The interior design of Arab houses
All Praise is to Allah
Arabian architecture and décor are influenced by many of the Mediterranean styles, including Greek, Spanish, French and Italian. Strong Arabic influences are seen in Moroccan interiors, the style most closely associated with Arabian style. Islamic culture plays a significant role in both Moroccan and Arabic design. Traditional Arabic themes vary from rustic, Bedouin-style interiors to lavish, “Arabian Nights,” palace-style interiors. Modern Arabic style has the same minimalist look of European and American design styles.
Perhaps the single most important element in Arabic decorating is the use of colorful textiles with a rich diversity of patterns and textures. Use layers of beautiful fabric and textiles including Persian rugs, pillows, floor cushions, wall tapestries, hallway runners and curtains.
The traditional typology of interiors in Saudi houses reflects a profound sense of hierarchy between men and women. Many Saudi homes have one entrance for men and another for women. Private space is associated with women while the public space, such as the living room, is reserved for men.
Men and women traditionally had separate areas for their guests but of course shared the same family rooms. The hospitality and generosity of Muslims was reflected in the large living rooms of their houses where there was usually also an annex or a suite for guests. Houses were built around an internal courtyard shielded from the street by a high solid wall or thick high vegetation. Houses were supposed to look plain from the outside but respectable.
There is a rigid issue of segregation between the sexes which is echoed in the two entrances to the house, and is followed up in the interior by separating men’s and women’s quarters.
Nowadays a lot of people live in apartments which use only one entrance, but the rooms for women guests and men guests are separate. Male guests usually sit in a short chair or sofa with lots of pillows and hand rests, and the room for women is usually decorated with modern designs but still in Arabic styles.
The essence of Islamic domestic architecture is privacy: keeping the family and its women secure in their private world, away from the house’s public rooms and the eyes of the public.
Muslim art is similar in spirit throughout the Muslim world, yet exciting in its aesthetic value and its sublime appeal of beauty and peace as are most of the Arabian houses with their beautiful and unique design and decoration.