My 40th birthday felt like the perfect excuse to treat myself to an excursion in a new-to-me part of the world — Morocco. The colorful city of Marrakech, to be specific.
One word: Incredible.
Picture open air markets and engaging people around every corner. Clothing and fabrics in rich hues. Hand-made pottery with intricate Moroccan designs. Not to mention the sweet and savory combination of scents wafting through the air. (You can smell it too, right?)
I was intoxicated with the feel of the place.... not to mention stirred up with creativity! Since Marrakech is brimming with colorful, joyful, and super unique design, what better opportunity to send some inspiration your way?
A Color-Loving Riad in Marrakech
My friend and I stayed at a gorgeous riad (a traditional Moroccan house and indoor courtyard) with amazing service. It was an Airbnb located perfectly in the heart of The Medina, an ancient city with winding alleys and all those good things I mentioned above.
Indoor and out, this place had so many to-die-for features. You felt immersed in the culture the second you walked in the door.
Large bedroom suites with private ensuite bathrooms and art from local artists.
Open-air lounge and dining areas in warm earthy tones, splashes of color, and traditional Moroccan construction. I love the character of that rich, carved wood.
A rooftop terrace, colorful cushions, and refreshing pool for cooling off in the hot Moroccan sunshine.
We even had the option to have breakfast prepared for us each day — I could get used to that! I also loved that the decor, including the furniture and accessories, were all sourced from local artisans.
No secret here. The riad was filled with color and character — exactly what you expect from a magnificent Moroccan retreat. Perfect… in almost every way.
The Elephant in this Colorful Room
I wouldn’t normally bring it up, but as a designer, I have to comment. The one issue we had (and I’m noticing this trend in guest houses all over the place), is that the beds and bedding were.... lacking.
As I was trying to catch some Z’s, I remember thinking, This must be what sleeping on the floor feels like. Yes, the mattress was that hard and the sheets were that rough.
I’m looking at you, secretly painful mattress!
I am a firm believer that when you’re paying good money to stay in an Airbnb, it is okay to expect a certain level of comfort. The basic amenities (towels, sheets, etc.) should be of quality and should rival what you would get if you were paying to stay at a similarly priced hotel.
NOTE: For all of you Airbnb owners and hospitality industry professionals out there, consider upgrading your linens if they are sub-par quality! It is such an easy way to elevate your offering, and trust me, an enjoyable night’s sleep makes for happy AND repeat customers.
Okay, tangent over. Let’s get back to this design inspiration.
Finding Design Inspiration in Morocco
In addition to some me-time, the trip also provided an opportunity to source on behalf of my clients and bring new ideas back to the Bay Area.
We explored the city to find gorgeous rugs in stunning tones, jewelry, light fixtures, antique tea sets, and more for our clients. We thoroughly enjoyed hand-picking each piece that we brought back — and I’d say we brought back even more in inspiration. My mind is still racing with new ideas!
I knew Morocco would be colorful, but the trip refilled my soul and creativity in ways I didn’t know I needed. Being surrounded by so much color and pattern in everyday ways makes me even more confident to stand in my design truth that color, pattern, and JOY is life.
I have no interest in living an existence surrounded by white and gray walls (no matter how trendy those might be at times). I’ll take the richness of saturated hues, intricate patterns, meticulous details, and deep history any day!
These are the elements that can create joy and meaning in your home… and by connection, in your life.
If you’re ready for interiors that are functional and excite you, it’s time we talked. ;)