Native American Interior Design: Bringing the Beauty of Nature Indoors

Have you ever gazed upon the vibrant colors of a desert sunrise, marveled at the intricate patterns found in a woven Navajo rug, or stood in awe beneath the towering majesty of a totem pole? Native American interior design draws inspiration from such captivating natural elements and age-old artistic expressions. This seamlessly blends them into today’s modern homes.

As we delve into this rich world, let us explore how you can incorporate the enchanting essence of tribal artistry into your sanctuary. Thus, transforming your living space into a harmonious haven that celebrates nature and serenity.

Native American interior design incorporates natural elements such as wood, leather, feathers, and crystals. It is characterized by warm earth tones like crimson, rust, and beige. It often includes geometric patterns, dreamcatchers, and feather patterns. Macrame art, beadwork, pottery, and jewelry can also be used to incorporate a unique touch to this style. To enhance the authenticity of Native American decor, one may use indoor plants and hanging planters. Avoid plastics or synthetic materials.

Native American Decor

Elements of Native American Design

Native American design is synonymous with a deep respect for nature and an appreciation for its beauty. The key elements of this design style are inspired by the earth, sky, and all living beings.

Incorporating these elements into your interior design can evoke a sense of serenity and tranquility in your home. Native American interior design focuses heavily on natural elements such as wood, leather, and stone. These materials bring warmth and charm to any space.

Handcrafted wooden furniture or woven baskets made from natural fibers can add a rustic touch to your decor. Similarly, incorporating animal skins or hides can layer tactile textures for visual interest.


Another important aspect of Native American interior design encompasses symbols and representation. Dreamcatchers are perhaps the most globally renowned example of Native American symbolism.

In traditional belief systems, dreamcatchers serve as protective talismans. They filter out nightmares from entering one’s peaceful slumber while retaining positive dreams and thoughts.

Other symbols like feathers, arrows, or totem poles hold great spiritual significance in Native American culture. Incorporating these into your decor not only brings unique aesthetics but also honors the traditions.

Native American totem poles


Earthy colors like browns, reds, and greens evoke a sense of peace and harmony with nature. These warm color palettes are perfect for creating cozy dens or intimate environments in living spaces.

Alongside selecting natural materials and textures, adding Navajo patterns and geometric motifs is an authentic way to expand the palette of visuals in your space. Many natural objects from the environment are prized as treasured decor pieces that celebrate their Native heritage.

Items such as pottery crafted by skilled artisans provide yet another example of incorporatine indigenous artistry into your home decor collection. Additionally, using plants native to your region would make for perfect additions to your decor. These celebrate the beauty of nature.

These elements come together to create a unique aesthetic experience that can be customized to suit individual tastes, lifestyles, and design styles. Understanding how Native American interior design is driven by natural materials, symbolism in representing their culture, and how these pieces are incorporated into decor is essential in designing an aesthetically pleasing space inspired by this style.

Interesting Facts

  • According to a 2017 survey by Houzz, Native American-inspired interior design styles were among the top five preferred styles in 14% of participating U.S. households.
  • A 2016 study published in the Journal of Architectural and Planning Research revealed that approximately 62% of indigenous architecture projects incorporated traditional materials. These include adobe, wood, bamboo, and stone.
  • The National Endowment of the Arts reported in 2020 that Americans invested over $11 billion annually to support cultural heritage preservation. This includes Native American arts and crafts. Highlighting the interest in incorporating these elements into interior design.

Design Styles and Influences

Native American interior design continues to inspire artists and designers globally. This is while influencing other design histories profoundly.

This section will examine some popular styles today with authentic influences harking back to the past. Americana is a timeless style bringing nostalgia for an earlier era in America.

This design style pays homage to Native American art. Incorporating traditional earth tones palettes, and geometric patterns in furniture along with natural materials like leather or suede. It’s a great way for homeowners to showcase grandeur decors without going overboard.

Western Inspired Interior Designs

Western-inspired interior designs feature bold landscape views painted, often of figures on horseback venturing through mountains and sprawling valleys. Western motifs may also include Native American-inspired rugs, pottery pieces from Southwestern communities, mounted animal heads or horns, and more. In addition to colors resembling deserts and western landscapes, tan or neutral color schemes are commonly found within this design style.

Native American Pottery
Native American Pottery

Bohemian Inspiration

The origins of bohemian inspiration took form from nomadic tribes moving through Asian countries. Theo eventually incorporated it into modern-day fashion trends.

