Elaine Benes hated the movie The English Patient so much that her friends abandoned her in droves. Her boss, J. Peterman, fired her from her job due to her lack of appreciation of other cultures. However, in order to save her job, she had to agree to go to Morocco for a month to learn to appreciate the country’s culture and apparently gain a greater appreciation for the movie. Rumor has it that is how the Moroccan style of homes first entered the United States. But it is unknown whether the excursion changed Elaine’s mind about the movie. It is clear that in most homes the living room is the social centerpiece of the home. It is where friends and family gather for conversation. Because the country of Morocco has both French and Spanish cultural divisions, the interior design style will be a combination of both cultures. Located in the northwestern part of the continent of Africa, it has served as a trading center for many African countries for many centuries, affording its people the luxury of having a variety of materials from which to decorate their homes.
Upon entering a Moroccan style living room, you are likely to walk through an arched entranceway. This leans more towards the Spanish influence of architectural design. Those same arches will also be found when looking at the living room windows. Both the entranceway and the window design are intended to reflect the image of a temple or a palace. Once you enter the living room you will sense the spacious expanse of the overall design of the room, an extension of the palatial qualities that have yet to be revealed. Looking at the walls, you are likely to see rather simplistic colors such as black and white. But those colors serve as the background for the many bejeweled colors that are bright and bold and dominate the visual appearance of the room. You may find the more oceanic blues and greens as well, but often that style will be present in homes near the country’s Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. Bringing that style to America, it can be more appropriate along the coasts or near large bodies of water. Desert or mountain locales may find it more suitable to tone down the bright colors and stay with the earthy and beige tones.
Regardless of the colors chosen, he Moroccan living room will be filled with geometric patterns, on everything to the corners of the room to the partitions that section off the large living room spaces. Furniture can either be subdued colors so as not to take away from the boldly colored walls, or it can have its own pattern and style that coordinates with the walls. Patterns should be carefully chosen to avoid making the space look like an eyesore or a psychedelic experiment from the 1960’s. Specific to the furniture in the room, the Moroccan style needs to exude comfort and relaxation. The reason is simple. The Moroccan geography is largely desert (ala The English Patient) and simply traveling short distances can drain the body of energy. Entering a living space needs to invite people to relax and re-energize. Low seats making it easy for people to literally plop down on is an important feature, and having plenty of cushions to add to the ambiance of relaxation is also an essential part. As for the floor, it is often tiled but covered with rugs to allow for both coolness and comfort.
Earlier it was mentioned that the living room is the social centerpiece of a home, and in the Moroccan style living room the layout of the furniture can be especially important. While many American style rooms like the furniture up and against interior walls, the true Moroccan style will arrange the furniture in circles, similar to a sit down around the campfire. It invites a friendly-type of interaction and is reflective of the overall culture of the people of Morocco. You may see furniture against an interior wall, but this is more of an exception. While this feature can’t be labeled as “essential” for the Moroccan style living room, it is a feature worth keeping in mind if you are the adventurous type – the canopy ceiling. Nothing speaks of the desert and the palatial aspect of a room than the canopy ceiling. It is especially appropriate for living rooms with very high ceilings, to make the room feel more cozy while allowing the heat to rise and cool the room down. Imagine walking into a home where you pass through the arched entranceway and walk into a canopied living area. It screams of the Moroccan desert and the relaxing environment which you will be spending your time.
Finally, it is easy to overlook one of the most important details of the Moroccan living room: the presence of green plants. The general rule is to choose oversized plants because of the spacious environment. Greenery is not a common feature of the desert, and the natural colors of a plant will fit in nicely with whatever patterns or designs you choose for your walls and furniture. Do not think that you need to restrict the plants to the corners of the room, as a properly sized and positioned plant can be a relaxing sight even in the center of the room. The features of the Moroccan living room are aimed at creating both an inspiring but relaxing space to talk with friends, family, or guests. It is intended to be reflective of palatial sized rooms, where every home is its own palace or temple. Patterns and colors are chosen to brighten one’s mood, while the wall and ceiling colors are intended to allow a person to mentally tone things down. While many Americans take greenery for granted, unless you are living along the Moroccan coastlines it is both a rare and welcome sight. Its presence in the Moroccan living room is just one added feature that puts a mind at ease.