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Tribal Chic: Designer Tips for Decorating Around Tribal Rugs

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Tribal chic home decor has been around for a while, but thanks to Instagram and its legions of interior design enthusiasts, tribal-inspired pieces, like area rugs and runners, are having a major moment—and for good reason.

“Tribal-inspired home décor can be summed up in one word: VERSATILE,” explains New York-based interior designer Stacy Garcia. “The amazing part is that it is no longer specific to one locale or style. In fact, we are seeing it in many different settings, popping up in the most urban of areas and in spaces that range from contemporary-modern to even rustic-traditional aesthetics. Because the inspiration is derived from a multitude of cultures from around the globe, this style has the ability to appeal to a wide variety of consumers.”

The Secret to Bringing Global Tribal Motifs Home: Mix and Match

Lucky for us, there are many ways to bring tribal touches into our home’s interior. After all, nothing says “world traveler” quite like woven tapestries, ethnic baskets, handcrafted pottery, and other works of art that celebrate and appreciate the culture of the world’s most famous tribes. If you’re just starting out, according to Stacy, the trick is to mix and match pieces that are meaningful to you.

Obi Walnut Tribal Rug

“When designing for this style, our approach is very eclectic, mixing and matching styles from various time periods and locales, creating a well-traveled appeal that ultimately feels refined and sophisticated,” she says.

“Tribal decor can speak to a wide range of interior styles so don't be afraid to play around," she adds. “Blend high and low furnishings. Mix different colors, patterns and materials—the sky's the limit! Most importantly, have fun in creating a style and aesthetic that speaks to you.”

Our Favorite Tribal Art-Inspired Rugs (And How to Style Them)

Rugs are the easiest way to add visual interest and worldly flavors to your home. Not only do they serve as a crisp backdrop for your cultural collections, they’re also conversation starters that tell a compelling story. If you’re in the market for one, here are just some of our favorites:

1. Dakotah Sumac Rug

Dakotah Sumac Tribal Rug

Inspired by Navajo's storm pattern motif, this rug features zigzag patterns, which symbolize lightning, surrounded by corner triangles that represent Navajo's four sacred mountains. “Definitely feeling boho chic,” says Stacy. “Earthy colors and traditional patterning give this rug a grounding energy, reinforcing a feeling of familiarity." 

How to style it: “Combine it with soft furs, fringe accents, warm woods, and brass metals to complete the look.”

2. Falsa Stripes Sage Rug

Falsa Stripes Sage Tribal Rug

This rug is inspired by serape, a traditional piece of outdoor clothing worn by people in Mexico and Guatemala. “The serene, spa-like colors lend for a more modern interpretation of a traditional serape blanket, giving this pattern the ability to be more transitional,” says Stacy. “Using this rug you can create a meditative space, one that evokes a sense of serenity with a beachy, laid-back California coast vibe.” 

How to style it: “Natural finishes such as marble, tile and stone paired with light oak wood will encourage a tranquil and refreshing environment.”

3. Saltillo Polychrome Rug

Saltillo Polychrome Tribal Rug

Saltillo is a town in Mexico. It’s also the place where the colorful saltillo blankets—which is the inspiration for this rug—originated. “We love this because it merges both muted and rich pigments with a clean stripe, which makes for a unique, modern twist.” 

How to style it: “We suggest using this rug as a focal point in the room, juxtaposed with contemporary furnishings, clean lines and sleek finishes for a well-curated living space. Think rich-torched wood, matte black metal, soft leather, plush velvets and more.”

Modern Tribal Rugs

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