Achieve a Well-Traveled Look With Global Textiles and Accessories

It can be difficult to achieve an eclectic aesthetic that feels effortless yet pulled together. But if you're after just such a look, the addition of global textiles and accessories can add the perfect depth to any style of decor.
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November 25, 2014
By: Amy Azzarito

Photo By: Caitlin Dowe Sande

Photo By: Fiona Douglas

Start With the Floor

When you think of adding global textiles or accessories to a room, you might first think of bringing in a rug — and with good reason. Rugs made in the Eastern tradition offer patterns and colors that will work in any space. Susan Gomersall of Kea Carpets and Kilims in Brooklyn, New York, which specializes in tribal rugs, says when shopping for a tribal rug, you should forget about standard rug sizes like 5x7 or 8x10. All tribal rugs were made for a purpose: sleeping, sitting, eating or praying, as rugs are the furniture of the nomads. Because these rugs are odd sizes, determine the size rug you need before shopping by covering the area with newspaper. Image courtesy of Shop Horne

Buy What You Love

Susan of Kea Carpets has additional tips for anyone shopping for an antique or vintage rug. To determine if a rug is authentic, Susan suggests, look for a few imperfections. These rugs were made on primitive horizontal looms that were dismantled and transported with the tribe. Weavers used the wool from their own sheep, often having to dye batches of wool at different times, resulting in subtle color variations. A tribal piece that has uniform colors and straight edges is most likely not genuine. When trying to work a rug into your space, find a dealer who will let you try the rug on approval. You will never know if it works in your space until you try it. Any good dealer will offer this service. Ask questions about the rug's origin and intended use. If the dealer doesn't have the answers, shop somewhere else. Last but certainly not least, be bold and go with your heart. You are not just buying an object but a piece of tribal life. Image courtesy of Ore Studios

Get Creative

So we've established that one of the best ways to add a global eclectic feel is with carpets and rugs. But think outside the box. Los Angeles design collective Commune frequently uses global textiles and accessories in its designs. The heavy weight of most Oriental carpets and kilim rugs makes them ideal candidates for upholstery projects. In the Los Angeles living room of Commune Design founding partner Ramin Shamshiri, this George Smith ottoman upholstered in a Turkish-style carpet adds the perfect splash of visual texture to the room. Image courtesy of Commune Design

Be Bold

Don't be afraid to think beyond traditional upholstered pieces. In the same Commune designed home in Los Angeles, a mid-century modern classic, an Eames chair, is reupholstered with an African fabric to add a bold pattern to the space. Image courtesy of Commune Design

Add a Little Shimmer

There are so many fantastic options when it comes to global textiles. These Moroccan wedding blankets are a trendy interior designer fave — actress Kate Hudson has one in her bedroom. The blankets are Berber in origin and were woven by women who painstakingly sewed on each sequin by hand. Depending on the complexity of the design, number of sequins and the size, a blanket can take many months to produce. The blankets are thought to contain Baraka, or divine blessings/fulfillment. A great source for these blankets is the online shop My Marrakesh. Shop owner, photographer and hotelier Maryam Montague specializes in sourcing these vintage sequined Moroccan wedding blankets that typically range in price from $300 to $575. Image courtesy of Maryam Montague

Think Beyond the Floor

The Moroccan wedding blankets bring the perfect combination of glamour and organic style to a space with their rich texture and sparkle. Maryam uses them throughout her home — as blankets, headboards, over the back or side of a couch, on a wall and even on the floor. Image courtesy of Maryam Montague

Going Global on the Walls

To pack a dramatic punch, carry the floor tile pattern up onto the wall. Caitlin Dowe-Sandes of Popham Design designed this striking bathroom with her company's modern cement tiles. The process used to create the tiles, a centuries-old Moroccan technique, creates tiles with a lovely worn patina. Image courtesy of Caitlin Dowe-Sande

Create Dramatic Visual Interest

Tiles aren't just for the kitchen or bathroom. Here, Caitlin has used Popham's Curly Branch Coral tile to frame the bed in the master bedroom. She also used a Moroccan wedding blanket as a box spring cover. Image courtesy of Caitlin Dowe-Sandes

Mix and Match Styles

Just a hint of a global pattern can add a lot of visual interest to a room. Fiona Douglas of Bluebellgray had the curtains in her Scottish home made from cotton muslin edged with a real ikat shipped over from Uzbekistan. To find unique textiles, Fiona suggests looking for authentic traditional fabrics when you travel — every country has its own unique textile heritage. A few carefully chosen key pieces will look fantastic mixed into any style interior, giving a sense of your travels and personal style. Try to avoid going for a themed room full to the brim, as this can look a little staged. Image courtesy of Fiona Douglas

Small Accessories Pack a Big Punch

If you want to incorporate global accessories without making too much of a financial investment, global accessories can be a simple and inexpensive way to bring exotic pattern and color into your home. Look for vases or African baskets, and use the bold colors as inspiration for pillows and other accent colors in your room. Image courtesy of Ore Studios

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