Spanish-Style Decorating Ideas

The cultural aspects of a Spanish-inspired home interior make it a popular choice among Americans. Whether you love a Southwestern or Old World Spanish look, these design ideas will help you incorporate Spanish-style flair into your home.

Mexican Textiles and Pottery

This Spanish-country style dining room (comedor) is adorned with Spanish-inspired elements, from the antique Mexican pottery to the colorful paintings. "The paintings above the shelf depict a Spanish matador whose heart has been broken by a senorita," says artist Carole Meyer. Carole draped ethnic fabrics on the dining chairs and also hung them on a traditional Mexican shelf, which adds texture and color to the informal space. The high ceilings, arches and thick walls are typical characteristics of Spanish-style architecture. The hand-painted pottery across the table and shelf adds extra Mexican flair. Photography by Carole Meyer

Spanish Architectural Elements

This bright yellow bathroom is filled with Spanish-inspired design elements from top to bottom. The ceiling features wooden support beams, or vigas, which lay perpendicular to slender strips of wood called latillas. The carved corbels, derived from Spanish settlers, support the ceiling beams while adding a decorative element. The colorful Talavera tiles on the wainscoting draw the eye to the center of the room. Saltillo tile, introduced to Mexico by Spaniards, is a warm, environment-friendly terra-cotta tile flooring option best suited for warm climates. These elements, combined with the vibrant, old-fashioned clawfoot tub, make the space a cozy nook in which to relax. Design by Classic New Mexico Homes

Traditional Mexican Accessories

"Inspired by a Spanish matador's Suit of Lights, the vibrant colors of this master bedroom are a joy to wake up to," says Carole Meyer. Details like the custom-made mirror cloth pillows and star-shaped recessed lighting give the room a magical touch. The weathered chair in the corner is draped with a huipil, a traditional Mexican garment. The embroideries on the huipil have specific meanings and reflect one's cultural identity. The round bedside table is covered with an African kente cloth and topped with an antique Mexican saint and silver objects from India. Carole placed weathered chests next to and at the foot of the bed for a rustic look. The dark iron candlestick lamps with red silk shades bring an elegant touch, and the custom-made arched headboard resembles doorway arches popular in Spanish architecture. Photography by Carole Meyer

Spanish-Style Colonial Dining Room

Designer Catherine Smith of Casa Smith Designs wanted to draw the eyes upward in this Spanish Colonial dining room, so she turned the ceiling into an art canvas with a painting representing a formal garden. The ceiling beams, previously used for support, now add a decorative element to the room. The wrought-iron chandelier, imported from Spain, is more than 100 years old and adds detail to the room. "The quirky details highlight the artist's ability to manipulate iron into a delicate art piece," she says. The rich hue in the draperies is implemented in the dining chair upholstery and ceiling artwork, giving the space a regal look.

Whimsical Mexican-Style Entry Hall

This golden yellow Spanish entry hall (zaguan) features hand-painted stars on the ceiling and antique doors. Carole Meyer painted the stars and artwork to bring a whimsical touch to the traditional space. She laid a Mexican textile rug on the floor and placed custom-made wall sconces to add culture to the space. "The long Spanish-style bench was traditionally a place in a hacienda where the hired help would wait to be paid," she says. The blend of whimsy and tradition gives guests a one-of-a-kind welcome and sets the tone for the rest of the home. Photography by Carole Meyer

Vibrant Cultural Colors

The bright colors in this Mexican-inspired kitchen reflect the vibrant, warm culture of the country. Emily Severinsen chose a deep orange wall color and carried it through to the pottery, which holds a variety of kitchen utensils. The green tea color on the range hood and cabinets is a refreshing contrast against the bold, rustic metal tile backsplash and cultural artwork. Natural elements like the sabino wood kitchen island and wooden ceiling beams add a country look, while the black modern stools rejuvenate the space. The oversized antique mirror makes the kitchen feel larger and more open. Photography by Carole Meyer

Pie Safe Entertainment Center

This wooden entertainment center contains plenty of storage space for equipment. "These types of cabinet doors were typical of the pie safes in the 1800s," says Kiki Suggs of Classic New Mexico Homes. The decorative carved cutouts in the cabinet's doors allowed air to circulate amongst the baked goods inside. The thick adobe walls of the living room are energy efficient because they accumulate heat from the hot sun all day and release it into the home's interior for warmth during cold nights. The neutral warm tones of the home along with the decorative wooden corbels complete the Southwestern look.

