The commercialized aspects of Mexican decor – those smiling cartoon peppers in big sombreros and ubiquitous combinations of turquoise and pink are pale, watered-down imitations compared to the true vibrancy of Mexican culture.
Mexicans are people of earth and sun and these combinations are reflected in their decorating style. A true Mexican home is a lively combination of earth tones in walls and furniture with accents such as red, yellow, beige, orange, green, and blue. To create the perfect balance of these shades, it is best to first study Mexican culture closely.
One of the most distinct characteristics of Mexican decorating is their clay-based terra cotta pottery. Jugs, pots and vases all are created in this pottery. Among the most unique of these designs is a California strawberry pot. With its many planting holes, this single pot can serve as an entire indoor herb garden. Besides the standard red-brown of terra cotta, these pots are often painted with the vivid reds, yellows and blues typical of the culture. Among the topics for terra cotta pottery are sun and moon faces, suitable as wall decorations both inside and outdoors.
Representations of the Aztec and Mayan calendars also are popular decorations in Mexican style. These decorative, highly detailed pieces are made in plaster, hydro-stone and tinted wood, and are fascinating enough to serve as the focal point in any Mexican room.
Mexican rugs have a distinct power to transform any space. Flat-weaved wool rugs are typical of Mexican design and they come in nearly every size and color imaginable. For a room with an open, airy feel to it, choose solid colored rugs with lighter shades of yellow, red, orange and green, which are common in Mexican decor. To make a big room look smaller, select Zapotec rugs from Oaxaca, Mexico. These rugs are made in beautiful, bold patterns. To define two spaces in one large room, consider two differently shaped rugs in different sizes with similar but not the same, Mexican patterns.
Artwork from Mexican Culture can accent a room, inspire a color scheme, or bring a touch of whimsy to a space. For instance, large framed cards from the popular Mexican game “La Loteria,” a card game similar to Bingo, can be used as wall art. There are also paper-mache folk art figures and scenes inspired by the Day of the Dead, or “El Dia de los Muertos,” the Mexican holiday that reveres and celebrates ancestors. For those with an eye for more sophisticated fare, prints by the famous Mexican woman painter Frida Kahlo can give true Mexican flare to any room.
Finally, don’t overlook the wealth of Mexican fabric art. Magnificent shawls, serapes and sombreros are typical of these fabric forms. Shawls can be quite colorful and delicate, while serapes are heavier and sturdier, like blankets. Sombreros, too, can show two designs: the simple woven straw of the Mexican peasants, or the elaborately decorated headgear often worn by the elite owners of rancheros. Choose wisely among the many offerings in fabric art to make sure they complement the color and style of your vivid and lively Mexican decor.