Bohemian-style interior designs embrace maximalism – prints and textures mixed together in bright colors as well as natural textures aside from earthly browns or pastel hues from flowers kept in vases and fabrics such as lace curtains. The incorporation of Native American symbols like dreamcatchers is common throughout the boho trend.

Southwestern Style

The Southwestern style or Santa Fe style draws heavily upon Native American influence in interior design. It includes using adobe walls, wooden louvers installed over windows, or cacti plants.

Mixing natural textures and materials with patterns of the region can create color schemes based on the geographically distinct palette of earthy browns like sand, and desert blues like turquoise and greens. In Hacienda-style homes, Spanish tile accents across doorways and fireplaces are ubiquitous.

Southwestern decor
Southwestern decor

Wrought iron fixtures complimenting a backyard water feature or fountain remain staples of this era’s interior designs. While native Mexican art pieces would sometimes link to Native American influence.

The accent wall colors of rust or deep blue-based hues alongside an ornate blanket from Oaxaca in Mexico evoke a serene contrast.

Tuscan Style

Tuscan-designed interiors continue to incorporate African tribal-inspired traditional motifs. They elevate it further by adopting rustic and rugged styles to enhance the beauty of this time-tested design.

Rope-twisted tassels around curtains or antique art pieces add classic touches that bring living areas together with brass candlestick holders, plush linen-covered furniture, and stonework detailing often solidifying Tuscan-style designs with aura from the past.

Tuscan style tassels
Tuscan style tassels

Native American interior design has unique and diverse applications in various decor styles. These are beyond Americana, southwestern, Bohemian, or hacienda themes mentioned above.

These popular styles exemplify how one can integrate their fascinating stories into their spaces regardless of budget or location. Native American interior design has a lasting impact on global art and design history, inspiring various popular styles today that incorporate earthy tones, natural textures, and traditional patterns.

From Americana to Tuscan designs, homeowners can showcase grandeur decors without going overboard. All with the incorporation of Native American symbols like dreamcatchers or cacti plants. These popular styles exemplify how one can integrate fascinating stories into their spaces regardless of budget or location.

Natural Materials and Textures

Native American interior design is characterized by the use of natural materials such as wood, stone, leather, and other earthy elements. These infuse warmth and texture into a space.

The importance of nature and its impact on cultural practices is deeply embedded in Indigenous traditions. One way to integrate natural materials into your home’s decor is to bring in large pieces of solid wood furniture.

Wooden chairs, tables, and bookshelves can give the room a rustic and authentic feel. And all while providing a sense of connection with nature. Additionally, you can choose from a variety of woods. These include pine, oak, or teak depending on the ambiance you want to create.


Feathers are another great way to bring nature indoors. Native American cultures have long believed that feathers carry energy and strength. Not just physically, but also spiritually. Also, that they can help improve mental focus and clear negativity. Displaying real or faux feathers inside your home can add an elegant yet earthy touch.

Feathers in a vase


Crystals too are popular in traditional Native American decor for their beauty and holistic benefits. Ones such as quartz, rose quartz, amethyst, and tiger’s eye offer several wellness benefits. These include stress relief, healing properties, and clarity of mind to name a few.

One popular tradition within Native American cultures is the use of crystals for spiritual purposes. People often carry a crystal for protection or wear jewelry made with stones for its healing benefits.

Natural Textiles

Another excellent way to incorporate natural textures into your decor is through textiles. Examples are blankets, rugs, or throw pillows made from wool or other organic fibers.

Mimicking the landscape of the Southwest seamlessly blended with Native American motifs make it one of the most versatile textile options when it comes to adding intricate texture patterns into your decor.

Native American Blankets
Native American Blankets

Overall, using select elements from nature such as wood furniture, feathers, crystals, or organic textiles can constantly remind us about our connections with Mother Nature. And can maintain balance in human life. In the modern world, the importance of this connection cannot be overstated.

Modern Interpretations and Decor

Modern interpretations of traditional Native American design might not center around the conventional rustic cowboy-cabin feel. But more towards a style that takes inspiration from nature. And it focuses on sustainable ways to construct an aesthetic using materials that have less impact on the environment.

Incorporating modern designs with traditional elements like handmade crafts from local artisans or even fabric artists often lend their unique style to make contemporary sensibilities feel more connected with Native American-inspired designs.

A minimalist interpretation of this would probably involve lighter wood colors and cleaner lines that mesh well with the overall ambiance of your home. The intricate details are lost in a sense as natural fibers such as rattan, hemp or grainy linen features become more prominent.

