What is Moroccan Style and Design?
For those of you who love to travel and immerse yourself in different cultures from around the world, Morocco is sure to feed your wanderlust. Awash with colours, fragrances and sounds and oozing style, it is easy to see why so many people want to bring a touch of this wonderful country into their homes.
If you would like to enjoy the feeling of year-round sunshine in the comfort of their own home, Moroccan style interior design is a very popular choice. Whether you want to relax in a traditional Marrakech Riad inspired bedroom, or you want your outdoor space to take you back to the bustling squares of Casablanca, you can achieve a taste of North Africa every day.
There are lots of ways that you can introduce Moroccan features into your home, including the following:
- Use traditional Moroccan lanterns to add warm lighting to a room
- If you cannot decorate a whole room, invest in colourful cushions to brighten up an old sofa
- Use mosaic tiles in your garden for authentic North African al fresco dining
- Put your feet up on a Moroccan style pouffe
- Make a statement in your living room with a bold print rug or set of curtains
Whether you are a fan of colour or prefer your home decor to be understated, you can make a big impact with rich Moroccan furnishings.
What are the features of Moroccan Design?
Moroccan design is a timeless look that focuses on colour, texture and shapes to add exotic, eastern elegance to any home. More and more people are drawing on Moroccan influences in their design choices, from desert-inspired colours and bold shapes to a mixture of intricate patterns and minimalist Tadelakt finishes to reflect the traditional looks of ancient riads.
Here are some distinctive Moroccan design features that you can incorporate into your home decor.
Moroccan architecture is a blend of Berber and Islamic styles that have been influenced by centuries of Arab and European cultures. U-shapes, domes, arches and wooden beams are distinctive architectural features in Moroccan homes. Outdoors, courtyards are typically adorned with lush plants, terracotta pots and a central water feature.
Geometric patterns and bright colours make up the intricate designs of traditional zillij tiles. They can be used to tile bathrooms, kitchen splashbacks and countertops. Alternatively, use them to create a feature wall or on accent pieces such as mirror or picture frames.
Opulence and luxury are defined by rich coloured textiles: from gold threaded silks to sheer drapes.
Rugs are a great way to add warmth and contrasting colours to your rooms. For an authentic Moroccan look, choose woven kilim rugs. Originating from the Balkans and Pakistan, kilim rugs were traditionally used as prayer rugs in Morocco, and they are becoming more popular in Western home decor.
Typical Moroccan colours such as deep reds, vivid greens and blues and earthy, sandy colours are influenced by the natural landscape of the Sahara desert and the Atlas Mountains.
Moroccan style furniture is a combination of beautifully carved wood and plush, overfilled cushions, ottomans and sofas. The contrasting hard and soft items also create the perfect acoustic balance for modern-day surround sound home theatre systems.
Metal lamps made from brass or copper can be hung from the ceilings or used as decorative accessories in bathrooms and outside courtyards. Luxurious fabrics are used in curtains, upholstery and heavily woven rugs adding opulence and warmth.
Hints of gold and silver are often used in Moroccan designs, from fabrics, upholstery and bedding, to accessories such as vases, mirror frames and hand-painted furniture.
Intricately patterned brass or copper lanterns are also a Moroccan feature that adds a romantic touch to bathrooms and living areas.
For a truly authentic Moroccan look, take your influence from the ancient riads of Marrakech. Interior and exterior walls have been plastered in this natural, polished finish for centuries in North Africa.
Tadelakt is a beautiful, practical and incredibly durable lime based plaster that can be used in kitchens, bathrooms and living areas to create a seamless, elegant and minimalist feature to your walls, ceilings and floors.
Which Buildings Typify Moroccan Design?
Morocco has a long, colourful and diverse history that has been influenced by different cultures over the centuries. Saharan, Islamic, African and European cultures mix together to create a beautiful and fascinating culture that is especially reflected in the architecture.
Vibrant, intricate patterns blend with natural, earthy colours of the desert to create an architectural look that is uniquely Moroccan. Here’s a look at some of the fascinating buildings that make up the rich history of Moroccan culture.
Stunning mosques can be found in every city, town and village in Morocco. Every mosque has an elaborately decorated marble and stucco mihrab indicating the way to Mecca, while fountains and walls are predominantly covered in green and white zellige, intricately designed terracotta tiles. One of the finest examples of a Moroccan mosque is the Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque found in the ancient, university city of Fez.
