Adobe House Interior Design: How to Decorate an Adobe House

A photograph of an adobe house interior with traditional decor. The fireplace has rounded edges, and an oval doorway between the living area and dining room. There are patterned throws and rugs to create texture. A floral design is in the bottom left of the image and across the top are the words "Adobe House Interior Design How to Decorate an Adobe House."

Image courtesy of Curbed on Pinterest.

Excellent interior design soothes the soul and should evoke feelings of happiness and well-being for inhabitants. However, adobe houses can be challenging to decorate due to their thick, earthen walls and warm, natural tones.

Therefore, when it comes to adobe house interior design, you need to know what works and what doesn’t.

As one of the most sustainable construction materials, adobe looks good when decorated with the right colors and textures. You must also consider how to make the indoor space cozy for comfortable evenings during the colder months.

So, how do you choose the right colors and textures for a relaxed and inviting indoors? It’s partly a matter of having a good eye, and partly down to understanding the principles of interior design.

I’ll discuss adobe house interior design in the rest of this article. From choosing the right colors and textures to creating cozy and inviting indoor spaces, you’ll know how to decorate your adobe house.

Let’s dive in!

How to Choose the Right Colors and Texture for an Adobe House

A living room in an adobe house with white walls, exposed wooden beams in the ceiling, textile wall hangings and colorful furniture.
The right combination of colors can make for a beautiful adobe house interior. Image courtesy of ModTix.

Colors and textures are among the essential aspects of interior design — besides adding personality, they ensure the right amount of zest for a distinctively-decorated interior.

Getting the colors and textures for decorating your adobe house right is essential. However, this can be challenging due to the many colors and textures in the interior design world.

As if that’s not enough, adobe is considered an alternative building technique. Therefore, since these houses are less common, it can be hard to come across adobe house interior designs for inspiration.

Allow me to guide you in choosing the right colors and textures for your adobe house.

How to Choose the Right Colors for Adobe House Interior Design

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American spends 90 percent of their time indoors. Since we spend so much time indoors, creating a welcoming atmosphere is important to enhance our mood. One way to do that is by choosing the right interior design colors, which are responsible for 87 percent of our sensory information.

Here is a guide to choosing the right colors to decorate your adobe house:

Understand the Different Categories of Colors and Where to Use Each

When it comes to interior designing, colors are classified into three major categories; warm, cool, and neutral tones. These tones come in handy in different situations, and getting them right will enhance the aesthetics of your interior space.

Red, orange, and yellow make up the warm colors. They’re ideal for creating feelings of optimism, happiness, and energy. Therefore, they’re suitable for public spaces in your adobe house. Such spaces include:

  • Living room
  • Balcony
  • Dining room

On the other hand, cool colors, which include blue, green, and magenta, are perfect for a relaxed atmosphere. These colors evoke feelings of calmness and a sense of peace.

Moreover, cool hues create a receding impression on the eyes, making a space feel more open and serene. These hues are ideal for:

  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Study room
A bedroom in an adobe house with blue walls and green and pink furniture. Flowers are painted on the wall above the bed, and brass light fittings extend over the bed.
Blue and green are good colors for a relaxing bedroom.

Finally, while neutral tones appear to lack color, they depict underlying hues based on lighting conditions. These hues complement cool and warm tones by creating depth in an interior space.

They include beige, gray, cream, brown, taupe, white, and black.

If chosen correctly, neutral tones can create a stunningly vibrant atmosphere. They’re suitable for:

  • Hallways
  • Kitchen
  • Closets

Consider Your Climatic Zone

Choosing colors that harmonize with your local surroundings and climate is crucial for finding the balance between functionality and aesthetics.

Cool colors are ideal for warmer climates. This is because they give a sense of freshness and chill while keeping the house cool. Therefore, consider cool colors if your adobe house is in an arid climate or humid, hot tropical weather.

On the other hand, warm colors are best for cooler climates because they create warmth in a home. You might need warmer colors in a specific space or throughout the house if you experience low temperatures.

Warm colors are ideal for adobe houses near the poles or at high altitudes where temperatures are cold.

Consider the Orientation of the House

The orientation of your adobe house affects the amount of light and solar radiation it receives.

