low to the ground to complement the traditional convention of sitting on floor pillows.   
Moroccan artists are famous for creating complex geometric tile designs. The background in our Mood Board shows a typical Moorish design of interlocking shapes and stars. Brilliant blues against white as well as terracotta colors – reflecting the desert – are typical color schemes found in many interiors.

Moroccans are known for their hospitality, so at every home a tray will be ready with refreshments that include dates, figs, nut-filled pastries and mint tea served in tea glasses. After a hot day in the desert, this is a welcome sight indeed!



Are you interested in learning more about the history of architecture and interior design? Take a look at Sheffield School's Complete Course in Interior Design. At Sheffield, you'll learn how to transform a space, create color schemes, and select furniture, lighting, and accessories.