Riads are houses and palaces that were traditionally used by wealthy families as a private residence. They were built around a central courtyard, often featuring a fountain and citrus trees, for private family gatherings and protection from the extreme Moroccan weather.
To preserve the family’s privacy and respect female member’s hijab, windows in surrounding rooms could only open onto the inner courtyard. The decorative features would symbolise the wealth and importance of the family and the walls would be adorned with tadelakt plaster and colourful zellige tiles.
Kasbahs are a type of medina or fortress that were built to protect the city from attacks. It was also often used as a residence for the local leader. Like riads, kasbahs indicated the amount of wealth a prominent family had in the city. Simple construction materials such as tadelakt were used to protect the occupants from the searing heat and bitter cold extremes of the Moroccan climate.
Top Designers Inspired by the Moroccan Look
Morocco is known for its host of beautiful buildings with prominent designs. Buildings displaying fine, ornate touches by skilled artisans and master craftspeople are still visible to admire today. Restoration works too, have revealed many hidden treasures and the revival of some historic practices, such as the very ornate and colourful tile work called Zellige and the versatile Tadelakt, a plasterwork technique that was created by nomadic tribes, living in the hills near Morocco’s imperial city of Marrakesh, originally to seal tanks used to store drinking water.
Many great artists, architects and designers have been influenced by these Moroccan crafts, including the iconic French fashion designer, Yves Saint Laurent who built his home there in the 1980s. The stunning villa is now open to the public as a museum and gallery surrounded by a sumptuous landscaped garden. The luxurious gardens cover two and a half acres and are a prominent feature of the complex.
The use of bold colours used throughout all the exterior spaces reflect the exciting vibrant hues of Morocco, particularly the acid-yellow and citrus orange against vivid blue tadelakt walls. Walking around these beautiful atmospheric spaces, the natural form from the soft purple cascading bougainvillaea to the spiky cacti, peacock and lime green ferns you know you’re in a designer’s garden.
Traditional Moroccan arts and crafts were used to create this stylish environment including tadelakt due to its very long lasting, waterproof and hard wearing material which makes it perfect for exterior spaces and bathrooms. Another famous Moroccan example of this is the Hassan Mosque in the famous city of Casablanca. The spellbinding exterior and includes warm tadelakt walls which contrast beautifully with the ornately patterned pillars and shiny marble floors.
Bring Moroccan Design Into Your Home
Create your own Moroccan Designer feel to your inside and outside spaces with juxtaposing shapes and exciting sunny colours that compliment your green areas. Like Yves Saint Laurent, why not bring the exotic, North African textures and warmth into your home and garden by using tadelakt and create a space that reflects the light and atmosphere of stylish Marrakesh.
Impress your friends and family by extending your living space; create a welcoming garden-room on your patio or a corner of your backyard with tadelakt walls adorned in warm or bright vibrant colours, then set it off with lively scatter cushions, pretty fairy lights and lanterns. Be adventurous and add a water feature, like the traditional Moroccan arched wall-inlay, which can be simply constructed with waterproof tadelakt.
Add an arrangement of fleshy pot plants and colourful or sweet-scented climbers such as purple clematis, wisteria or jasmine. Remember to use complementary colours for a more dramatic effect, such as reds, pinks and oranges against notes of verdant greens or vibrant yellows next to bold blues and violets.
Remember, tadelakt walls are not only hard-wearing and versatile but can support either soft pastel shades or strong, stunning statement colours for a truly exotic feel to your living spaces.
Design a Moroccan Style Bathroom
A Moroccan style bathroom is high on the list of trends for many homeowners at the moment. With bold colours, creative patterns and elegant wall finishings, it is hard not to fall in love with this latest global trend. The elegant features can make any room look amazing, and give it a new lease of life. Below we take a look at how to use Moroccan design features in your bathroom.
Arches And Curved Doorways
If you want to go all out, you can have arched doorways fitted in your bathroom, but if that’s too much, you can simply borrow this look subtly. Try modifying a built-in shelving unit to have an arched top, or painting arches onto the walls. Just tape off the design and away you go.
Go For Bold Colour Choices
When it comes to Moroccan bathroom designs, you’ll see either bright blues or reds, as the colours often reflect either the ocean or the desert. Pick colours that speak to you and complement each other, and use them in your bathroom. You can use them anywhere, from your tiling to your accessories. Don’t be afraid to use colour, as Moroccan design demands that you are bold and exciting with it.
