Despite how much every individual country has to offer, Latin American home décor has historically been confined to the fringes of the design world. While there is no singular aesthetic, each style has risen from the culture, values, and beliefs of individual countries across Latin America. To learn more, here are four things you may not have known about Latin American home décor.
Textiles and Wall Art
When one thinks of Latin American home décor as monolithic, one aesthetic that comes to mind is the image of vibrant and intricate textiles. These iconic patterns originated from frazadas; what was once a thick woolen blanket made by the Aymara women of the Andes by the traditional pre-Columbian backstrap loom has become a staple in furniture, upholstery, cushions, and more. While it used to be a blanket to protect the Andean people from the freezing temperatures, it has now taken flight as a popular artisan blanket valued for its beauty and comfort.
You may even see these blankets used as tapestry wall art, as vibrancy and art are key components of wall décor in many Latin American countries such as Peru and Ecuador. Other wall art includes the iconic Mexican Talavera Tiles and their colorful or raw clay plates and dishes.
Because so much of Latin America is known for the craftsmanship of indigenous communities, proud descendants show this off by filling their homes with the traditional arts of their people. Like the giant Oaxacan, woven rugs dyed from roots, fruit, and leaves are often displayed.
However, these don’t occur as simply decorative side pieces or accessories. Instead, you’ll also see large pieces of handmade furniture as centerpieces, valued for their raw materials and plush fabrics, much like the handmade Mexican Equipale leather chairs or the complex carved wooden chairs and vanities of Peru. For the countries that do take part in this rustic aesthetic, it is a reminder of the roots of their ancestors, but don’t misunderstand; these pieces are intricate, ornate, and often beautifully carved despite their raw material.
The Importance of Nature
Much like the furniture, plants are another key component of the natural home décor aesthetic. Nature is highly respected and valued in many cultures across Latin America and changes depending on the region. While people from the seaside on the Coasts of Chile may value shells, coral, and pebbles, people from the green countryside of Bolivia and Paraguay may implement vibrant flowers and herbs. All these aspects make the home look intimate, comforting, and colorful.
The Ultra-Modern Design Renaissance
Probably the most unknown trend in Latin American design right now is the big boom and push to blend pre-Columbian techniques, traditions, and inspiration with modern designs and applications.
The ancient backstop loom weaving technique is used to create fresh, boho pillows; llama and merino wools are used to create luxurious, elegant throws. New and old materials like resin and ceramic are turned into industrial-style pieces inspired by Mayan culture; native marble is hand-carved into timeless decor pieces; plant fibers are woven into show-stopping sculptures; and natural dyes are mixed up to create new color combinations.
While you may not have known these things about Latin American home décor before, you’re now better equipped to pick out and identify Latin American pieces and maybe even add a little touch of Latin vibrancy to your own home.