Celebrating your culture through interior design
You’re proud of your heritage. Why not bring elements of your culture into your home as a celebration of all that is uniquely you? With a bit of planning and some lucky finds, you can create an environment that feels like home, even if your home base is miles or continents away. Introducing culture to your decor keeps you connected to your roots.
I have gathered some ways to inspire your desire to bring your culture alive in your home and day-to-day life.
Rugs, blankets and tapestry designs
Adding decorative rugs, blankets, or wall accents like tapestries can bring a beautiful accent to your room. Fibre art creations can bring your space together beautifully and set a soft, textural tone for a delightful corner reading nook. Drape a tapestry, shawl or scarf across the back of a comfy chair or use as a dining room table runner for a finishing touch.
Colourful, patterned rugs can embrace multiple cultures and remain as popular in today’s rooms as they were centuries ago. Centre a piece of furniture like a table or bed on an eye-catching rug, or use one as a smaller accent piece that protects your floor from heavy traffic while adding a cultural element.
Tapestries, wall hangings, and throw blankets are a great way to add a pop of colour and pattern in a time-honoured nod to your family’s culture. You can also find heritage-inspired embroidered or patterned throw pillows for sofas, beds or a porch swing.
Expressive with endless possibilities, wall art is a fantastic way to show both your personality and culture. Group framed photos of a trip abroad or paintings that depict your ancestors. Create a family project, asking your children to make a collage of how they perceive their heritage. Hallways or the walls of any room can become gallery space.
You can even extend your ethnic-inspired flair by choosing frames that mirror your culture. Look through import stores or online and mix or match colours, patterns and styles of frames. Celebrate the artists of your heritage, display a sculpture or print from an artist who represents your culture or the work of a talented family member, past or present.
Religion is historically intertwined in many cultures. Look for ways to incorporate religious symbols in your interior design. Whatever faith you embrace, organised religion or not, you can find a way to express reverence for that belief, whether your chosen symbol, statue or art is subdued or stunning. It may be a painting of a religious scene, a treasured artefact from an important religious site, a Buddha statue or a cross. You can hang religious symbols as tapestries, framed art or stencilled images on walls, or display a small tabletop accent piece.
Introduce some cultural heritage to any room of your home with furniture elements that encapsulate your past. Ask family members whether they have any furnishings gathering dust that they’re willing to part with. Such furnishings have an added family history to cherish, and you can dress them up with modern touches. Or, you can make a day of antique store shopping, hunting for just the right piece that evokes memories of yesteryear.
Clothing as decor
For some cultures, ceremonial or everyday clothing evokes powerful emotions. You can bring those time-honoured traditions to your home by repurposing traditional clothing as an element of your decor. Drape over a chair, hang on a wall or repurpose a dressmaker’s mannequin to anchor a corner of your room. You can also sew material into throw pillow covers for your sofa or chair. Check out vintage clothing stores or online stores for representative clothing you can turn into great conversation pieces.
Memory-triggering scents, plants and flowers
There’s nothing like familiar aromas to awaken your senses and perhaps bring a smile to your face. A scent can take you back to cherished family gatherings or remind you of a memorable trip. Scout stores or the internet for candles whose scents take you back to ancestral homes or awe-inspiring trips abroad or inland. Lighting one will be like a sweet, instant transport to the past.
Consider adding plants or flowers to your home, flower garden or in pots for your porch, plants that may be native to where you’re from or reminiscent of your childhood. Having living, breathing reminders of your culture can keep you connected to what’s important.
Music to your ears
Music from your own culture can be the catalyst for recalling many beautiful memories or delving deeper into your culture’s musical influences. You already have favourite musicians, singers and songwriters, but research artists from before your time who were the foundation for today’s music. When you’re feeling homesick, put on some music and let it envelop you in emotion, rhythm and dance. As for interior decor, why not showcase some traditional instruments or art depicting your favourite artists from back home?
Display your culture proudly
Showcasing your culture, whether it’s with pottery, artefacts, art or furniture, adds a flair to your home decor or life while presenting the opportunity to share your family’s customs and traditions and keep your ancestral roots alive. Craft your own cultural haven at home, the perfect place to relax at the end of the day as you cherish your past while enjoying the present.