Talavera Tiles

Talavera tiles give this bathroom an authentic Mexican-style look. Designer Erica Islas of EMI Interior Design chose cobalt blue tiles and complemented them with hand-painted sinks. Decorative Talavera tiles dress up the mirror, cabinet hardware and floor to create an eye-pleasing space. Talavera, a type of tin-glazed pottery brought to Mexico by the Spanish in the 1st century of the Colonial period, became highly popular in homes because of the availability of fine clays and demand for tiles from the newly established churches in the area. The rounded arch of the mirror represents Moor influences on Spanish architecture starting around A.D. 850. For a stunning touch, Erica chose a clear glass star-shaped chandelier to add sparkle to the space. Photo by David Young-Wolff Photography

Wrought-Iron Details

This Spanish-inspired great room is centered on a hand-carved cantera stone fireplace, which adds elegance to the room. Architectural designer Matt Dougan incorporated wrought-iron detailing into the room through an oversized chandelier and balcony loft railing. Wrought iron was primarily used for weapons and used to protect doors and windows from invaders, but it became popular as a decorative material, such as in elaborate screens in Spanish cathedrals, beginning in the 16th century. Arches, ceiling beams, corbels and stone elements bring Spanish architecture into the space, while gold furnishings bring luxurious elegance.

Mexican-Style Divided Doors

These divided doors are made of sabino wood, derived from sabino trees in Mexico used for doors and furniture in the 18th and early 19th centuries. The division in the doors was to allow air and light to flow into the home while keeping farm animals out. Carol Latta placed these doors between her kitchen and patio to add some Mexican culture and charm to her home. Photography by Carole Meyer

Southwestern Banco

This earthy entryway features a bench, or banco, popular in Pueblo revival homes. Bancos are built-in plastered benches usually placed near a kiva fireplace, a semicircular adobe fireplace in the corner of a room. The bench provides a comfortable place to sit around the warmth of the fire. Designers Wayne and Kiki Suggs embellished the banco's neutral tone with a patterned pillow and Talavera tiles for a splash of color. A variety of clay pottery sitting on open shelving gives the space an authentic Southwestern look.

Spanish Colonial Living Room

Designer Catherine Smith blended old with new in this Spanish Colonial-inspired living room. Furniture pieces bring newer elements to the space while components from the Spanish Colonial period take you back in time. Wooden ceiling beams and wrought-iron details represent materials used during that time period, and the doorway arches were often the only ornamentation in this type of simple, informal design. Catherine used a red wine-colored velvet sofa and an oversized tapestry of a Spanish-style courtyard to add texture, giving the space a stunning appearance.

Masculine Southwestern Adobe Living Room

Spanish explorers combined their architectural elements with Pueblo Indian architecture beginning in the 1500s to create an appealing look known today as Southwestern adobe style, such as in this living room. Architectural designer Matt Dougan used elements like vigas and latillas to adorn the ceiling, and Old World rugs combined with leather furnishings add a Southwestern charm to the space. Southwestern print furniture, a hand-carved cantera fireplace and an antler chandelier complete the look. A few subtle floral accessories implement a soft, feminine touch to the masculine space.

Mexican Country Living Room

The glass-front hutch is the focal point of this Mexican-country style living room. The green backdrop in the hutch allows the Spanish-inspired items to pop against the neutral-toned living space. Emily Severinsen mixed bold, Spanish-inspired pillows, artwork and pottery to give a sense of country living, while the black modern chairs and mirror side table add a touch of contemporary style. The variety of items makes the room feel lived-in and cozy. The wooden coffee table and whitewashed hutch incorporate natural elements into the space. Photography by Carole Meyer

Old World Spanish-Style Entryway

The arched doorway and wrought-iron chandelier give this entryway an Old World Spanish look. The neutral tones blend in with the outdoor surroundings, and the tile on the floor and stair risers integrate Spanish-inspired materials into the home. The staircase rises above the doorway, which is a clever way to create more open space in the home. Design by Keith Summerour of Summerour & Associates Architects, Inc

Adobe Shower

Designer Steve Appolloni didn't take the normal approach when he designed this bathroom made from adobe, a natural material made from sand, clay, water and other natural elements. Adobe originated from the Pueblo Indians, and the Spanish were the first to make adobe into bricks dating back to the 8th century B.C. The material is now popular in New Mexico and other Southwestern homes. The round shape of the shower walls allows for a larger space and the glass-block wall emits natural light while giving privacy.

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