Karl Lohnes: Create Moroccan chic with spicy colours and exotic decor

Rich colours and layered, intricate patterns make for an exotic getaway room.


Morocco is a meeting place for the many cultural design influences that surround it. The flavours of Spain, Portugal and southern France mix with northwest African and Persian influences to create a unique blend of architecture and design that’s both luxurious and vibrant. If an exotic travel-themed decor appeals to the adventurous designer in you, here is how to bring home a little North Africa.

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COLOUR & PATTERN: Rich turquoise, pink and orange are a few classic Moroccan colours that happen to be on trend for home decor this year. Consider a moody room with deep versions of a Moroccan palette on walls and painted floors and in patterned fabrics. If dark is not your game, then bright white walls and furnishings will come alive with pops of richly coloured accents in these exotic hues. Textiles with detailed patterns of intricate geometrics and ornately carved wood furnishings — especially in stylized latticework and arch patterns — will instantly evoke Moroccan style.

Whether hung or leaning, a Tika lamp will add ornate patterns to your walls and ceilings when lit at night. $177, Artemano.ca


LIGHTING: Perforated-metal lanterns and coloured glass are staples in Moroccan lighting decor. From hanging to tabletop, electrified to candlelit, the soft, diffused light will create shadows and colours throughout the room. The magical effect is entrancing — you can never have too many lanterns in a space. Slowly spinning ceiling fans with integrated light fixtures not only help circulate warm summer air and add lighting overhead, they bring a Casablanca vibe where Bogart and Bergman would feel right at home.

FLOORING: It’s all about the floor in Moroccan design. Tiled floors in geometric patterns are how Moroccan homes are kept cool in a hot climate. Furnishings are typically low to stay close to the coolness of the floor, but accessorized with durable blankets (for those cool desert nights), upholstered poufs and over-sized pillows that add comfort and a soft element for those who want to lounge. Considering a Moroccan-style bedroom? Choose a low-platform bed (or better yet, a box spring and mattress sitting directly atop a slightly larger, must-have Moroccan rug).

PLANTS: From small potted plants for the windowsill to large palms and other exotics, greenery helps create a lush oasis feel in a Moroccan room. (They also help clean the air and cool down the feeling of a bright, sunny room). Interesting containers like baskets, metal cans and glazed terracotta pots will add an eclectic look to your interior and are fun to collect during faraway travels and at summer yards sales.

The grey Amirah coffee table offers storage while highlighting raised wood arch patterns similar to those found in crafted Moroccan furnishings. $829, UrbanBarn.com


SCENTS: I’m a big believer in scenting your home to evoke the environment you want to create. Incense, diffusers and candles will help create a sensual mood throughout your home. Scents like black pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg will give your space the scent of a Moroccan souk. I like to use incense only in outdoor areas (such as terrasses and balconies) as the smoke can linger too heavily on indoor fabrics. Simply boiling your favourite spices is an easy way to scent your home, too.

Diptyque’s Ambre candle evokes the rich scents of earthy honey and musk, familiar to Moroccan marketplaces. $130. HoltRenfrew.com


Spicy tips that add Moroccan style

• Renting or afraid to paint strong colours? Consider wallpapering with a Moroccan pattern on one wall. Today’s wallpapers are easily removed when you move out or tire of the pattern.

• Pillows are the easiest way to make short-term, affordable purchases that capture the look. After all, can you really have too many pillows on the sofa or bed?

• Don’t forget sound to enhance the style mood. Moroccan music is a blend of heavy drum and Arabic vocals. Set the tone for your stylish, new look by having some authentic music playing softly in the background.

Got a decor dilemma? You can ask Karl at [email protected]

Karl Lohnes has worked as a home decor expert and product designer for 25 years. He appears Thursdays during the 8 a.m. hour on Global News Morning Montreal.



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