My Top 3 Rules In Perfecting A Global Interior

Ever wondered how you achieve a global looking interior that doesn’t look like a mish mash of impulse buys? I’m talking African masks and other paraphernalia that you have collected that for some reason looks shocking when you try to put it all together. The trick to make a Global inspired interior work is by being considered and taking a specific angle. Read below for my top 3 rules in making your ethnic inspired furnishings actually work cohesively together.

Rule 1: Use one star piece and layer around that

Most people buy various items of a whim and then try and put most of them in the same room. This can be disastrous for a number of reasons. The first reason is that many ethnic pieces are emotionally stirring and are by design, meant to make a dramatic statement. Too many of those statements in the one space will make people feel uncomfortable and unsettled.

See Sydney Interior Designer Hare & Klein’s ‘Clifftop’ project below. There is a stunning hand-woven necklace by Australian sculpturist Tracey Deep which is the sculptural focal point for this living room. This has been kept quite neutral and works in every way. There are layers of earthy elements that add to the tactile feel of the space. Seagrass rugs, and subtle ethnic wooden stools relate to the ethnic feel but are not adding additional layers of overbearing focus. They blend in seamlessly and create a mood, rather than a statement.

Designer: Hare & Klein Photographer: Jenni Hare

Designer: Hare & Klein Photographer: Jenni Hare

Rule 2: Choose Monochrome or Hue. Don’t blend them.

A global Interior can work wonderfully well whether you go with pattern and colour or strip this back to total monochrome. The below setting is of Sydney Interior Designer Pamela Makin’s Bundoon House. I understand this is actually her own family home that she renovated with her husband a number of years ago. Check out that tree trunk in the middle of the room. is this cool or what?

What works? Pamela is quite strict in her use of black and white. She once told me that anyone coming to her with a request for a colourful home should turn around and walk the other way. She isn’t the designer for them! She may use charcoal rather than purely black and white, but you’d be stretching the friendship.

A monochrome home [these days] is one that is using all the one hue or little to no colour. This living room is really just that. White painted floor boards, ethnic pieces like the etched collection of black poles. A tribal cushion has a hint of rust [but that’s as far as it goes].

Designer: Pamela Makin@Les Interieurs Photographer: Felix Forrest.

Designer: Pamela Makin@Les Interieurs Photographer: Felix Forrest.

Rule 3: Use Pattern and Colour thoughtfully

Are you more a colour & pattern person than beige/taupe tones or black & white? Fabulous! Enjoy yourself here, but the trick to using colour in a global interior is to be very considered about your choices. Like the first example about creating a focal point, you want to choose your pattern wisely and avoid crazy conflict. Excitement and passion are great, but your home also needs to feel sophisticated, rather than being a dumping ground for a dozen colourful ornaments that don’t relate.

Designer: Peter Casey/Adam Scougall Photographer: Yie Sandison

Designer: Peter Casey/Adam Scougall Photographer: Yie Sandison

The Sydney Loft of my best friend Peter was an example of considered use of pattern. The Summer Aztec rug by Designer Rugs I added to create a focal moment within the apartment. You can see the pattern on entry level as well as when you look down from the upstairs loft bedroom. It creates a statement without being confused by other clashing elements. The Mayan Sphere cushions by Bandhini also provide interests and complements the tribal feeling to the rug.


Are you a beige and taupe, black and white or enjoy the theatre of colour?

Email and let me know!


Andrew Keese