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Create an Ethnic Chic Room

Updated on September 1, 2017

You can refer to ethnic chic by a number of other names -- world décor, travel inspired, or global design. It crosses continents and cultures or can be more targeted in nature, like tribal design, taking in specific countries or regions. In a nutshell, ethnic chic decorating style is influenced by exotic destinations throughout the world.

There are no hard and fast rules in ethnic chic decorating. As long as there is a cohesive feel or theme involved, such as color, texture or place, you can have fun and decorate to your heart’s content! You can fill your entire home with treasures collected from your travels (or local sources), or designate a single room as your ethnic chic retreat.

Search the world for the ethnic style that works for you!
Search the world for the ethnic style that works for you! | Source

Do Your Research

The world is at your fingertips when as begin your quest to create an ethnic chic room. Take some time and research different countries and regions before settling on a design direction. For instance, Asian style encompasses elements primarily from Japan, China, but can also include influences from Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

African-inspired rooms can draw inspiration from the entire continent. Africa is extremely diverse and is noted for its wide variety of cultures, designs, colors, shapes and patterns.

African-inspired rooms can take in accessories, textiles, furniture and art from the entire continent.
African-inspired rooms can take in accessories, textiles, furniture and art from the entire continent. | Source

From Johannesburg to Tunis, you’ll surely find everything and more than you’re looking for! From tribal masks to Moroccan textiles, Africa offers an unsurpassed richness, depth and bold nature that will appeal to the most adventurous at heart.

And don’t overlook other regions when planning your ethic chic room. Latin countries have rich histories and offer a myriad of influences from the Moors to the Aztecs. In another vein, the continent of India is home to some of the most beautiful and colorful textiles in the world.

Central and Eastern Europe are the considered the birthplace of gypsy or Boho (Bohemian) style decorating. However, this type of ethnic decorating often incorporates elements from other parts of the world. Boho is an ethnically-inspired design direction that naturally falls under the broad umbrella of ethnic chic decor.

Boho style brings the flavor of many cultures to an ethnic chic room.
Boho style brings the flavor of many cultures to an ethnic chic room. | Source

Find a Personality Fit

Ok, so you’ve researched the globe and are still confused about which ethnic chic style suits your personality and lifestyle. Why not start by looking at home? Take a peak into your own ethnic background and draw inspiration from your ancestors.

Check for family tree for clues to your personal ethnic chic room!
Check for family tree for clues to your personal ethnic chic room! | Source

Now that you’ve done your research, you have a good idea of the colors and styles associated with different cultures. If you are a person who gravitates toward subdued furnishings, maybe a Latin inspired room with brightly painted, hand-carved pine furniture is not the best fit for you. Choose a style for your ethnic chic room that will make you feel welcome, relaxed and comforted the moment you enter.

Sources for Ethnic Chic Decorating

  • You can shop the old standbys – your favorite chain import stores. They are a great resource for larger items such as furniture and rugs. In fact, most retailers now carry imported home décor items, so it’s easier than ever to create an ethnic chic room in your home.
  • Flea markets and garage sales are always a good place to find ethnic chic accessories.
  • The world is your oyster thanks to the Internet. With just a few clicks you can purchase gorgeous furniture pieces directly from overseas sources. Just make sure you are dealing with a reputable company.
  • Perhaps your city has ethnic neighborhoods just waiting for you. Many large cities have a Chinatown and a variety of cultural pockets with markets and boutiques full of ethnic chic merchandise.
  • Check out your favorite fabric stores for exotic textiles for making throw pillows, floor cushions and curtains.

An import store in LA's Chinatown.
An import store in LA's Chinatown. | Source

Quick Reference

Popular Ethnic Chic Styles
Moroccan – Rich in Moorish influence. Deeply-hued fabrics and textiles speak to past centuries. Traditional furniture built low to the ground or tables that require guests to sit on cushions are the norm. Intricately carved thuya wood tables are elegant pieces of art to be used and enjoyed. Sumptuous leather ottomans, or poufs, offer extra seating.
Asian – Delicate feel with floral and natural accents. Shoji screens provide privacy and paper lamps give your room subdued lighting. Worn lacquered chests, trunks and sideboards give your room a sense of history. Antique benches, beds and tables add authenticity to your design.
Indian – Indian decor is filled with intricate detail -- from exquisite embroidered silk bedding to wall hangings adorned with round metal medallions. Indian ethnic chic is also noted for its vibrant colors drawn from ancient traditions and everyday street life.
African – It is difficult to categorize African inspired decor. Most people think of fabrics and furnishings influenced by wildlife and nature. Animal prints are always a good choice. Colors run the gamut from vibrant to earthy. Fabrics are a huge part of the design story – Kuba, Adinkra, Kente and Adire are admired for their beauty, but also give a glimpse into tribal art and history.

© 2012 lindacee

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    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Arizona

      vespawoolf, that's the great thing about ethnic décor -- as long as there is a common thread (i.e., color, texture, form) accessories from different parts of the world can coexist! So happy you liked the Hub. Good luck with your move!

    • vespawoolf profile image


      5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Since we'll be moving soon, this is a nice guide to put together our new look. Living in Peru, it's easy to find South American décor items but I find my style is rather eclectic, with both African and Moroccan influences, too. Thank you for your tips.

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Arizona

      Leah, ethnic chic can be achieved in many styles of homes. It just depends on which design direction you want to take and if the vibe works with your lifestyle and family. Out of all the ethnic chic choices I mentioned, my favorite would have to be Boho. Maybe some day I'll give it a go. Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      5 years ago from Western New York

      The ethnic chic style is so cool - I love the look. I don't think I could pull it off in our 1970s split level, but it is a great look!

    • lindacee profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Arizona

      Angela, Native American accents are another great option for an ethnic chic room. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 

      5 years ago from Central Texas

      I have some Indian décor in my home -- but it's Native American Indian which is colorful and interesting. This Hub is very informative and gave me a lot of new ideas -- great work! Best/Sis


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