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Inspiring Interior Design From Around the World

As any world traveler can attest, our global community boasts a variety of design philosophies, lending themselves to beautiful, functional, and inspiring spaces we can all appreciate (and emulate). Take a look!

China

Feng Shui Bedroom

Image credit: Very Well Mind

The Chinese have been practicing the ancient art of feng shui since 4000 BC. The philosophy, aimed at maximizing the flow of good energy, or qi, has its roots in the orientation of spiritually important buildings and structures, and has become a guiding force for home and room design in China and beyond.

While the principles of feng shui are quite intricate, some familiar tenets of the practice include harnessing good energy (and minimizing bad) through placement and orientation of doors, beds, and stairs; the incorporation of adjustments or remedies like mirrors, fountains, and symbols; and the inclusion and interaction of the five earth elements.

Denmark

Danish Living Room

Image credit: Decorilla

If you’ve seen the Broadway version of Disney’s hit musical Frozen, you’re likely already familiar with the concept of hygge (pronounced hyoo-guh), which values comfort and joy over all else. Denmark’s people consistently rank among the happiest in the world, so taking a page from their approach to life for home design is a smart move.

Hygge can be put to good use in design by creating warm, cozy gathering places through lighting, soft textures, neutral tones, and natural elements, complemented by smatterings of nostalgic items and conversation-starting personal touches.

Morocco

Moroccan Riad

Image credit: Smarter Travel

Morocco, a uniquely diverse country situated along both the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, is known for its ornate homes rich in color and texture. Moroccan design has become synonymous with the idea of the riad, traced to the year 788 and traditionally defined as an enclosed garden or courtyard.

Riad design pulls heavily from Islamic architecture and is identified by a home constructed around a central courtyard or enclosed garden. Windows tend to face inward, maximizing privacy and bringing the focus back to the family. Water, as in other design philosophies, is of the utmost importance, and riads almost always feature a small pool or fountain in addition to detailed tilework, an abundance of plantlife, and natural light.

Japan

Japanese Living Room

Image credit: Nouvelle Génération

The Japanese aesthetic philosophy of Shibusa originates from the Edo period of the 1600s, when it was called shibui. There’s no direct English translation, but it is considered a focus on the beauty that results from simplicity and subtlety. Shibusa made its way west in the 1960s when it was featured in a House Beautiful article.

Similar to facets of feng shui and hygge, shibui homes place an emphasis on minimalism, creating a zen feeling through clean lines, neutral tones, natural elements, and uncluttered, humble spaces. The simplicity is balanced by one or a few items of meaning, sparking engagement and inspiring thoughtful conversation.

India

Indian Courtyard

Image credit: Architectural Digest

Dating back to ancient India, and likely the foundation of feng shui, vastu shastra is a design philosophy that mixes traditional Hindu and Buddhist principles with the science of architecture to encourage well being and positive energy in a given space.

Vastu requires designers to consider both the physical and metaphysical when creating a space, and vastu-compliant homes will take the four directions — east, west, north, and south — into account when arranging furniture, windows, mirrors, electronics, and more. Similar to the above design styles, lighting, natural elements, neutral colors, and the lack of clutter are hallmarks of the vastu aesthetic.

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