How To Design A Southwestern Bedroom Theme

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Create a warm and decorative bedroom with the rich colors, intricate patterns and unique designs of the southwestern style. With rustic furniture, detail oriented throws and delicately painted pots, you can easily turn your bedroom into a sanctuary for all things desert themed.


Inspired by the rugged desert of the American southwest, this bedroom design should combine several cultural aspects into the color scheme, accessories and furniture style.

  • Native American cultural designs and colors are a major inspiration for the southwestern style. Consider the colors and patterns found on rugs, tapestries, pots and jewelry.
  • Ranch and western themes also play heavily into the southwestern style. Iron, leather and wood accessories are typically added to the southwestern room in a ranch theme.
  • Nature, particularly the desert, makes up the third and final influence on southwestern style. Cactus, desert flowers, and the colors of the sun and sky are frequently found in decorations and color schemes.
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The southwestern room design theme utilizes several key colors, playing bright shades off neutrals. Pick the best colors for your personality, and work them into your bedroom linens, flooring and wall color. Take inspiration from the vivid colors of a southwestern sunset, set against warm, soothing neutrals.

  • For flooring, stick to neutrals like beige, tan, brown, muted green or off white. If you have southwestern or Spanish style tile in your bedroom, traditional rust and brown shades work well.
  • For wall color, also choose neutral tones that compliment, but not match, the flooring. By keeping the walls toned down, paintings, artwork and brightly colored accessories will stand out.
  • For rugs, use a shade slightly lighter or darker than your carpet or tile, but still remaining within the neutral category.
  • For bedding, use calming colors like white and tan for the duvet or comforter and pillow shams. Throw pillows in vivid shades of teal, orange, yellow and red add a touch of southwestern desert color, without appearing overwhelming. Include one smaller throw pillow in an intricate, Native American pattern to add depth and detail to your colored pillows.


Furniture pieces are often the most noticeable aspect of the southwestern style. Wood pieces are carved with detailed patterns, designs or pictures, while iron is distinctly finished and styled.

  • Headboards and footboards are frequently carved with Native American designs, pictures of suns, cactus and various other southwestern icons.
  • Carved accents can be painted white, teal, orange or red to accentuate their design.
  • Tables, bedposts and dressers are frequently made of thick, rough planks of wood, and are often left unfinished or simply covered with a clear sealant to show off the wood's natural grain and color.
  • Furniture pieces are occasionally painted white or teal, then rubbed with sandpaper to partially scratch away the paint. This creates a worn and weathered look, while utilizing the southwestern color scheme without entirely covering the wood's natural shade and grain.


One of the best ways to decorate your bedroom in any theme is to include style specific accessories. Think western, Native American and natural when selecting decorative pieces for this theme. Consider including:

  • Native American painted pots displayed on weathered wooden tables and shelves to add an authentic southwestern touch.
  • Leather and/or worn wooden headboards to evoke the feeling of rugged ranch doors.
  • Photographs and paintings of southwestern landscapes or icons in brown, teal or white frames.
  • Iron scones and candle holders to create the feeling of old western lanterns.
  • Rugged iron door handles, drawer pulls, light switch plates and lighting fixtures.
  • Rawhide lamp shades on table and floor lamps.
  • Western decorations like cowboy hats, spurs, horseshoes and rope hung on the walls.

Great for Modern, Pueblo, Ranch or Spanish style homes, a southwestern bedroom combines the vibrant colors of desert sunsets with the soothing neutrals of warm sand and the rugged accents of western décor. By selecting appropriately styled furniture pieces, neutral colored flooring, paint and bedding, and adding patterned, colored accessories, it's easy to create the perfect southwestern bedroom.

Last Updated: July 26, 2011
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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