Ethnic style

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We often talk about ethnic style but what does exactly consist of and how can we furnish our home following its rules? Let's find out together in the article.

Ethnic style
Arch. Caterina Scamardella
Arch. Caterina Scamardella

Pure ethnic style at home


The Ethnic style, at least in the past, was very present in the homes of lovers of travel and exotic cultures. Today it is among the most popular styles, among travelers and even common people.


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In its most classic meaning it was identified with environments characterized by strong colors on the walls and a combination of various objects coming mostly from African and oriental destinations.

Colori forti per lo stile etnico classico - Pinterest
The usual, great visual disorder, that was very common in the past, is no longer very appreciated in the modern and minimal houses we have today.

Meaning of ethnic style

To understand the most current ethnic style we need to take a step back and discover the origin of the word ethnic.

Ethnic derives from the ancient Greek ethnos, which means people.

This means that, after all, any popular style could be considered ethnic even though, conventionally, we refer to the ethnic style when we refer to distant peoples.


Ethnic chic decor


The modern ethnic style starts from these considerations and replaces its bazaar-like appearance of years ago with a more sober declination of the pure ethnic style.

L'etnico chic è uno stile più sobrio - Pinterest
It starts with neutral colors, a contamination of modern and contemporary style and elements that recall the exotic worlds.


Materials and finishes of the ethnic style


The materials of the ethnic chic style are the natural ones, such as wood in primis, in its various essences, from the lighter ones for brighter and more sober environments, to the darker ones that contrast with light backgrounds or warm the environments if combined with colored walls.

Tappeto in fibre naturali di BenutaNatural fiber carpet from Benuta

Other materials are natural fibers such as jute, coconut and bamboo, used for furnishings and accessories, such as this jute rug by Benuta which is well suited to both dark environments and more sober ones.

Ethnic chic finishes


The rooms in ethnic chic style have soft colors on the walls, from chalky whites tending to gray, to real grays in their various shades, up to earthy colors.

Colori neutri e materiali naturali per lo stile etnico chic - Pinterest
These colors often derive from clay finishes that also give the wall a particular, material texture, not perfect but comfortable, which changes according to the light that hits it.

An ethno-chic wall can also be covered with a characteristic wallpaper, such as Masai by Tecnografica, in non-woven fabric with black and white ethnic motifs.

Carta da parati Masai di TecnograficaMasai wallpaper by Tecnografica

The floors are in wood or terracotta, but natural materials are always a must.


Furnish in an ethnic style


The ethnic-style furnishings are of artisan derivation, handmade to recall the wisdom of the hands of the peoples who forged them.

Ampolla di vetro da Maisons du MondeGlass cruet from Maisons du Monde

They come from purchases made during our travels and therefore are originals of those lands. There are also some brands that reproduce their features, such as Maisons Du Monde which has some collections with an exotic flavor.

Comodino Tanger di Maisons du Monde Tanger bedside table by Maisons du Monde

One example is the Tanger wooden nightstand with doors that look sculpted.

Complements of ethnic chic furnishings


The ethnic style is recalled by exotic objects and accessories such as dark wood masks, tribal figurines, glass ampoules, baskets made with natural fibers like this one proposed by Casa Shops, to contain magazines or textiles.

Cesti contenitore di Casa ShopsContainer baskets from Casa Shops

The carpet can always be in natural fibers or even of the Persian type, with a more traditional look or revisited like the Persisk Kelim carpet by IKEA.

Tappeto Persisk Kilim di IKEAPersisk Kilim rug from IKEA

In a home furnished with ethnic chic style, incense and candles should not be missing, which give warmth to the atmosphere, making it more comfortable.


The ethnic style in the house


We actually can bring the ethnic styleIn in all rooms of our house, following the rules set out above and then specializing each room according to its function.

Modern ethnic style living room


In the living room we will have carved wooden sideboards to recall distant destinations and accessories, in natural materials or even in gilded metal, to embellish the environment.

Un soggiorno in stile etnico africano - PinterestA living room in African ethnic style - Pinterest

We can also place low tables in the room and arrange poufs around those in order to create a place suitable for pleasant conversations, all gathered on a carpet that delimits the space intended for this.

We will also hang paintingson the walls that recall exotic landscapes, travel maps or natural elements, like those proposed by Maisons du Monde.

Accessori in fibre naturali e stile etnico - Maisons du MondeAccessories in natural fibers and ethnic style - Maisons du Monde

Ethnic sofas are generally low, just like those found in oriental homes.

Divani etnici in fibre naturali - PinterestEthnic sofas in natural fibers - Pinterest

Candles and perfumes will help create a pleasant relaxation area for us and our guests.

Ethnic style cuisine


In the kitchen the ethnic chic style can be obtained with accessories that go perfectly with our modern environments.

Cucina in stile etnico  - PinterestEthnic style cuisine - Pinterest

Open wall units or shelves above the worktops can be enriched with terracotta pots or ladles and other copper utensils.


If we want to push this style even more, we can choose backsplashes made with cement tiles or azulejos that recall Moroccan atmospheres or opt for a masonry kitchen with soft colors that are then enlivened by small accessories.

Ethnic style in the bedroom


The ethnic bedroom has always very relaxing colors, from whites to grays.
It is enriched with warm and enveloping fabrics and accessories, always all in natural materials that accompany our moments of relaxation and sleep, also giving us the security of what we touch and breathe.

Letto etnico con zanzariera - PinterestEthnic bed with mosquito net - Pinterest

The ethnic beds are made of wood with headboards carved by expert craftsmen. They are low and accompanied by rugs that warm the floor, such as Ivy by Aldeco in washable jacquard fabric.

Tappeto Ivy di Aldeco in tessuto jacquardIvy rug by Aldeco in jacquard fabric

Sometimes they are placed on a raised masonry structure.

Ethnic beds are often wrapped in a cloud of cloth, the so-called mosquito nets, that resemble the beds of oriental kings.

Modern ethnic bathroom


The ethnic style bathroom is a real home spa. In this environment we can put a turkish bath if we have space or simply a jacuzzi. A freestanding tub that resembles oriental tubs would be simply perfect. 

Bagno etnico - PinterestEthnic bathroom - Pinterest

In the bathroom we can spend relaxing moments surrounded by vapors and aromas which are actually worthy of the best oriental spas.
Complementi di arredo etnici in materiali naturali - PinterestEthnic furnishing accessories in natural materials - Pinterest

Oriental mirrors, natural materials and fabrics will all be perfect in this atmosphere and they will make us feel like we are always on vacation.

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