How to Decorate a Room With a Native American Design

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A decade or so ago, Southwestern design was a popular choice for home decor and many confuse it with a Native American theme. However, Southerwestern design and a Native American theme are not necessarily the same thing. If anything, Native American design is more closely related to a standard Western theme, yet Native American design stands on its own. While you may not want to decorate your entire home in Native American design, it can be the perfect choice for a single room such as a den, family room, home office or bedroom.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pen or pencil
  • Paper
  • Paints (in earth tones)
  • Wallpaper (in plain earth tone solids of Native American prints)
  • Wallpaper border (in a Native American motif)
  • Accent rugs (Native American woven fabrics or faux animal skins)
  • Window treatments
  • Natural fabrics for pillows, throws, and/or other accents
  • Native American and/or Western prints or paintings
  • Native American pieces like wind catchers
  • Determine how deeply to immerse the room into a Native American theme. Carry it throughout the entire space including furnishings and decor or choose to accent plain background furnishings with Native American designs. If opting to incorporate the motif into the furnishings as well, chose furniture of natural fabrics, suedes, or leathers in basic earth colors such as camel, chocolate or black. Add color and design with accent pillows and throws.

  • Design the room out on paper if that will help to crystalize the overall planned design. Even outline where furniture might be placed if that will have an impact on the room's motif and layout.

  • Choose wall paints in earthy colors, which are more prevelant in Native American themes than the typical Southwestern design. Choose neutrals or warm colors such as beige, taupe, gold, chocolate, green or even traditional sky blue. Paint all the walls the same color or opt to have one or two accent walls in a complimentary color. If it is required, paint the room's trim to compliment the wall colors.

  • Opt for plain wallpapers in solid earth tone colors or choose something with a Native American design. Use the wallpaper to accent one or more walls. Another option is to paint three walls and wallpapering the fourth in the design motif. Or it is possible to choose a simple Native American themed wallpaper boarder to go around the top of a plain painted or wallpapered wall.

  • Accent one or more walls with a Native American and/or Western themed tapestries or rugs or make tapestries from natural fabrics like burlap, hemp, suede or weaves. Hang them from decorative tapestry bars.

  • Use Native American accent rugs in woven natural fabrics or faux animal skins to accent floor space or to hang on the walls.

  • Hang window treatments such as blinds shades, or curtains that are in keeping with the Native American theme. Choose solid earthy colors that compliment the colors of the wall and trim or opt for prints, stripes or woven fabrics that fit in with the overall motif.

  • Use colorful natural accent fabrics like burlaps, wovens, or hemps for things such as bedcovers, throws and pillows. Be sure to mix in some solid colored fabrics to break up typical Native American print or stripe patterns. This will add more visual interest and depth to the room's motif.

  • Hang framed native and/or Western prints or paintings on the walls.

  • Use Native American pieces like dream catchers, peace pipes, drums, and feathers on walls or as furniture accents.

  • Add Native American pottery, hand carved gourds, figurines and/or sculptures or any other pieces that suit the room as designed. Place dried flowers, cacti, and/or natural earth reeds into Native American pottery for splashes of natural elements throughout the room.

Tips & Warnings

  • Mix solids and prints as well as patterns and textures to add more interest and depth to the room.
  • Choose a few good accent pieces rather than a number of cheaper ones.
  • Always choose furnishings that can be used in other areas.
  • Use the KISS method, Keep it Simple, Silly--since too much of a good thing can make the room look busy.
  • Don't make drastic changes to any room that can't be easily changed.
  • Don't choose accessories that can only be used one way.
  • Don't choose fabric accents that aren't simple, and inexpensive, to keep clean.
  • Mix patterns and textures carefully so the room doesn't come across as too busy.

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