Every human society around the world has its own distinct culture. Culture encompasses a unique mixture of tangible achievements, such as works of art or architecture, and intangible elements, including history, beliefs, values, customs, and laws. Every group’s cultural heritage is precious and irreplaceable. Preserving this heritage can help you understand where you came from and find a sense of belonging to something larger than yourself. It also protects your culture’s wealth of valuable experiences and traditions, so they continue to thrive.
While recent immigrants to the US often retain strong links to their culture, many people have ancestors who left their homelands hundreds of years ago. Unfortunately, their traditions were not always recorded for their descendants. Recent technological innovations like home DNA tests have made it possible for people to learn in-depth information about where and how their ancestors lived. This has led to a rise in heritage or ancestry-based travel. Using information gathered from online ancestry databases, travelers can rediscover and connect to their roots. They can plan visits to their ancestral homes, book expert-guided genealogy tours, or even locate the exact plot of land their family members once lived.
Top 4 Ways to Incorporate Culture into Your Home
Whether you already have a strong sense of culture or are newly discovering your family history, the simplest yet most effective way to preserve your cultural heritage is to share it with your loved ones. Bringing elements of your culture into your interior design can help you honor your heritage, showcase your identity, and keep your traditions alive. Follow our tips to incorporate your culture into your home in an engaging and meaningful way.
- Take Inspiration from Global Design Styles
Certain cultures have developed their own unique interior design styles featuring specific patterns, materials, and color schemes. For example, design styles from Morocco and India tend to be bright and eclectic. Conversely, designs from Scandinavian countries and Japan are more minimal and pared-back to evoke the calm and serenity of nature.
Moroccan design emphasizes opulence and drama through jewel-toned fabrics, intricate metal lanterns, geometric patterned encaustic tiles, mosaics, and elaborately carved wood. They also incorporate distinctive textiles, such as plush floor cushions, artfully draped curtains, and distinctive rug designs. Handmade Berber rugs have become popular in many design styles and can be recognized by their abstract, asymmetrical, and often brightly colored designs.
Persian homes are designed to serve as safe havens, prioritizing comfort, tranquility, and privacy. Living rooms tend to be simple with soft rugs, low furniture, and decorative floor cushions. Guests are highly respected in Persian culture, and halls are used as meeting spaces. They often feature more elaborate décor and built-in niches to display ornamental objects. Traditional art, mirror work, colored glass windows, intricate geometric motifs, and highly stylized arabesque designs are common elements.
Spanish Revival interior design is characterized by arched windows and doorways, white stucco walls, terracotta floors, exposed brick, wooden ceiling beams, and decorative wrought iron. Homes are meant to be warm and rustic, so earth tones and dark woods dominate. Pops of color occur in rich brocade fabrics and patterned Catalina tile.
India is famous around the globe for its gorgeous handspun fabrics, many of which showcase complex patterns like paisley and mandalas. Vibrant, saturated colors appear throughout the home, ranging from ochre yellow and burnt orange to bright blues, greens, and pinks. Spaces are relaxed and versatile with different types and levels of seating. Homeowners decorate with handmade crafts, hanging lamps, and spiritual art and sculpture. Ornate wooden furniture is often inlaid with metal, mirrors, and ivory.
Scandinavian designs merge minimalism and functionality with a love of the outdoors. These homes showcase bright natural light, sleek and clean-lined furniture, shades of neutral or muted colors, and raw or light-toned wooden accents. Although pieces are modern, they never feel boring or sterile due to the addition of soft textures (like sheepskin), intriguing art, strategically placed lighting, and striking hits of black.
In Japan, homeowners embrace the ancient philosophy of wabi-sabi, which highlights imperfect beauty, humble simplicity, and the transience of nature. The goal is to keep interiors as modest and uncluttered as possible. This is achieved with monochrome shades, asymmetric shapes, rough or patinaed surfaces. They also heavily use bamboo and other wood, crisp edges, sharp lines, and empty space between pieces to rest the eye.
- Select Culturally Appropriate Art and Décor
Material objects offer endless ways to express your culture and show the evolution of its artistic techniques and craftsmanship. You might decide to collect items from specific eras, seek out sentimental pieces during your travels, or print photos of a recent trip to translate your experience into art. Arranging paintings or photographs of your ancestors in a gallery wall can be a lasting reminder of your identity that your children can inherit. You could commission a piece from a local artist, paint a mural depicting common scenes during your ancestors’ lives, or select works from contemporary artists that align with your culture.
Other collectibles include jewelry, musical instruments, sculptures, pottery, religious artifacts, arrowheads, seashells, and books of myths and folklore. You can also repurpose collected objects to perform new functions, such as turning a carved door into a coffee table or installing an antique cabinet as a powder room vanity. The most important thing to remember is to choose original and handmade pieces that were crafted by members of your culture, not mass-produced reproductions. Browse home décor magazines or websites for inspiration, then check out estate sales, import shops, and flea markets to bring your desired look home.
- Display Authentic Textiles
Authentic textiles can serve as gorgeous works of art and exciting textural accents for any room. Hand-loomed tapestries, wall-hangings, blankets, throw pillows, clothing, and rugs are all perfect for showcasing your culture. These textiles can also add a pop of color or pattern to your space. You can casually drape a length of fabric over a chair, use it as a table runner in your dining room, or frame it to protect it from damage. Consider displaying traditional clothing such as Indian pashmina silk sarees, Japanese kimonos, Scottish tartan kilts, or West African kente cloth stoles.
Rugs are one of the oldest art forms. The earliest known rug was discovered in a burial site in Siberia, dating back to 400-500 BCE. Rug designs differ based on geographic locations, and experts can even identify specific villages where certain patterns originated. Berber rugs from Morocco are hand-woven in wool by women in the family and feature unique styles that vary by subtribe. Tapestry-woven kilims from the Middle East and Central Asia served both as décor and as prayer rugs for religious rites. Oushak rugs from Turkey incorporate patterns passed down through generations of expert weavers. Persian rugs from Iran have been highly prized since ancient times and continue to be a highly sought-after item for designers, art collectors, and history buffs alike.
Proudly Share Your Cultural Heritage
You might be tempted to transform your home overnight, but interior design is more of an ongoing process than a one-time task. Perform thorough research to determine which design styles, artworks, and textiles best reflect your culture as well as your own unique personality. Then, carefully curate pieces that will harmoniously coexist with the rest of your home. Candles, flowers, music, and traditional meals can also work wonders to turn your home into an immersive cultural experience. If you want to learn more tips for tying your culture into your interior design, contact Rob Turner of CRT Studios by calling (407) 440-4446 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.