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Southwestern style decorating is indigenous to the West
Publish: 2010.11.01 Source: 3D Decorative Posters | 3D Picture Gifts | 3D Photos -http://www.RoseHoliday.com Click:
 

This is a totally American style that belongs to everyone and can be used no matter where you live

It is impossible to use and understand Southwestern style decorating without having an understanding and appreciation of the land. This is a vast, colorful, sometimes harsh and inhospitable ancient land.
The landscape varies from high plateaus to low valleys. There are dry deserts and mountains where green trees and foliage abound. Green grassy valleys and huge volcanic mesas can be found side by side.
The materials, bright colors and dry air all contribute to the homes and interior designs and decorating of the people who live here.

Architecture of Southwestern Style
The architecture of the southwest is as varied as it's landscape. It's early inhabitants built miles of cliff dwellings. The Spanish influence can be found in many old haciendas of the area, while mission style churches and adobe houses dot the countryside. When we think of Southwestern style architecture we naturally picture adobe homes. Adobe is earth mixed with water and straw, poured into bricks and dried in the sun. Because this could easily be produced on site, it became on of the primary building materials of the area. However, because of constant upkeep and maintenance requirements, adobe came to be covered with cement stucco ( a mixture of cement, sand and water applied with a trowel).
Although homes of wood, brick and other building materials are found in the southwest, adobe is still the primary building preference in the area.
Red clay tile roofs are also what people think of when considering Southwestern style architecture. However, metal roofs run a close second on homes that have pitched roofs.
No southwestern home could be complete without a fireplace. Some homes had fireplaces in every room. The most popular fireplace is a corner adobe fireplace known as a beehive. This was rarely found outside the southwest, but with the advent of interest in southwest decorating, they are now available in many parts of the country.

Architectural Details of the Southwestern Style

In Southwestern decorating most of the architectural details are indigenous to the land. Original adobe homes had earthen floors which were covered with animal skins or homespun rugs.  Flagstone, terra cotta, and pine flooring were all introduced in a later time period.
Walls were made of adobe and finished with either a smooth or rough surface, depending upon the builder's preference.
Ceilings are constructed of large beams, sometimes with smaller poles placed at right angles in an intricate pattern. Some ceilings contain plaster between the beams.
Windows were often small and deep set to provide coolness and insulation from the hot sun. As this is no longer a problem in modern times, large picture windows are often installed to provide light and take advantage of magnificent views.
Many windows were halo arched in the style of the early Spanish missions. The windows often had interior shutters for protection from both the sun and hostile enemies.

Ironwork Gives Southwest Homes a Spanish Accent
During the time of Spanish colonization, ironwork was included in all buildings. Handcrafted by local blacksmiths from discarded weapons and tools, it could be found in all areas of the home.
Ironwork was used for gates and window grills as protection against enemy raids. It was also used for practical purposes such as door knobs, hinges and locks.
As always, creativity showed forth with beautifully wrought signs, lamps, branding irons, and handrails. Scrolls, curlicues, and curves are obvious in these wonderful hand made objects.


Furniture of the Southwestern Styles
Antique furniture goes well with this style of decorating. For an authentic Spanish atmosphere, Spanish colonial antiques or Mexican primitives are the furnishings of choice.
These pieces were constructed with mortise-and-tenon joinery. T  They are usually massive and heavy pieces, crudely constructed. Carving was commonplace in these heavy pieces. Since leather was easily available, much of the furniture was upholstered in this material.
As settlers moved West, bringing their prized possessions with them, southwestern style decorating evolved into using various furniture styles from other parts of the country. Feel free to mix other period country antiques with these pieces.

Colors of Southwestern Style Decorating
As with other areas of southwestern style decorating, the bold, bright colors used are derived from the land. Below are the favorite colors used in Southwestern Style Decorating
The intense blues, cobalt and turquoise are found in the skies above.
The beautiful reds come from the colorful soil filled with iron oxide and the fiery red chili peppers that grow in the area.
The bright yellows and oranges are found in the colorful spring desert plants along with the gorgeous sunsets that take your breath away.
These along with the neutrals of the desert, browns, beiges and grays and the desert sage greens make up the color scheme of the authentic southwestern style home.
The most popular color used in a southwest decorating scheme is Taos blue. This is a mixture of sky blue and a dab of violet. This color was introduced by the Spaniards who believed it would ward off evil spirits.
Check with your local paint store. Many have palettes of various regional color schemes and you may be able to find many of these authentic colors through this source.

Accessories Used in Southwestern Style Decorating

All crafts and items associated with Native Americans have come to symbolize the southwest style of decorating. Some of the most popular are:
Indian arts of carving, basketry, pottery, blanket weaving, rug making are all compatible with this area.
Indian jewelry, drums, sculpture, dream catchers, the list goes on and on.
Kachina dolls are highly prized and collected in the Southwest.
Skulls, bones, and longhorns bleached by the desert sun hang in southwestern homes
In addition to Native American arts, Spanish and Mexican art also has a place in southwestern style decorating.
Punched tin is a Spanish folk art. Serapes and Mexican hats show the Mexican influence in the southern part of the area.

Southwestern Style Decorating is a Fascinating Subject

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