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Insta-friendly interior design inspiration

Helen Alexander

Senior Contributor

Decorating your home? Gather interior design inspiration from some of the most eye-catching cities and style-savvy destinations in the world. Whether you are ready to embark on a complete overhaul or simply want to introduce a few thoughtful details, here’s how to reflect your passion for travel throughout your rooms.

All-natural interiors of Bali

From the palm-fringed beaches of Seminyak to the dense forests of Ubud, the idyllic Indonesian island draws on nature to create spaces that are filled with greenery and wood. Leafy indoor plants and tropical flowers are a great place to start, as are light-reflecting white walls and eco-friendly bamboo furniture, shutters and blinds. Introduce a breezy coastal feel with woven seagrass baskets and carpets, raw cotton curtains and a linen bed canopy. And add a Bali twist to your outside space with a hammock or canvas parasol. You might not be living next to the ocean, but you can still recreate the sunset vibes.  

Rajasthan’s colourful cities

From sky-blue and pastel pink to sun-kissed gold, the cities of Jodhpur, Jaipur and Jaisalmer in northern India encourage us embrace colour when it comes to exterior walls. However, if painting your whole house feels a little too ambitious, think about adding an attention-grabbing alfresco accent with a vibrant front door. Alternatively, opting for a feature wall in your living room or bedroom is a great way to experiment with a shade that you love but feel is too bright or bold for the whole room.

Discover Mexico’s passion for pattern

From the Aztecs to the Mayans, the country’s ancient civilisations were master builders and decorators, and their towering pyramids and temples offer a rich source of inspiration. Geometric shapes and stripes – in clashing, contrasting colours or elegant, understated monochrome – are key to bringing a splash of Mexican sunshine into your surrounds. You don’t need to go crazy – a patterned rug, an embroidered cushion cover or a handwoven wall hanging is a great way to bring not only pattern, but also touch-worthy texture, into your home. 

Introduce some Scandinavian simplicity

Combining form and function, the Scandinavian aesthetic has taken social media by storm – just search the hashtags #nordicstyle and #scandihome to get a sense of this popular trend that’s all about reducing clutter and creating practical yet beautiful spaces that invite people to linger. A muted palette serves as the perfect backdrop against which to add modern wooden furniture, minimalist storage solutions and chic sofas. Remember that this ultra-cool look should also be comfortable. After all, it was the Danish who came up with the term hygge to describe a sense of cosy contentment. Introduce some warmth to your home with gently flickering candles, textured wall hangings and furry throws that are perfect for snuggling under. 

Add detail from Marrakech markets

Adding a few ornamental details can really make a difference to any space, so take inspiration from Morocco’s labyrinthine souks and look out for glittering lanterns, Berber-style rugs and leather ottomans. Many of these pieces feature elaborate metalwork, intricate stitching or ornate wood carvings, so a few items can go a long way towards transforming your surrounds into an opulent sanctuary. If you want to create more of an impact, consider curved archways and window frames, interior courtyards, lattice screens and decorative floor tiles, as there are all key characteristics of the country’s instantly recognisable Moorish-style architecture.

Colourful tiles from Portugal

From Porto’s churches and the sleepy train stations that line the Duoro Valley to the winding laneways of Lisbon’s hippest neighbourhoods, it’s impossible to miss Portugal’s distinctive azulejos. While these hand-painted ceramic tiles are frequently used to decorate exterior walls, you only have to scroll through Instagram to spot them popping up in beautiful bathrooms and kitchens around the world. A one-tone colour scheme can add interest to an otherwise overlooked corner, while a variety of tile shapes – like hexagonal and rectangular – are great for creating eye-catching contrast. In addition, you don’t have to tile the whole wall or floor (or ceiling!). Use tiles as a bold kitchen backsplash or to visually separate the shower and sink areas in your bathroom. 

Japan-inspired sliding doors and screens

Sliding shoji doors first appeared during the Kamakura era as a means of separating an indoor study from an outdoor veranda. Fast-forward around 800 years and this traditional piece of Japanese architecture continues to provide an attractive means of dividing rooms and creating dual-purpose spaces. For example, a sliding door or screen can be used to close off an open-plan kitchen – for when you don’t want to reveal want goes on behind the scenes at your next dinner party! Most commonly made by stretching rice paper across a wooden frame, a shoji is a great way of diffusing sunlight into the house, too.  

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