exotic INSPIRED rooms (not theme room)

I love to travel – and always look to bring something home as a momento.  While writing about chinoiserie in my last post (Chinese inpired fabrics and wallpapers), I thought it would be interesting for you to see seven examples of exotic elements well incorporated into decor.  Finding “the mix” is key…  2, 3, 4 or even 5 elements from a particular place will make a room interesting and give the flavour of the culture and style.  Often there is not a “right or wrong” choice, but by choosing to let your Rock Star Favorite items shine by mixing in simpler, cleaner classic pieces will be a more successful room.  As with any recipe, one element can shift the look in a new direction, and if you have FIVE STAR pieces from your travels, give them the presence  they deserve by leaving some breathing room.  Too much of a good thing turns into a Theme Room… unless Over the Top is your style!

Traditional Home

The carved red cabinet in the mirrored niche, the bamboo style bench and the lacquered black coffee table are all from Asia and are the elements that give this beautiful sitting room the well travelled feel.

House Beautiful image

This entrance hall is covered with stunning European wallpaper. The jade green Chinese garden stool and antique console are a beautiful combination with the unexpected graphic black and white floor. The jade is repeated in the lamps, the stone on the console top and is in the wallpaper.  Entrances are often neglected and such an opportunity to have fun with bolder choices as it is somewhere to welcome you home, but a space to meander through and not spend much time in.

Mary McDonald

Interior Designer Mary MacDonald is a master of well curated rooms, incorporating some unique and very interesting accessories and objets, giving all of her spaces a hit of exotic, as the living room above, and family room below.  Above, the pair of Chinese chairs, pair of Chinese Qin Terracotta Warriors on the mantle and the vintage ivory tusks add the travelled elements.  The strict colour palette of black and white with the hits of Chinese red is outstanding.

Classic blue and white porcelain collection, pair of Chinese red lacquered stools and pair of black lacquered bamboo style chairs are the exotic elements, the textured coffee table and bird cage are added interest, and again, a strict colour palette.

style at home

This wall is eyecatching!  The Chinese lacquered screen in the corner, the side table in the foreground and a little hit of leopard print in the cushion… with Andy Warhol Marilyn pictures.  This suprising combination works so well  because the background (carpet and walls) are pale and with most furniture elements being black and white, the colour in the accessories POP (an often used decorating term signifying jumping out, first thing your eye notices).  Also note the gold colour is is the thread that runs through all of the elements linking them — the lamp, the frame of the striped chair, the frame of the foreground chair, the fabric of the foreground chair, in the pattern on the screen, the side table, the picture frames and Marilyn’s hair… repetition is key.

living etc

This gorgeous combination of mother-of-pearl inlay mirror and ornately carved console bring India home and the hot pink pillows and simple baskets complete the feel.

Big Impact in simplicity and scale… Sometimes less IS more.

Deciding when to stop can be as important as deciding what to add.


photo credit 1) Tradional Home 2) House Beautiful 3&4) Mary McDonald 5) Style at Home 6) Living Etc 7) Martha Stewart

My name is Sue Womersley and I am an Interior Decorator in Vancouver BC.

Copyright Sue Womersley






6 responses to “exotic INSPIRED rooms (not theme room)”

  1. Be Pop Art Avatar

    Great rooms. As a Pop Art fan, I find myself drawn to the one with the Marilyn Monroe reproductions. Looks great.

    1. designmuse Avatar

      Thank you!!! I love that one too. I like what you do on your website — cheers Sue

  2. SIGHTLINES – what can you see? « design musing Avatar

    […] These distinctly different spaces that are open to each other, relate to each other – the light fixtures are in the same metal and complement each other, the cushion on the sofa is the colour of the wall in the dining and garden stools flanking the entrance  and the wood in the dining room is the same as the wood table behind the sofa.  Unique spaces with the common thread linking them … something I mentioned in this post here… […]

  3. make an ENTRANCE in your home « design musing Avatar

    […] writing about EXOTIC INSPIRED rooms, I mentioned entrance halls as an opportunity to have some fun with bolder choices.  Often […]

  4. happy chinese NEW YEAR – 8 room tribute « design musing Avatar

    […] EXOTIC inspired rooms (not THEME rooms) […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: