As a Latino living in northern Europe, I long for the balmy, tropical nights of Central and South America, spending hours on the veranda with friends and family, soaking in an atmosphere full of laughter and good times. So whenever we experience a mini-heatwave in the UK, I reminisce about the good times, which also makes me think of the bright, vibrant and bold colours we love so much in Latin America.
Take Mexico – its buildings, paintings and decorations evoke feelings of happiness, optimism and energy usually associated with warm, summery temperatures and vast tropical coastlines.
Inspired by the biggest country in Central America, I’ve come up with six ideas to add Mexican touches to your interiors to fill your home with joy and alegría.
1- Be daring and paint a wall with bright colours such as yellow, fuchsia, orange or colder shades such as blue or green.
Bright colours add light and vitality to any room. It’s not necessary to paint an entire living room with a vivid colour, but a corner or a small wall.
Mexico unsurprisingly ranks second (after Costa Rica) on the 140-country Happy Planet Index, so the use of colours reflects their festive and playful nature.
2- Give prominence and personality to your floors with hand-painted mosaic tiles from Talavera, Puebla.
During colonial times of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Spanish brought their knowledge of pottery and tile making to Mexico. The country has since embraced this tradition thanks to the abundance of quality clay and its knack of producing quality earthenware.
Infuse the spirit of Mexico with highly detailed patterns and brightly coloured tiles if you want to add character to your home.
An eye-catching accent in kitchens and baths, decorative ceramic tiles are also perfect for covering the risers on a staircase or the walls of a patio. Leftover tiles can also make excellent coasters and trivets.
3- Incorporate objects made of colourful ceramic to create a more original and fun decoration.
Ceramics are an important part of Mexican culture, its intricate hand-painted designs with striking patterns most often associated with flowers are a great addition to any home decoration.
The plants look more appealing if you use pots of vivid colours.
Bowls, plates and kitchen utensils can double up as decorative elements as well as practical crockery – they all have a place in the kitchen.
4- Generate a warm feeling with the colourful embroidered textiles and Aztec rugs.
There are many indigenous communities that have maintained their textile traditions, from cultivating plants to produce yarns and textiles to the most delicate and intricate embroidery which come from the dense vegetation of certain parts of Mexico. They often incorporate large flowers and animals as a central part of the embroidery. Again the colour is very important, bright and cheerful tones make family life even more cozy and homely.
5- Decorate your walls with many small pieces and ornamented frames.
The textures within the Mexican style also incorporate ornaments with nationalist and religious motifs. Catholic Christianity is the dominant religion in Mexico, which has the second-largest Catholic population in the world.
The Day of the Dead is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico. It focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have passed away, and help support their spiritual journey. A common symbol of the holiday is the skull which is often represented through masks.
To reflect the folk style, use boxes housed with Virgin Marys (hand-hammered tin art), decorative crosses, sacred heart nichos with wings, a painting of Frida and other shiny and glittery ornaments on the wall.
6- Decorate your table or corners with colourful plants and beautiful cactus.
Mexico is famously described as a land of deserts and cacti.
Found almost everywhere throughout the country, from Sonora in the north to inland Oaxaca in the south, the cactus has become an enduring symbol of the country’s reputation abroad.
The cactus comes in many hundreds of varieties, but common to all are their resilience to the intolerable desert sun and torrential rain, their gorgeous orange, red, fuchsia and yellow blooms. The agave cactus is also the foundation of that most famous Mexican drink, Tequila.
Keen to use some of these vibrant ideas into your home?
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