The Well-Traveled Look: Global Design Style

Whether your passport has stamps from more locations than you can count or the closest you get to travel is browsing through National Geographic, you'll be inspired by this trip through design styles from around the globe.
Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
November 24, 2014
By: Alyson McNutt English

Glitz and Glam: French Baroque Parlor

Boston-area designer Heidi Pribell created this gilded masterpiece for a client who was renovating his historic Beacon Hill home. Pribell combines the ornate Louis XIV style with a still-bright (but less baroque dining) area, giving the room a full shimmery feel without assaulting the occupants with details at every turn.

About French Baroque Style

French baroque style is characterized by ornate carvings and details (like the intricate toile wallpaper and chandelier), heavy brocades and gold, gold, gold. Design by David Stimmel.

Small Space, Big Ideas: Indian Style

Designer Brenda Be created this Indian-inspired bath for a couple who wanted to give a nod to the husband's heritage without overwhelming their small space. The soapstone washstand and wall-mount faucet are visual references to outdoor fountains in an Indian courtyard, and the marble shower is a nod to the elaborate marbles of Indian architecture. The sink, while based on a Moroccan pattern, is also reminiscent of Indian block-print textiles. Photo courtesy of Brenda Be.

About Indian Style

Indian design is often typified by intricately patterned textiles (usually with gold accents), arched furniture, mosaic prints and tiles, and colors like bright blues, reds, oranges and golds. Photo courtesy of Saffron Marigold.

Middle-Eastern Chic: Moorish Goes Modern

This stunning example of modern Arabian design can be found in Beirut, Lebanon's Amethyst Lounge. The firm HBA Designs created this outdoor dining area, which was inspired by the 1001 Arabian Nights tales. Light colors (which don't absorb heat as readily) serve as the main palette for the lounge, but amethyst purple adds pops of color and ambiance. The firm sourced the lanterns and many of the textiles from local artisans, and the geometric details — from the wicker "sculpture" to the skylight panes — also typify this regional look.

About Moorish Design

The Moors didn't include human likenesses in their design, instead relying on brightly colored, intricately patterned tile and stonework for their art. Arches in furnishings and architecture are also typical of this style. The Spanish Alhambra Palace is a master work in this particular style and also offers a wealth of inspiring ideas for re-creating this look in your own home or outdoor area. Design by Heidi Pribell.

Perfect Place to Break Bread: French Country Kitchen

The warmth of a well-executed French country kitchen design is irresistible and this one, designed by Pribell, will have you practically smelling the baguettes. The yellow cabinets blend beautifully with the wood-beam ceiling and copper oven hood, and the built-in bench behind the island offers extra seating while continuing the French country feel through the cushion pattern and throw pillows. The extra chairs add that feeling of eclectic good taste to the kitchen, matching just enough to look good but not so much it feels planned out.

About French Country Style

French country style is typified by colors like warm yellows, farmhouse-echoing reds and smooth creams. Furniture is usually wood (and is often painted and distressed), and textiles are usually patterned (floral and toile prints are especially appropriate). Design by Shelly Riehl David.

No Assembly Required: Scandinavian Design

If your idea of Scandinavian design begins and ends with the IKEA catalog, you're missing out. This high-end kitchen, designed by Monica Tamayo, shows that minimalist doesn't mean boring. The clean lines and open space showcase the marble countertops and textured walls, and the consistent color scheme keeps this area looking cool even when the (kitchen) heat is on. Photo courtesy of Blue Ocean Photography.

About Scandinavian Style

Scandinavian design is minimalist at its core: no clutter, no ornate details, just clean lines and open space. Design by Monica Tamayo. Photo courtesy of Blue Ocean Photography.

About Asian Design

Asian design doesn't have to be all red and gold, but those colors are often used to great effect in Asian-inspired rooms. Raw materials like bamboo and colors taken from nature are used to create a serene, calm environment. Design by Olga Adler Interiors. Photography by Olson Photographic.

Sleek, Not Safari: African Design

Too often, styles broadly characterized as "African" become more like "safari," full of animal prints and large-leafed greenery. This living area, designed by Steve Pine and his team at the Kalahari Resorts, showcases cliche-free, African-inspired design. Pine and his team chose soft, earthy colors as their base and mixed in textiles reminiscent of the savannah. Photo courtesy of Kalahari Resorts.

About African Style

African style generally refers to central Africa-inspired design, rather than the more Middle Eastern style of North Africa or the Dutch-tinged design in the south of the continent. It's typified by earthy colors like browns, darker oranges, black and khaki. Animal elements are often integrated into the design. Photo courtesy of Kalahari Resorts.

Eastern Eclectic: Exotic Guest Bedroom

Designer Raine Heidenberg created this room for a client who wanted a space that was both inviting and relaxing for his frequent guests. Instead of choosing one country to focus on, Heidenberg went with a more broadly interpreted "exotic" style with elements from India and Morocco. Indian silk and textiles cover the bed, while Moroccan lanterns and side tables add warmth. To complete the look, Heidenberg stained the moldings and floors a dark chocolate — a nod to the deeply colored tropical wood she has seen in her travels.

About this style: This room focuses more on a feel than a country, with its deep purple walls, dark woods and eclectic accessories and textiles. Despite not having one source, the elements play together well, merging their colors and patterns to create a relaxing — and exotic — feeling. Photo courtesy of Raine Heidenberg Interior Design.

Shop This Look