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With Morocco at the crossroads of so many cultures it is easy to see why it has developed its own unique and inspirational decorating style. Its culture celebrates ancient Islamic traditions, meticulous craftsmanship, the shapes and colours of rolling desert sands and deep blue oceans, and the intoxicating beauty of colour, texture and pattern. This is a style of extravagance designed to engage the senses.
Colour infuses Moroccan decorating with bold accents on walls, brightly coloured pottery, Asian and Islamic woven silk and wool rugs, dazzling and complex mosaic tiles and gauze-like ornamental fabrics. Jewel-like colours of turquoise blue, oxblood and rust, shimmering gold and silver, emerald green, orange and soft pinks add vibrancy and excitement to the soothing neutral colours of the desert, such as sand, taupe, beige and shades of white.
Just as colour is vital, so too is the importance of texture, which is incorporated throughout the interior in furnishings and architecture. Rough stucco walls, ceramic tiles, silk rugs, velvet cushions, inlaid camel bone furniture, alpaka metal trims and iron lamps all provide richness and variety.
Pattern is also everywhere in this style-rugs and tiles display complex designs, furniture incorporates rich inlaid work, lanterns feature stained glass shapes and pottery is highly detailed.
The seductiveness of this style is achieved with furniture items that are inviting and often set low to the ground, such as multi-sided occasional tables featuring ornate inlaid bone and alpaka trim. Low stools and leather ottomans complement this height and reflect the relaxed style of the Moroccan culture. Elaborate wrought iron scroll work features in screens, mirrors and accents, ornately carved wood in high relief appears in chests, amoires and sideboards, and mosaic inlay appears in the ancient art of zelligo tabletops and fountains. Upholstered heavy cotton or linen sofas are set off with cushions of silk brocade and velvet, often beaded or embroidered, and walls are adorned with ornately decorated mirrors with onion-dome shaped frames that reflect light and colour.
Lighting is an important and exotic element of a Moroccan interior and is probably the most recognizable symbol of this decor. Moroccan lanterns come in a variety of shapes and patterns. Star lamps have jewel coloured stain glass panels that cast candlelight patterns and project a warm, romantic glow over the space. Other styles emphasize voluminous shapes and feature pinhole patterns in silver or copper finishes. Metal lanterns and wall sconces are also popular and are either polished, antiqued or brushed. They can be used indoors or out, providing function and aesthetic charm.