Create Feature Walls And Fittings With Moroccan Plaster
If you’re looking to truly refit your bathroom, then you may want to consider using Tadelakt plastering in order to get the look you’re going for. It can be used to simply plaster your walls, but it can also create wet rooms and features such as sinks and seats. It’s a versatile material, so consider using it in your bathroom to get the authentic Moroccan look you want.
Use Moroccan Lanterns
You can easily find Moroccan lanterns to replace your current light fitting and create intricate and delicate patterns in light across your bathroom. If that’s too much out of your budget, try picking up smaller, decorative lanterns to dot around the bathroom and get the style that you’re looking for.
Invest In Moroccan Style Tiling
Another highly recognisable aspect of Moroccan style bathrooms is the beautiful tiling that’s often used. Moroccan tiles featuring bold colours and patterns make them the perfect choice if you’re looking to create a feature wall in your bathroom. They’re not too hard to find now, so you’ll have no trouble finding the perfect tiles for your bathroom.
When it comes to redesigning bathrooms we often think about bathtubs, windows, furniture and storage, but we underestimate the power of mirrors. A cleverly placed mirror can compliment the room and make it look bigger than it is. There are some beautiful Moroccan style mirrors with hints of colour and jewels to make it the centrepiece of the room.
Use pottery, candle lanterns and rose petal-filled bowls as decoration. Incorporate hints of gold in furnishings and blinds for a touch of luxury. If you have space, finish the look with an overstuffed ottoman covered in a rich-coloured fabric.
For an authentic, ethnic look, cover the walls in Tadelakt; a traditional Moroccan plaster that creates a smooth, seamless and waterproof finish. Choose from a range of natural, earthy colours to complement your fixtures and furnishings to create a feeling of light, space and warmth.
Tadelakt Can Give You The Perfect Moroccan Style Bathroom
Tadelakt is a smooth, waterproof plastering technique straight out of Morocco, that’s transforming bathrooms all over the country. Here’s how you can have a beautiful Moroccan style bathroom for years to come:
Avoid Grout Issues
Tiling a bathroom can look fantastic, but the problem is that grout needs to be applied in between the tiles. Over time, those grout lines are a great place for mould to breed. If your bathroom is tiled, you’ll be familiar with the hours spent scrubbing those grout lines out.
Using tadelakt to create a Moroccan style bathroom changes all of this. You can have the bathroom you’ve always wanted, and the smooth surface of the plaster means that you’ll never have to pull on your gloves and scrub mould away again.
Use Tadelakt Everywhere
You can use tadelakt anywhere in your home where you may encounter water. You don’t have to keep it just to the bathroom. Try using it in your pool, spa, steam room, shower cubicle, or wet room. You can get a great look wherever you use it, and protect your home from water too.
As Waterproof As Tiling
Many renovators think that tiling is the only option for bathrooms, as it’s waterproof. In fact, tadelakt is just as waterproof and can be quicker to install, too. This means it’s safe to use wherever you need to protect the walls from water. A (tadelakt) Moroccan bathroom gives you more options for your bathroom decor, rather than just normal tiles.
Create More Than Just Wall Coverings
Tadelakt, as a plastering technique, offers more than just wall coverings. It’s a highly versatile system, so you can do all sorts with it. Let your imagination be your guide. Create wash stands, seats, shelves, and floors with tadelakt, and you’ll have a truly Moroccan style bathroom. When you use it, your bathroom can look incredible and unique to you.
Use It Anywhere
The real joy of tadelakt is just how versatile the technique is. You can use it indoors or outdoors for a stylish finish to your walls and floors. Why not try using it around a hot tub, or around your pool? Again, tiles aren’t your only option. Create a truly different outdoor space.
Tadelakt Is An Art Form
In its native Morocco, tadelakt is a sacred art form. Very little is written about the practice, and the art is handed down from teacher to pupil. It’s taken very seriously, which is why we travelled to Morocco to learn from one of the best artisans in the country. When you use tadelakt to create your Moroccan style bathroom, you’re creating a work of art in your own home.
To start creating your very own Moroccan style bathroom, talk to us at Tadelakt Decor. We’re the experts in creating new and exciting looks with the tadelakt technique. We’ll turn your bathroom into a work of art.