East-facing and south-facing houses receive the highest amount of sunlight in the northern hemisphere.

Moreover, because the sun rises from the east and sets in the west, the east-facing side receives most of the morning sun, while the west-facing side receives most of the evening sun.

An orange adobe house with small windows and wooden beams protruding from the wall, which cast shadows along the wall. To the right is a bright sun shining.
The orientation of your adobe house is important to consider because it affects the amount of sunlight in each room at different times of day.

How does the above information matter for your adobe house interior design and color selection?

Warm colors are suitable for north-facing rooms because they receive less sunlight. Therefore, you need warm colors to create a cozy and inviting interior.

On the other hand, cool colors are suitable for south and east-facing houses to reduce the amount of heat absorption from direct sunlight.

Finally, you can use neutral tones for south-facing and west-facing rooms to balance warm and cool tones.

Create a Color Scheme From a Color Wheel

If you’re still stuck, a color wheel can make choosing the right color for your adobe house interior design easier.

You can derive a color scheme through a simple turn of the color wheel. By turning the wheel, you see how colors relate to each other.

The main color schemes you can get using a color wheel are:

  • Monochromatic: It uses one color in different shades and tints for a subtle palette.
  • Analogous: It incorporates colors found side-by-side of the wheel for contrast.
  • Complementary: It involves using two directly opposite tones. It’s ideal for adding energy to a room.
  • Triadic: It involves three distinct colors located on the wheel’s equal distances from each other.
An interior designer points to a color wheel's center with a blue ballpoint pen. The wheel includes all the colors on the visible spectrum.
A color wheel can help to take the guesswork out of color selection.

How to Choose the Right Textures for Adobe House Interior Design

Besides colors, textures are essential for interior design because they tell stories that add depth and charm.

As the name suggests, texture in interior design and decoration refers to a surface that can be experienced through touch or the illusion of touch. It can be tactile, visual, two or three-dimensional, smooth, or rough.

Texture is an excellent way to add accent and visual weight to the house.

Here’s a guide on choosing the right texture for your adobe house:

Understand the Available Textures in Interior Designs

Knowing the available texture options and their application in interior design will help you choose the best.

There are four main types of textures in interior design:

  • Actual texture: It’s what you feel by touching or appearance. It includes materials like wood, stucco, stone, concrete, fabrics, and metals.
  • Simulated texture: An optical illusion created using light, shadows, lines, and patterns. It imitates other textures by incorporating textural elements. For instance, by using a three-dimensional image, you can make rubber tile flooring resemble hardwood.
  • Abstract texture: Although they appear like actual surfaces, they’re simplified and rearranged to produce a different texture.
  • Invented texture: It’s imaginative and uses a two-dimensional image of dark and light patterns. It generates no real surface of its own. The patterns created by invented textures are decorative and generated from computer drawings and design software.

So, how do you know which of these textures is ideal for your adobe house? Read on to find out!

Choose Textures That Enhance the Room’s Visual Appearance

You must consider the room’s visual appeal for the right texture.

Key questions to ask yourself include:

Does the room have contemporary or traditional furniture? Is it minimalist or Gatsby-style décor? How much space is available in the room?

After that, consider how the texture will look and feel in the house. For instance, you can use rough textures like stucco, stone tiles, and leather furniture for an actual texture that adds warmth and contrast to your living room.

A closeup photograph of an orange stuccoed wall.
Stucco can be applied to adobe walls with different textures to bring character to the interior of your home.

On the other hand, if you want a relaxed atmosphere in your bedroom, soften the décor with plush fabrics, carpeting, and velvet upholstery.

You can also create a mural for a simulated texture. A mural is an original artwork that can be painted or printed on your adobe wall for a stunning visual impact.

How to Incorporate Traditional Southwestern Décor Into an Adobe House

Traditional southwestern decor is an interior design style that draws inspiration from the American Southwest region. It incorporates Spanish textiles, desert palettes, nature, ironwork, and adobe houses.

The design is characterized by rust, terra-cotta, and cactus green textures. It also features bulky furnishings, wrought iron details, and sun-dried terracotta tiles.

