The Idealist

Vibrant colour scheme: Kahlo inspired Mexican colours

Vivid violets, vibrant greens and oranges and rich blues. We’re taking a trip overseas today with a Mexican Colonial themed colour scheme. Drawing inspiration from recent travels to the Yucatan peninsula and the glorious works of Frida Kahlo, John brings us bursts of saturated colour to brighten up a living room scheme.

From 1519 to 1824, Mexico was controlled by Spain. Even after Mexico declared independence, the Spanish colonial influence remained a part of their culture. This influence can be seen in Mexican Colonial homes, which are a combination of traditional Mexican and Spanish colonial architecture. Our colour scheme today also draws inspiration from Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter known mostly for her self portraits. Frida used bright shades of red, green, yellow, orange and blue to create stunning paintings. Somewhat unexpectedly, they’re soon to open a Frida Kahlo museum in the resort town of Playa del Carmen on the edge of the Yucatan peninsula, although the Kahlo aesthetic is more at home in her native Mexico City.

Colours

To get this look, violet and mauve as a base is accented with a few vibrant, complementary colours. Earth red floors provide an authentic Mexican feel, referencing the compacted earth floors of old. For accent pieces and furniture, pale blue and teal can be used together. Vibrant but earthy yellows, greens and oranges were often present in Frida’s work, and they work well as accents. For trim and other woodwork, dark indigos and purple perfectly complement the look.

Textiles

Since this scheme has many colours and uses geometric patterns, a good Mexican rug is a great starting point. One of our favourite stores right now is Maisons Du Monde; favourite because they carry ranges of furniture and decorative pieces in a number of different styles, meaning you can really go to town with the look you have in mind. So, that’s where we’re targeting our online shopping today. They carry a perfect wool rug that fits right in with this colour scheme and has a wonderful diamond pattern. (£264.50)

Mexican textiles feature a variety of colours, but they often focus on the brighter shades. A more modern interpretation of bold colours in rug form can be found courtesy of Habitat in their Agnes rug  (£100)

Now that you’ve got a rug that incorporates most of your colour scheme, use the sofa as an opportunity to showcase some of the darker colours. This simple peacock blue fabric sofa from Maisons du Monde meshes perfectly with your brighter, multicolour rug. (£385) We also love the Hyde sofa in teal from Habitat (£495) but note the colour is more subdued than the peacock blue one.

You can’t have a proper Mexican Colonial-themed scheme without some decorative throws and cushions for your sofa. You can find them in a variety of colour schemes and patterns, most of which will fit perfectly with this scheme. Pair this throw with a few of these cushions — both from Maisons du Monde — to brighten your sofa and accent your rug. (Throw: £71.99, cushion: £35.99).

Accessories

A perfectly designed room is nothing if it isn’t also functional. For a bit of added storage that keeps with the colours of this room, try this multicoloured Mojito metal storage tower. It has a metal turquoise frame and five drawers in green, red, orange, yellow and sky blue. (£165)

Remember, this isn’t just a Mexican-themed room, it’s also inspired by Frida Kahlo. The beautiful, vibrant colours found in her paintings are present throughout the room, so be sure to pick up an art print or two. To keep consistent with the patterns and colours of the room, Frida’s Self-Portrait with Monkey and Parrot is a great choice. (£25 for the print). For a more contemporary take on a certain Mexican aesthetic, how about this amazing print  by Gemma Compton (£125) filled with roses and skulls? We thought about a whole piece on Dia de los Muertos, but we’ll save that for another time.

Living rooms are great for entertaining guests, so for an added touch of hispanic style, grab this six-pack of mojito glasses (yes, we know mojitos are Cuban!) Their green-and-orange prints make them a great accent piece, and they’re a great size for any beverage. (£14.40). If that’s a bit too out there, we also love these mouth-blown turquoise tumblers  from Habitat (£20 for four). Perfect for iced water with mint and lemon in.

For more colour schemes, take a look at

  • John is a photographer and journalist from Manchester with a passion for street photography and modern art. When not taking photos, you can find him on a bike anywhere from Sardinia to Amsterdam listening to Zero 7.

  • Comments

You May Also Like

Elegant Minimalism in Black and White

Silvia's North London apartment is a beautiful monochrome mix of big name design classics, high street finds and unique items. Her passion for minimalist ...

New Trends in Kitchen Design

There have never been more varied and exciting choices for homeowners redesigning their kitchens. Read about the newest trends with our guide to the ...

Accessorising your bedroom

When you want to perk up the appearance of your room, but don’t want to redecorate everything from scratch, you can always think about ...