It is difficult to separate Southwestern Architecture from Southwestern design, as the one complements the other so well. Still, they can and do exist separately. Southwestern décor combines the Old West, the desert and American Indian culture into one cohesive design. These décor elements can easily be integrated into modern and traditional homes as well.
Southwestern design is certainly a regional trend confined mostly to the southwest part of the United States. However, it is not uncommon to find southwestern design style in homes in other parts of the country. Even when the architecture of the home is not southwestern, many people still tend to use southwestern design.
Southwestern décor originated from the pioneer days when Americans moved west. Elements of southwestern décor include items found in nature that were readily available to pioneers. American Indian elements are also an integral part of Southwestern design.
Southwestern décor reflects the bright, sunny, dessert atmosphere of the southwest. Adobe homes, made from the earth are used to build the home, and traditionally these are the materials that were available. Fortunately, this style has a relaxing aesthetic appeal and is still used today. Furniture typical of Southwestern design uses elements found in nature. Many other designs in Southwestern style have evolved from functional needs.
There are several different feature elements in Southwestern décor. There are the bright paint colors used compliment the colors of the desert. Pale yellow, orange, and teal are very popular colors. Furniture is simple and typically utilizes unfinished wood displaying a strong sense of nature. Native American artwork has a strong presence in Southwestern décor.
You can create southwestern design focusing on the elements mentioned above as well as using a sparse amount of furnishings with simplicity of design. In addition to light, bright colors, and American Indian art and artifacts, you should also incorporate a good amount of wrought iron, and brightly colored tile work.