Rattan Furniture
Rattan Furniture

Incorporating Sustainable Materials

A modern way to incorporate sustainable materials into your decor is to use plant-based furniture. Rattan chairs designed for indoor-outdoor seating options can add a bohemian feel to your living space. All while reducing your carbon footprint. Its airy design along with organic textiles can provide both comfort and function while preserving its eco-friendliness quite brilliantly.

The trend towards sustainability within interior design styles inspired by Native American culture has taken hold because of how imaginative it encourages designers to be. Especially in terms of reducing waste and minimizing environmental impacts.

Some might argue that incorporating modern influences into Native American-inspired decor is disrespectful or culturally appropriative. Cultural appropriation is a real issue. There’s a fine line between respectfully embracing another culture’s traditions and exploiting them for our own purposes without context or research.

Rather than copying direct replicas, it may be wise to pay homage through subtle references. These show appreciation for the Indigenous cultures we seek inspiration from.

Overall, integrating sustainable materials such as rattan, flax linen, jute, or organic cotton along with eco-friendly design elements within modern interiors adds a unique touch. It not only enhances our everyday spaces but also instills a sense of responsibility toward the environment we live in.

Modern interpretations of Native American-inspired decor infuse traditional accents and modern design principles. Then they create designs that reflect our values as well.

Incorporating Native Craftsmanship

A significant element of Native American Interior Design is the incorporation of authentic craftsmanship. It embraces traditional cultural crafts physically to the modern design aesthetic. This integration adds a soulful touch to any home or space and honors native communities’ rich history, legacy, and values.

One way to integrate craftsmanship into your interior design is by investing in authentic Native American pottery, baskets, rugs, and jewelry. Authentic pieces can be found at various galleries dealing with Indigenous Arts and Crafts. These objects bring stunning color and texture into your home with their intricate designs and markings.

To gain an authentic touch, though, it’s best to avoid mass-produced Indian-inspired items as these don’t honor or respect the cultures from which they derive inspiration. However, some companies produce modern-day pieces of artwork using Indigenous Techniques such as Navajo weavings. Purchasing such pieces from a genuine artist using traditional techniques helps revive this art form and passes on the tradition to new generations.

Native American jewelry

Personally, I have always admired Native American beadwork so I invested in a few custom beadwork-based coasters made by makers who take pride in their community’s artistry and skillset over machine-made anonymous products.

The purpose of incorporating craftsmanship is not only to decorative value but also to pay homage to thousands of years of Indigenous art-making practices. It can serve as both an act of awareness and a political statement against cultural exploitation while creating an impressive display in our living spaces.

Now that we’ve discovered how to add Native craftwork to our homes let’s dive further into patterns & textiles inspired by traditional designs.

Patterns and Textiles in Traditional Designs

Native American textiles are known for their intricate patterns, bold shapes, and use of natural materials. They draw inspiration from the beauty of nature that surrounds us all and reflect the history and culture of indigenous peoples.

One iconic example is using woven wool blankets in design -thanks to Navajo people. These are produced in various geometric patterns, including diamonds, arrows, stars, and other figures rich with symbolism to evoke spiritual ideas and honor animals.

You can decorate your living space with a meaningful motif appropriate for your region. You can hang these decorative blankets on walls or place them over sofas or chairs for added comfort while reading a book or watching TV.

Native American pillows
Native American pillows

Additionally, Southwestern style decor widely uses tribal prints on upholstery fabrics and throw pillows. An authentic piece of textile with ethnic prints not only adds interest but also becomes a conversation starter once guests discover the meaning behind the intricate designs used within Native American cultures.


Baskets made predominantly by Western indigenous communities form another mainstream approach to adding statement artwork to interiors. These baskets handwoven from natural reeds are typically small but provide texture while offering functionality too.

For instance, set them on shelves to hold odds & ends or hang them as wall decors by themselves or highlight the wow factor in groupings of multiple baskets.

A famous example of traditional pattern designs is Haida art which features black line work and bold colors. It’s an illustration of how cultural traditions continue to influence modern design. Similarly, we can look at our interior spaces as an extension of our creative reputation.

Native American basket

Incorporating textiles or patterns into your home’s design allows you to celebrate different cultures’ vitality while also adding depth to your home’s overall style.

However, it’s essential to make informed decisions when selecting these decor pieces: we cannot separate material belongings from the historical context of their creation.

A mistake made by many in the past was to take indigenous artwork, “borrow” the idea without acknowledgment, and erase its origins. So we must respect the cultural importance of each pattern we introduce and ensure that it’s ethically sourced.

Now that we’ve covered how to integrate craftwork with patterns & textiles that resonate with Native traditions let’s move on further to Natural enhancements for homes.

