7 Middle Eastern Décor Ideas
Middle Eastern décor ideas are usually a combination of Western Europe, Asian, and American elements. If you are not sure on what specific concept to choose, these Middle Eastern ideas and elements can help you create a special home – colorful fabrics, antiques, lamps, mosaic tables, baskets, coffee pots, and fragrances.
American interior design has had countless influences, from the colors of the Mediterranean to the subtle calmness of the Asians. But Middle Eastern décor is something we have yet to discover. In a way, it combines the best of several worlds: the vivid colors of Western Europe, the calmness and spirituality of Asian design, and the cozy comfort of traditional American homes. If you’re still torn between design themes for your new home, Middle Eastern should definitely be on your shortlist.
Middle Eastern design draws heavily on local art and history. Everything you display has value simply because it has a history of its own, and the whole room tells one grand story. That’s why a Middle Eastern home can be hard to put together. But that just makes it all the more special once it’s all set. Here are seven items you can get to make your home distinctly Middle Eastern.
1. Colorful fabrics. Whether it’s a set of pillowcases or a lush silk handkerchief, colorful textiles are central to Middle Eastern design. Wall fabrics are especially popular; even scarves and bed sheets can be used to dress up your wall. If you have the time (and patience), look for antique textiles in your local dealer’s shop. They are usually very valuable and make great focal points for any room. If wall hangings aren’t your thing, try using them as drapes, rugs, or tablecloths.
2. Antiques. Antique pieces lend an opulent vintage look to a Middle East-inspired room. Gold, bronze, and other rich metals go particularly well with colored fabrics. Easily the most popular piece is the Aladdin oil lamp, which is easy enough to find in antique shops. They’re not very valuable, but if you’re just after the look, they’ll work perfectly well. If you can afford it—and if there’s room in your house—consider getting an antique wooden table. This will balance out all the colors, giving your room a cozy, homey look.
3. Lamps. As with any other style, lighting plays a big part in establishing the mood of a Middle Eastern home. Oil lamps are the traditional source of light, although you can of course replace them with electric fixtures. Decorative floor lamps are great if you have enough floor space, and multicolored hanging lamps make great accents to your dining area. Occasionally, you can also light a few candles and set the mood for a romantic dinner.
4. Mosaic tables. Mosaic tables are usually small and low, more like decorative end pieces rather than functional ones. Their main feature is the colorful mosaic pattern on the tabletop, which can be made of tile, stained glass, or bits of colored metal. Round and octagonal tabletops are the most common, but if you’re lucky, you may be able to find oval, teardrop, and other unusual shapes. A small riser below the tabletop can be used to hold books, magazines, or other household items.
5. Basketry. Hand-woven baskets are a popular product of the Middle East, and visitors who bring them home often use them as fruit baskets for the dining table. You can find them in all shapes and sizes at most Asian shops, but if you want something authentically Middle Eastern, a Moroccan or Arabian dealer is the place to go. Try to deviate from the usual fruit-basket shape—look harder and you can find pots, cones, tubes, and even backpack-style baskets.
6. Coffee pots. People of the Middle East like a good cup of coffee, and their coffee-making tools are certainly of interest. Coffee is roasted in a long-handled pan called mihmas, cooled on a wooden tray called the mubarrad, then emptied into a traditional mortar for manual grinding. The coffee pot itself is unique, styling a long, slim body and a gracefully curved spout. You may not be able to use them, but they definitely make great decorative pieces. Antique Arabian coffee pots can be of great value, especially well-preserved ones that come in gold or with gold gilding.
7. Fragrances. They’re not exactly part of the décor, but they certainly add to the festive mood of an Arabian home. Fruity fragrances such as cherry, citrus and lime are especially popular. Get a variety of incense sticks and invest in a native incense burner. Arabic burners are as decorative as they are functional—a square base supports a delicately curved pot held up by lightweight metal legs. Most of them are made of wood, but many are decorated with gold leaf, mirrors, and metal plates.