Interior Design

10 ways global style can transform your home, according to interior designers

From French chic to a laid-back Greek retreat...

Global style
(Image credit: Damian Russell)

Global style is attracting a lot of interest at the moment – and it's no wonder, with international travel still posing lots of uncertainties, many of us are waiting until next year to soak up different cultures abroad. 

However, that doesn't mean you can't bring your favorite international style to your own home to get that cultural fix. Thankfully, we have a host of global style interior design ideas to get you started.

See: Interior design tips – decorating secrets for the world's top experts

10 chic global style ideas – so you can holiday at home

From oh-so-chic France to the captivating islands of Greece, interior designers Jen Bernard brings a taste of global style to your home from our favorite destinations.

1. French style

Global style

(Image credit: Little Greene)

French style is synonymous with effortless chic and its combination of vintage pieces and soft colours are the epitome of timeless elegance. To replicate French style in your home, consider decorating with paintings of ballet dancers and feminine ornaments or an Eiffel tower to pay homage to Paris.

Jen Bernard recommends a 'careful arrangement and a thoughtful balance of objects can create a visually harmonious scene, enhancing and complementing the rest of the space.' Using twin lights at each side of the mirror creates symmetry and balance in the room.

The vintage bird cases are a nod to French Gothic architecture and the curved design softens it. Yvonne Chua the co-founder of Pitch Your Concepts adds that 'in Paris, nature and outdoor gardens are always accessible on a daily basis. This is reflected in the designer’s choice of earthy tones.'

See: French country decor ideas – take a continental approach to rural style

2. Spanish style

Global style

The contrast of the terracotta reds and yellows against the blue bedspread transports you straight to the Spanish seaside as 'the blues in the ocean are reflected in the designer’s choice of blue tones from light cyan to light steel blue,' Yvonne Chua comments.

Incorporating the rustic woods, seashell decoration and warm tones of the furniture and ceramics is reminiscent of Spanish villas and the plants placed around the room brings a garden patio indoors.

Spanish interiors are filled with vibrant and rich Mediterranean colors. The bright yellow used on the walls and use of natural light in the space alludes to summer time.

See: Yellow room ideas – guaranteed to turn up the heat

3. American style

global style


(Image credit: Future)

American interiors are categorised by their open layouts, absence of doors and partitions as well as bright, vibrant color schemes – although it goes without saying that homes vary widely across this vast country, and you can find everything from chic mid-century style apartments in New York to iconic the Cape Cod house style to Ranch-style houses.

To replicate American style in the home, Elizabeth Ennis of Wolfe Interiors suggests 'the hints of hot pink and blue work beautifully against the deep grey and green to give a fun edge to a space. Mix in some natural wood furniture, and quotation prints to complete the look. This would work perfectly in an open plan living space where there is plenty of room to bring in all the elements.'

Hanging vintage celebrity photographs such as Marilyn Monroe on the walls is reminiscent of old Hollywood glamor.

4. Chinese style

Global style

'China has been undergoing rapid transformation within the past 20 years. However, the oriental decor used in the design is reminiscent of the country's ancient history and culture. Yvonne Chua comments that 'the colour palette reflect the old, traditional Chinese architecture such as temples and pagodas.'

Adding gold accents to the wallpaper and furniture gives the room an opulent flair. Simply incorporating oriental decoration into the space gives the room an authentic Chinese feel.

The lampshade used reflects the typical style used in Chinese homes. China is known for its intricate details, dark wood finishes and rich color schemes including deep reds and gold would work, which is seen here in the chair and furniture.

global interior design ideas

(Image credit: Audley Villages)

5. Italian style

Global style

(Image credit: Lee Robbins)

Italy has a great mix of grand architecture and cosy coastal villages. 'Similar to Spain, Italy being in the Mediterranean also offers good access to the ocean and it is being reflected in the choice of blue tones,' says Yvonne Chua.

In order to recreate Italian interior design in your home, Elizabeth Ennis recommends 'lots of light blues against neutral grey and tan tones, this rustic and laid back style works particularly well in open-plan areas to give a feeling of space and flow. Pairing soft textures with natural wood finishes help to keep things light and breezy'.

The old paintings and candle decorations on the clean white cabinet mix in traditional artisan design.

See more of the Italianate home in London above in our dedicated feature.