Symbolism and Cultural Significance

Native American design is rich in symbolism and cultural significance. The patterns, colors, and geometric shapes used in traditional designs carry stories and messages that represent the beliefs, values, and spirituality of different tribes. For example, the circular shape of a dreamcatcher represents the cycle of life, with each web representing a year or a season. The feathers hanging from the bottom are said to represent the breath of life.

Dream catcher

Another example is the use of animal motifs such as eagles, wolves, or bears. These animals hold important significance to Native American cultures due to their strength, courage, and spiritual power. In some instances, they are regarded as protectors or guides for individuals or communities.

Furthermore, color choice also plays an integral part in conveying meaning through Native American design. Earth tones such as brown, beige, and rust are commonly used in designs because they symbolize the connection between nature and the earth.

The Thunderbird

A popular motif used in Native American design is the Thunderbird. This symbol represents power and strength and it is often depicted in artwork or jewelry by various tribes in North America.

Native American culture is deeply rooted in tradition and storytelling. By incorporating elements of this style into your home decor, you can add a deeper sense of history and symbolism to your living space.

Some have criticized the use of Native American-inspired decor as cultural appropriation. It is important to be respectful and mindful when using these designs by understanding their origins and not perpetuating harmful stereotypes.

Now that we’ve explored the significance behind traditional Native American design motifs let’s take a look at ways to enhance our living spaces with nature-inspired elements.

Nature-Inspired Enhancements for Your Home

One way to incorporate nature into your interior design is by using indoor plants to create a calming atmosphere. Plants not only purify the air, but they also add color and texture to your living space. Some popular plants used in Native American interior design include cacti, succulents, and ferns. You can also bring the natural world indoors by using earthy tones and textures such as leather, woven textiles, and wood. Natural woods like cedar or birch make great materials for furniture in Native American-inspired homes. You can also add decorative items made of feathers, shells, or stones to help bring the outdoors in.

A unique way to incorporate nature into your home decor is by creating a living wall or vertical garden. This DIY project involves mounting plants onto an indoor wall or fence to create a beautiful and sustainable accent piece.

Living Wall
Indoor living wall

Incorporate natural elements into your home decor. You can create a sense of harmony and balance within your living space. These enhancements not only have aesthetic appeal but they are beneficial for mental health. They do this by reducing stress levels and increasing happiness.

Some argue that nature-inspired decor is too rustic or outdated for modern homes. However, with the right amount of balance and harmony, it’s easy to combine traditional Native American design motifs with contemporary design elements.

Plants, Art, and Spiritual Connections

Incorporating plants into your Native American-inspired interior design is a great way to add life and energy to your home. Plants have a way of connecting us with nature and bringing a sense of calmness to our indoor spaces.

It’s important to choose plants that can thrive indoors and complement your design style. For example, succulents and cacti are popular choices for desert-themed designs. They require little water and add texture to any room.

Snake plants are perfect for adding a pop of greenery to any space, while also purifying the air. If you’re looking for a plant with cultural significance, consider incorporating sweetgrass or sage. These can be used in smudging ceremonies.

Snake plants
Snake plants and a Pathos

In addition to plants, art is another way to connect with Native American culture and spirituality. Many Native American artists create beautiful works of art that showcase their heritage and traditions. Incorporating these pieces into your home adds character and depth to your interiors.

For example, you could hang a piece of pottery on the wall or display woven baskets on shelves as functional decor elements. Buffalo skulls or cattle horns can be used as decorative statement pieces while also acknowledging the importance of animals in Native American culture.

Do Your Research

However, it’s important to approach art and cultural artifacts with respect and understanding. Many items hold deep spiritual significance and shouldn’t be used solely as trendy decor elements.

It’s important to do your research before purchasing items and consider the history behind them. Think of it like visiting a foreign country. You wouldn’t want to purchase souvenirs without understanding their cultural significance or symbolism. The same goes for Native American decor; it’s important to educate yourself before incorporating these elements into your home.

Finally, incorporating spiritual connections into your design can be a powerful way to create a sacred space within your home. Many Native American practices incorporate spirituality and nature as a way of connecting with the world around us.

For example, you could create an altar space in your home that features elements such as feathers, crystals, or candles. These items can be used for meditation or ceremony and help you connect with yourself, your surroundings, and the natural world.

In conclusion, incorporating plants, art, and spiritual elements into your Native American-inspired interior design is a great way to bring the beauty of nature indoors. By doing so responsibly and respectfully, you can create a beautiful and meaningful space that connects you with yourself and the world around you.

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