Southwestern Kitchen Design Ideas

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A warm, inviting style, Southwest kitchens enable you to blend typical kitchen décor items with other decorative pieces usually reserved for outdoor settings. Featuring bright colors and a variety of textures and materials, this style of kitchen has a variety of elements you can include to make it a stylish center of your home.

Room Design

  • Backsplash Tile: Depending on your kitchen size, you can have anywhere from a couple of rows of tile behind your stove, sink and countertops to dozens of rows. This is a wonderful style element in a kitchen as it adds color and style, while also being practical. A backsplash is one thing that is often used to in designing a Southwest Kitchen. You can use a variety of solid colors and arrange them in a pattern or at random, or else use tiles that have designs on them. The tiles themselves also don't have to be solid or have shapes on them, as you can get tiles that use foods like chili peppers for something a little more fun.
  • Rustic Wooden Beam Ceilings: Especially if you have high ceilings, these are a great style element to create a Southwest feel in a kitchen. They make the room warm and incorporate the feel of the nature and traditional Native American home design.
  • Saltillo Tile: Flooring tends to be an item that comes to mind first with this kitchen style as Saltillo tiles are popular to use with many kitchen styles. Real Saltillo tile comes from Mexico, but you can find other similar styles that look great and add Southwest style to your kitchen.
  • Stencils: Southwest design has a lot of color and incorporates art, something you can do with stencils around your room. You can do designs of different shapes and/or foods and play with color as well.
  • Rounded Alcoves And Arches: The softer look of the rounded arches and alcoves, combined with painting the walls a color keeping with the overall look of the room make this design element common in Southwest kitchens.

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Kitchen Appliances

  • Copper Sink: Most people don't think to get a different material for sinks other than the common porcelain or stainless steel, but copper sinks look great and definitely add a distinctive Southwest look.
  • Stove With A Grill: This is a common element in these kitchens and they add a great flavor to your cooking. It's especially a plus if you live in cold climates in the winter, as you can enjoy grilled foods and don't have to worry about grilling outside. It's definitely a Southwest kitchen item you will enjoy.

Finished Product


  • Bright Colors: Bright colors for the walls are a popular element in Southwest deisgn. You can do bright blue, red, orange, yellow or maybe just do a few colors on accent walls. The point is you can get colorful.
  • Neutral colors: Though brights are popular in this style, neutral are an absolute must to provide a subtle backdrop for the vivid pops of color. Not every surface should be red, teal or yellow. Terra cottas, pale yellows and browns, give your kitchen a desert-like palate of neutrals. And don't forget you can combine them, you could have all neutral walls and add a bright color accent wall.


  • Cabinet Handles: One easy style element to add a particular style to a room are the kitchen cabinet handles. For a Southwest room, a good idea is to get wrought iron handles. They not only maintain the style of the room, but they are functional. And keep in mind that depending on how many cabinets you have, you may want to vary the styles.
  • Art: Think Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo if you want a style element that is Southwest in look and feel. The simplicity of the flowers, color and nature in the pictures, and the humble outdoorsy way of life make these artists' work and style a great natural element to add to the room. There are lots of great art pieces out there in this style, so check them out.
  • Pottery: If you have an island in the kitchen, available countertop space or room on the tops of cabinets, you can add some pottery pieces around the room to give it an earthy Southwest feel.
  • Dark, Roughhewn Items: Feel free to get boxes, baskets, old bottles and vases and add them around the room, but make sure the items have a roughhewn look to keep with the Southwest feel.
Last Updated: March 14, 2013
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About Leah Gillis Leah Gillis has worked for several major news outlets, as well as a television series on home buying and decor. Having grown up in New England, she has lived in New York City, Los Angeles and Milan. When not trying to get a great deal, she is often found reading something, writing something or talking to someone.

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