Here are some ways to incorporate traditional Southwestern décor into an adobe house:

Use Earthy Tones

Earthy tones incorporate colors rooted in nature. They include hues of brown, red, sand, and sky blue. These colors bring warmth and earthy vibes to an adobe house.

Specifically, you can apply earthy tones in your adobe home in the following ways:

  • Paint the walls with a rustic hue of terracotta.
  • Use bright reds, oranges, and muted blues in accent pieces like throw pillows or blankets.
  • Decorate with carved wood furniture such as armoires, cabinets, and tables to emphasize the atmosphere of an old-world adobe.
  • Add texture and color to the room with a Southwestern-inspired rug or kilim.

Choose Bold Textures

To create a southwestern décor, choose bold textures that evoke Native American cultures and deserts.

Think cactus needle pillows, Navajo rugs, leather couches, and woven baskets.

Alternatively, use a burlap tablecloth to add an extra rustic touch.

Create Desert Vibes

A monochrome room with gray walls and square-patterned gray and white rug. Cacti are placed around the room to create a desert theme.
The use of plants is a handy design trick. Using cacti can create a desert theme that fits well with adobe buildings.

The desert palette holds a central role in Southwestern décor.

You can create those unique desert vibes by introducing the right elements into your adobe house.

Examples include adding plants like cacti, succulents, and desert palms.

You can also add vibrant pieces of furniture and wall art that incorporate hues of red, blue, orange, and yellow.

Incorporate Bold Geometric Patterns

Bold geometric patterns inspired by Native American designs are a hallmark of Southwestern décor.

You can incorporate these patterns into your adobe house through textiles, carpeting, and wallpapers.

A good rule of thumb is to look for multicolored and vibrant patterns like diamonds, zigzags, stars, or stepped motifs.

How to Create a Cozy and Inviting Atmosphere in an Adobe House

A cozy and inviting atmosphere is an environment that makes you comfortable and relaxed. You can create such an environment in your adobe house by:

  • Using warm, natural tones on the walls and furniture.
  • Adding soft lightings like lamps or sconces to set a cozy ambiance.
  • Placing cushy rugs, blankets, and throw pillows around your home.
  • Incorporating vibrant colors with art pieces or plants to enliven the atmosphere.
  • Accentuating the fireplace by decorating the mantel area with vases. You can also use a reclaimed wood mantel for your fireplace.
  • Have plenty of candles in the house to add a sense of warmth.

How to Decorate an Adobe House on a Budget

You don’t have to break the bank to decorate an adobe house. Here are some tips to decorate an adobe house on a budget:

  • Prioritize your needs over wants: List items and prioritize what you need versus want.
  • Shop second-hand: Look for thrift stores or flea markets for furniture, decorations, and other home accessories in your location.
  • Do it yourself: Consider making decorative pieces like wall art or hanging plants to save money. You can explore online resources for inspiration and source supplies from dollar stores or craft shops.
  • Repurpose old items: Repurpose furniture for a more modern look. For example, you can give an old dresser a rustic makeover by adding distressed paint and vintage handles. Alternatively, you can use old glass jars as vases.
  • Embrace minimalism and decluttering: Declutter by removing unnecessary items and only buying essential pieces that make a statement.
  • Leverage shop sales: Take advantage of sales and discounts to save money. You might find a great deal on furniture or décor you love.
A photograph of items set out for sale at a garage sale. A sign made from a blackboard has "Garage Sale"  written in chalk. Some items for sale include a microscope, a hand bell, a wooden crate full of old records, and various ornaments.
You can save a lot of money if you buy accessories and furniture from second hand stores or garage sales.

What Does an Adobe Home Look Like?

An adobe home incorporates traditional Southwestern architectural elements with rounded edges and flat roofs. Often, the home also features a roof extension to collect rainwater.

Another characteristic of adobe homes is that they have thick walls that absorb heat during the day and release it at night to warm the indoors.

Final Thoughts

Adobe house interior design comes down to choosing the right colors and textures.

Merging the right colors and textures with traditional Southwestern décor elements will help accentuate the beauty of your adobe house.

Finally, remember to experiment with different design ideas to find the best combination of options.

If you’ve come this far, you might also want to learn about straw bale houses. Here is our guide on straw bale houses and whether you should build one.

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