A Moroccan hideaway should include a comfortable seating area filled with colorful cushions, pillows and flowing fabric.

How to Create a Moroccan Hideaway

by Michelle Radcliff

If bold, vivid colors and exotic decor appeal to you, consider creating a Moroccan hideaway in your home as a place to relax, hang out with friends or use as a romantic retreat. Let your inner-gypsy, bohemian side come out in a room filled with elegantly draped fabrics, bold colors and patterns on pillows and cushions, and hand-painted details on walls and furniture. Ornate accents mixed with rustic and tribal elements give the style an eclectic feel.


The rich, jewel-toned color palette of a Moroccan-inspired room provides many options for wall color. Go dark and mysterious with a deep blue, indigo or periwinkle hue on walls inspired by the Mediterranean Sea or the desert twilight sky. Warm earth tones in beige, sand and gold are reminiscent of the desert environment while vivid orange, yellow and red capture the fiery hues of an African sunset. Give walls deeper dimension and a textured appearance with a color wash, which can also simulate the plaster walls of authentic Moroccan architecture.


You can’t create a true Moroccan hideaway without comfortable seating. Moroccan furniture is typically low profile, with benches, platform sofas and chaise lounges covered in comfortable cushions and pillows. Floors are often layered in plush rugs with scattered cushions and large floor pillows for relaxed seating. Use large, round leather ottomans, called "poufs," for both seating and as small tables. A custom-made corner bed can serve as a sectional sofa and provide plenty of room to stretch out. Room dividers, chairs and small tables with bone or mother-of-pearl inlays and intricately carved details show the high-quality craftsmanship of Moroccan artisans.


As with any decorating style, lighting plays a key role in a Moroccan-themed room. In particular, Moroccan lanterns provide a signature look, although the lanterns come in a variety of designs. Intricately carved metal casings create stunning light displays when the lamps are illuminated. Other lanterns feature colorful glass panels in jewel-toned shades of amber, amethyst, ruby, emerald and sapphire. Moroccan lanterns are typically illuminated with tea-light or votive candles. Alternatively, use small LED lights that simulate candle light with no messy wax or open flames to worry about. Henna lamps, another type of Moroccan-style lighting, are made from stretched goat skins, and the lamps are often painted with paprika and saffron dyes, which illuminates the space with a subdued, earthy feel.


Layers of lush, colorful, silky fabrics create a cozy, comfortable atmosphere. Use warm tones of red, rust, orange, yellow and gold mixed with vibrant hues of violet, green and blue. Wool rugs featuring colorful geometric designs add soft texture and contrast to floors. Panels of sheer fabric hung from the center of the ceiling to the walls or draped overhead in billowy waves creates a tent-like effect. Surround your bed with floor-to-ceiling curtain panels or drape fabric across the wall behind a bed or sofa. Camouflage a small hideaway built into a window seat, alcove or closet with velvet panels that can be held open with decorative fringe and tassel tiebacks.


A large brass or silver serving tray with an elegant Moroccan teapot and colorful tea glasses placed on a leather pouf makes a classy display. Place large ceramic urns, vases or oversized lanterns directly on the floor. Mirrors typically feature bone or mother-of-pearl inlay or a colorful mosaic frame. Scatter a variety of brightly colored accent pillows on beds, seating furniture and floors in a variety of sizes and shapes, including square, rectangular, rolled and round. In addition to architectural applications, colorful Moroccan tiles can embellish practically anything, including furniture, frames, shelves and headboards. You can also use designs and patterns found on Moroccan tile to create eclectic, patchwork stencil patterns for furniture, textiles, walls or wall art.

About the Author

Michelle Radcliff owned a retail home furnishings business for eight years. Radcliff offers decorating advice on her blog, Home Decorating News, is a regular contributor on interior design at LoveToKnow.com and earned certification as an interior decorator from Penn Foster College in 2013.

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