Design trends come and go, but some stand the test of time and become classics. When it comes to interior design, creating a style that reflects your unique personality while incorporating timeless elements is key to a space you’ll love for years to come. Here’s how to go about cultivating your own global design sensibility.

Finding Inspiration in Far Flung Locales

One of the best ways to develop a personal global style is to look beyond your own borders. Thumb through foreign magazines and design books or browse websites showcasing interiors from around the world. Make note of colors, patterns, materials, and accessories that appeal to you. A vibrant Indian textile, an ornate mirror from Morocco, or a sculptural light fixture from Italy can infuse exotic flair into your decor.

Just be sure that these far-flung finds truly reflect your tastes, rather than seeming randomly eclectic. The aim is to weave diverse elements into a cohesive whole that feels authentic to you. Don’t be afraid to mix high and low, vintage and modern, casual and elegant. The most alluring interiors have a collected over time feel, not a “just purchased” look.

Blending Materials and Textures

One hallmark of global style is the blending of disparate materials and textures to create depth and visual interest. Rough plaster walls contrasted with smooth marble countertops and sleek metal fixtures. Cozy wool textiles juxtaposed with gauzy cottons and linens.

Explore how different tactile elements play off each other by collecting swatches of fabrics, tiles, woods, and metals you’re drawn to. Arrange and rearrange them until you find pleasing combinations. Use this as inspiration when selecting finishes and furnishings. Anchor your scheme with natural materials like stone, timber, and fibers, then layer in metallics, glass, and other sleek surfaces for exotic flair.

Infusing Color from Near and Far

Color can transport a room, so look across cultures for hues that appeal to your sensibilities. Vibrant shades of turquoise reminiscent of Moroccan tiles, or burnt orange tones found from Italy to India make bold color statements. Blush pink and sage green speak to Scandinavian and Japanese aesthetics, while deep indigos and chartreuses evoke the tropics.

Keep in mind that colors take on different meanings around the globe, so be sure choices make sense for your lifestyle. Coordinate colors from your inspirational palette in ways that suit you. For example, vivid yellows in geometric patterns on an accent chair, throw pillow, or area rug can punctuate a neutral room with an exotic pop of color.

Seeking Out Global-Inspired Furnishings

Furniture and decor with artisanal craftsmanship or cultural influences add a worldly look. Seek out items handmade regionally with traditional techniques, like woven baskets and pottery in African or Native American style, or hand-carved wood furnishings with Asian or Indian flourishes. Distressed woods, visible joinery, and hand-painted finishes speak to global aesthetics.

For a budget-friendly approach, peruse flea markets and online sellers for vintage lanterns, baskets, trunks and other decorative accessories with far-flung origins. Keep scale and proportions in mind – oversized furnishings can overwhelm a space. Look for statement pieces as focal points, balanced with simpler forms.

Consider Original Artwork

One-of-a-kind artwork and handcrafted decor reflect individuality and personal narrative, two cornerstones of global interiors. Seek out original pieces that resonate with your heritage, travels, or aesthetic interests. Black and white photographs of exotic architecture, abstract paintings in vivid hues, or batik wall hangings can make striking statements.

Supporting local artists and craftspeople allows you to connect directly with artistic talents and traditions worldwide. Many specialize in customized commisions, lending a personal twist. Even in modest doses, original art infuses spaces with bespoke personality.

Infusing Global Style into Small Spaces

You needn’t have an expansive home to channel global flair. Even the smallest spaces can welcome diverse influences. Just focus on a few impactful touches. For instance, glossy green kitchen cabinets, open wood shelving, and marble counters could evoke varied geographies within a petite kitchen. A vibrant indigo accent wall and intricately stenciled floor mat can transform a powder room.

In general, edits and restraint are key in tight quarters. Limit color schemes, patterns, and decorative accessories to just a few complementary elements for balance and visual harmony. Multifunctional furnishings like poufs that serve as seating and storage are helpful. Maintain open floor space and sightlines for an airy, uncluttered look.

Staying True to Your Roots

While looking across borders for design inspiration can open exciting new possibilities, the most important touchstone is your own identity. Honor your origins and personal narrative through cherished artifacts, meaningful photography, heirloom furnishings, or display of treasured collections.

Your global design style should ultimately celebrate who you are. Embrace elements from other places and periods, but do so thoughtfully, not randomly. Choose pieces that truly resonate with your experiences, perspectives, and connections to reflect the varied threads that compose your one-of-a-kind story.

Key Takeaways for Cultivating Global Style

  • Look to other cultures for inspiring colors, materials, patterns and accessories, then integrate in ways that suit your unique tastes.
  • Anchor spaces with natural materials, layering in metallics, glass and sleek surfaces for exotic flair.
  • Infuse color thoughtfully, being mindful of different meanings and associations globally.
  • Incorporate furnishings and decor with artisanal craftsmanship for multicultural appeal.
  • Add original artwork for an individualized, collected-over-time look.
  • Edit and focus on just a few well-chosen global touches even in small rooms.
  • Stay true to your roots and embrace elements that celebrate your personal narrative.

The possibilities for crafting a distinctive global design sensibility are infinite. Approach the process with an open mind, a curious spirit, and respect for qualities that resonate most meaningfully with your way of living. Thoughtful integration of beloved furnishings and artful finds from near and far will guide you to a personal oasis you’ll treasure for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions about Global Style

What are some hallmarks of global interior design style?

Some key qualities include blending cultures and eras; mixing high-end and low-end, glossy and matte, refined and textural; including handcrafted and artisanal furnishings and decor; using authentic materials like woods, metals, and fibers; and infusing bold, saturated colors from around the world.

How do I incorporate global style on a budget?

Look for fairly-priced imported textiles and colorful accent pieces. Peruse flea markets, online resellers, or fair trade shops for vintage lanterns, baskets, and handcrafted accessories. Repurpose what you already own by reupholstering or repainting furnishings in bolder colors.

What are versatile ways to add global flair?

Accent walls in vivid hues, textural wallcoverings, colorful area rugs, and artwork with cultural motifs or patterns are some easier ways to infuse spaces with exotic flair. Drum tables, poufs, and decorative objects from other cultures also add quick splashes of global style.

How do I avoid looking too themed or over-the-top?

Stick to a complementary color palette and edit pieces carefully rather than going overboard. Anchor your look with neutral solids and layer in prints and patterns judiciously. Maintain balance and keep lighter visual weight on upper walls and ceilings. Incorporate cultural elements thoughtfully rather than randomly.

What are tips for small spaces?

Limit colors, textures, and decorative objects. Choose multifunctional and slim furnishings to conserve space. Use accent walls or partial wallcoverings strategically versus covering every wall. Keep floor space open and uncluttered. Add height with floating or wall-mounted storage and slender plantings.


With an adventurous yet thoughtful spirit, you can craft an exotic global design style that’s uniquely your own. Look to cultures worldwide for inspiration, exploring colors, furnishings, accessories, and materials that resonate. Integrate diverse pieces in personalized ways that make sense for your lifestyle and story. Stay true to your roots while embracing far-flung influences that celebrate who you are. Keep edits and restraint in mind and you’ll enjoy a personal oasis with timeless global flair for years to come.