bohemian decorating

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Southwestern Decorating

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet to Southwestern Decorating

Southwestern chic is one of the easiest looks to establish in your home. With only a few essential pieces, you can turn your interior into an effortless bohemian refuge tinted sepia with aspects of the American Southwest.

From Texas ranch homes to California missions to Mexican haciendas and Native American pueblos, southwestern decorating draws from a vast array of sundrenched cultures for a fundamentally eclectic and earthy style. As such, getting this look in your home is a simple game of mix-and-match. A Navajo blanket here, a leather couch there, a sprinkling of terracotta, and you’re good to go.  

Just be careful of over-incorporating. After all, the charm of this rustic desert look is its sparsity. Less is more, as they say—a statement that couldn’t be truer of the wide open plains and deserts that inspire this style.


Source: Style Me Pretty, Apartment Therapy

Start with a blank canvas. Bare white or light neutral walls are a trademark of this stripped-down look, making it a great style option for renters. Rather than worrying about paint or demo, focus on the three aspects that will bring this look together: texture, color, and pattern, and how you can use essentials strategically to create a rugged southwestern allure.

Now, there are infinite ways to bring these aspects together. Rugs, pillows, and wallpaper are all great places to start. However, choosing pieces wisely can be a challenge. To get you started, we’ll define what each of these three categories means in the context of southwest chic style and suggest ways to work them into your interior.

Rugged, Natural Textures

Southwestern decorating is very simple, but it looks dynamic thanks to abundant texture. Variety is the key to nailing this diverse and multifaceted look. Establish a baseline with natural textiles like organic cotton and linen, then contrast these smooth fibers with knotty, hand-woven wool. Native American-style throw blankets and pillows are a must, as is a woven area rug.

Source: Pinterest

For furniture, weigh your interior down with raw materials like wood, which will give your space a humble, yet polished feel and introduce some of the natural hues that are essential to this minimal bohemian vibe.

Source: Object

Another way to introduce warm neutral hues via textural components is with leather and other animal hides. Faux is ok, of course. Perhaps a tanned leather couch or woven leather chaise to tie the entire theme together?

Source: Field Studies Editions

Hardwood floors and earthenware tiles like terracotta are preferable for southwestern interiors.When working with suboptimal flooring alternatives, such as linoleum or sterile-looking white tile, chances are not even a funky rug will cut it. In that case, we suggest hand-painted tile stickers for an easy, mess-free boho boost.


Quadrostyle Phoenix tile stickers are made of vinyl but exude the ribbed texture of hand-woven floor mats. Combining trendy neutral terracotta tones and a textural design, these tile stickers can carry a southwestern setup practically on their own.

The Colors of the Southwest

Though patterns and textures are the calling cards for rustic southwestern decorating, they only work when they keep to the color scheme: warm, earthy neutrals that imitate bone-dry Wild West landscapes.

The first landscape that comes to mind, of course, is the desert. Dusty light neutrals like sand and chalk make a good base tone for those who prefer walls that give off more warmth than white.


Ruddy tones like rust and terracotta are substantial and grounding, evoking pueblo clay and sweeping scarlet sunsets.


For contrast, work with dark neutrals like charcoal or stagecoach brown or incorporate a splash of color with an earthy bold.

Source: Luxxu Home

Shades of blue inspired by wide-open canyon skies, deep rivers, and indigo are our preference.


The key is to choose colors that are cozy and expressive, all while remaining neutral and natural.

Tribal Patterns

Of course, there is one trait that immediately elevates a décor style from simply bohemian to southwestern, and that’s tribal patterns. Specifically, the bold and geometric patterns of Native American and Mesoamerican tribes. These are patterns that hold all kinds of cultural value, may carry specific symbolism, and tell stories that are sometimes centuries-old.

Source: Field Studies Editions, HGTV, Cowgirl Magazine

The most common tribal patterns for Southwestern decorating are Navajo, a tribe from what is now Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. In Navajo weaving, you’ll find motifs like diamonds and triangles that symbolize the mountains and plains of the region, zigzags that represent lightning, and crosses that represent Spider Woman, who, according to Navajo lore first taught weaving.

A popular way to incorporate these patterns into a space is through Woven textiles like rugs, pillows, and blankets. These cozy, rustic accents are all perfect for setting the southwestern scene. You can also find them as wall art or upholstery.


Sources: Cowgirl Magazine, Al-Kwhaji Architects

But textural accents aren’t the only way to incorporate patterns into your interior. The tile stickers in Quadrostyle’s Desert Loom collection draw inspiration from tribal woven patterns and feature many common Navajo motifs.


For example, Canyon tile stickers in ochre feature the crosses of Spider Woman and is an excellent option for floors or a statement wall.


Zigzagging lightning lines appear in Laguna in Taupe, an understated design that makes for a gorgeous backsplash.


And triangles are central to the high-contrast Santa Fe tile stickers, which features a classic tribal design rendered modern in trendy hues.


Get the Desert Boho Look

Natural textiles like blankets, bed runners, cushions, wall-hangings, and rugs add warmth and texture to any home. Now, thanks to Quadrostyle’s unique textile-inspired designs, so can tile stickers.

We worked hard to render the intricate textures of woven textiles into smooth adhesive vinyl, and with hand-painted artisanry and faded and time-worn graphics, we couldn’t be more thrilled with the results. We can’t wait for you to discover how these unique and colorful designs instantly make your space cozier, more human, and overall more enjoyable to live in.


For more southwestern bohemian inspiration, check out the full Desert Loom collection of tile stickers, backsplashes, floor panels, and wallpapers!

Reading next

10 Quarantine Projects To Keep You Occupied While Stuck At Home
How to Cover Ugly Mosaic Tile Floors: The Easy & RENTER-FRIENDLY Way!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.