Wild & Warm

Take a trip to the Southwestern states for design inspiration filled with rich hues and accents filled with warmth.

By Moe Godat

Interior Designer: Mary Meinz, ASID  /  Photography by Scott Sandler

marymeinzdesign.com / sandlerphoto.com


Desert Tones 

Southwestern states are known for their gorgeous desert scenery, which often influences the color palette of this design style. Mimic the rolling red hills and orange rock formations with rusty hues, terracotta accents and a pop of cactus green. Adding an aloe vera plant or two couldn’t hurt! To expand your color palette even further, add bright sun-beam yellows and the vibrant turquoise of desert skies. 


Outdoor Adventures, Indoor Comfort 

The desert environment has many challenges year-round, so Southwestern interiors often embrace a casual comfort for homeowners and their guests. Well-worn or vintage pieces are often go-tos to help relieve the potential stress of a more formal atmosphere. When choosing fabrics, opt for weathered leathers and woven textiles. 


Leave the Sand Outside 

Sand and carpet don’t mix! Southwestern flooring typically leans toward light woods and tile for easy cleanup. To add warmth, bring in loomed or woven rugs that are easier to clean. To bring in a wider variety of color, choose a rug with a colorful, graphic print!


Soft, Natural Touches 

No matter the exterior style of your home, you can bring some adobe inspiration into your interior design through mimicking the soft, smooth lines of traditional adobe homes. Pueblo-style architecture is characterized by the use of local materials like thick, rounded masonry, stucco walls and exposed beams. To increase the resemblance, adding Spanish textiles, ironwork and natural accents, such as desert plants, should do the trick. Not much of a green thumb? Choose artwork with scenic depictions or an abstract work with your preferred colors. 


Durable Furniture 

Don’t be so delicate! Southwestern design often features heavier, more durable furniture. Think thick legs and bulky finishes. These are often easier to wipe down without requiring detailed dusting or cleaning. One of the trendiest furniture options currently available are modern versions of the Equipale chairs, originally designed by Aztec artisans approximately 500 years ago. 


Geometric Flair 

There are endless options when it comes to incorporating geometric patterns into your Southwestern design. Use vibrant, decorative tiles in your kitchen backsplash or brightly colored patterns in your window treatments. Looking for something less permanent? Ceramic pots with geometric patterns or woven throws are easily changed. 


A Bit of Boho 

Much like a bohemian-style home, Southwestern homes aren’t overly curated. Adding meaningful accents and accessories that reflect your family’s adventures is one of the surest ways to embrace Southwestern design in a way that feels truest to you.