Best of both worlds: Cultural combinations in interior design

Design is now a universal language.

With new technologies, accessible travel and widely available social media, design has become quite fluid, crossing boundaries and fusing cultures and design styles. The result? An eclectic mix of patterns, textures, and styles that are developing an identity of their own.

Culture, for one, is a treasure trove of design inspirations. Prints and patterns, crafts, color combinations all lend a certain design identity, and this is where design fusion can happen. In such a dynamic field as interior design, cultural allusions become catalysts for designers to experiment and pair certain elements derived from culture as a jump off point for creating combinations that mix and match well. Now, the question is how?

Dining area

Color. Regardless of which cultural inspirations are paired together, color and its combinations should be considered. The bold colors of a Persian rug would go nicely with the stark colors of Mediterranean tile work. In both cases, it is through the colors that a certain consistent and cohesive look is achieved — adapting the design principle of harmony.

Texture. The way certain items give off a tactile quality is also a good start in combining two different cultural inspirations. The rough and raw appeal of Filipino stoneware and earthenware would contrast nicely with the smooth and light finishes of Scandinavian design elements and this time, it is not the principle of harmony that makes it work but the principle of contrast that elicits a unique and dramatic combination.

Prints and patterns. Certain patterns when mixed also evoke a certain dynamic appeal when it comes to interior design. Make sure that when combining patterns from two different cultures, there is still an observed feel to the space creating a theme. Pairing Polynesian floral patterns; hibiscus, orchids, birds of paradise in fabric with a distinct Javanese Batik pattern in a sofa elicits a mix of patterns yet still alludes to a tropical vibe.

There is no hard and fast rule in interior design that prevents combining colors, patterns and textures in an interior space and in cultural combinations, the same thing can also be said. The key is to just get a good feel of what works and what does not and approach the challenge from a personal level — a personal preference.    IDr. Pojie Pambid