6. Mexican style

Global style

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Mexican design has an eclectic feel, mixing rustic wood and iron furnishings with over-the-top, bright, vivid colors. The wooden cabinet is typical of a Mexican home and is easy to pick up secondhand for an affordable price. Elizabeth Ennis suggests trying 'vibrant, rich colors on the walls with added pattern and color from artwork, and accessories'.

Mexico is famous for its beautiful embroidery and handmade weaving so the printed tapestry draped on the wall and the printed cushion are a simple way to incorporate Mexican design.

The colours are inspired by the red roof tiles to brownstones seen across homes in the country but don’t be afraid to get playful and add even brighter tones such as vivid pinks and blues, all representative of Mexican culture. You can also add plants which are easy to maintain such as succulents and cactus plants.

7. German style

Global style

(Image credit: Audley Villages)

Germany’s urban architecture is a blend of its neutral color palettes, modern design and symmetry. Adding two identical monochrome frames on the wall is an easy way to incorporate this symmetry. Yvonne Chua comments that the color palette 'is reminiscent of the brick gothic architecture present in many village churches in northern Germany'.

Elizabeth Ennis says: 'Minimal and functional interiors which put quality at the forefront, using clean lines and cool greys and blues that can work well to create a fuss-free, well-considered space. Blocks of color can be added through the use of rugs and artwork to lift the space. This look works particularly well in the kitchen and bathroom areas where minimal style fittings can be used.'

Ensure that you add lots of warm lighting to the room to keep the space from feeling cold and decorate with little ornaments like the car to give a homely feel.

8. Thai style

Global style

(Image credit: Rockett St George)

Thailand is a country that offers rich ornamentation and bright colors. Yvonne Chua suggests a 'color palette which shows this through colors such as Peru and Sienna'. The red walls and plant style wainscotting are reminiscent of Thai villas and coastal houses.

To achieve an authentic Thai interior, Elizabeth Ennis says: 'An airy and spacious feel can be achieved by choosing light natural wood finishes and pops of color through accessories to reflect the colorful markets and fabrics traditional to Thailand.'

Adding a woven straw chair and a variety of plants are an easy way to give a natural outdoorsy feel to the room. The intricate design hung on the wall, rounded lampshades and statues further reflect the oriental style of Thai interiors.

9. British style

Global style

(Image credit: Simon Griffiths, Hardie Grant)

Open plan space in the UK benefits from good planning and consideration to how the different areas of the space will be used. When creating a British design, Elizabeth Ennis suggests: 'Think about lighting and how to create different levels of light for different times of the day and year to ensure a cozy and welcoming feel is achieved.'

The neutral tones and simple design give a calming and relaxing feel to the room. To complement the natural color scheme, add paintings to the space and a wide range of flora.

Hanging English ivy is reminiscent of a country garden and the warm lighting complements the variety of decorations. Adding candles and incense gives a homely feel to the room while exuding understated British luxury.

10. Greek style

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When looking to recreate a traditional Greek-inspired style in your home, think about the clear blue skies and whitewashed walls which are synonymous with Greece. Greek-style is categorized by simple symmetrical balance through shape, pattern and color.

Adding similar paintings to the walls replicate this harmony, while blue textured ocean design draws the Greek seas into the home. When using Greece as inspiration for your home, Elizabeth Ennis says: 'Simplicity is key! Whitewashed walls and lots of sky and sea blues and turquoise colors mixed with neutral and natural textured fabrics.'

Traditional Greek interior decor uses natural flooring and adding area rugs such as the purple stripe patterns gives a seaside rustic feel.

What is global style?

Global style describes an interior look that embraces the generic cultural style of a particular country – and it's often associated with bringing the vacation destination you love so much back into your home. 

'To bring your dream holiday into your home, include a stack of your favourite hardback books – stylish lifestyle and travel books work really well for this,' says interior designer Jen Bernard. 

'I always like to include something living such as freshly cut flowers from the garden or a potted succulent to create a summery and vibrant look. Unusual objects picked up on previous travels also look great on coffee tables or styled on open shelves with books and family photographs. This type of styling is often a great conversation starter and brings personality to the room.

'Travel inspired artwork is another fantastic way of bringing vibrancy and color to create a summery look, evoking memories and nostalgic feelings of previous holidays. Starting with a beautiful print or piece of art will help to inform the rest of the room, allowing you to expand on your chosen theme using colours, textures and accessories that are reminiscent of your favourite worldwide destinations.'