Burgeoning interior design scenes in the Middle East

The Middle East has long been associated with exquisite architecture and colorful trends in home décor, inspired by spices and flowers in particular. Cardamom, cloves, and sandalwood have all been used to infuse an exotic richness and spirituality into domestic spaces across the region, and the wealth of luxurious furnishings and handmade items has inspired Western designers for centuries.

Businessmen such as Fahad Al-Rajaan of the Kuwait Real Estate Investment Consortium now take a keen interest in the luxury interior design market right across the Middle East. Staying on top of the latest trends becomes a crucial issue for companies catering for the top end of the housing market in places such as Jeddah, Doha, and Kuwait, where influential personal preferences are ever-changing.

Here we take a look at some of the current trends in Middle Eastern interior design, in an industry that moves fast and is noted for its constant innovation.


The concept of sustainability was largely off the agenda until about 20 years ago. Now it is very much at the forefront of interior design in the area as the industry is under increased pressure to embrace sustainable practices and environmental responsibility. Designers and architects also focus much more on the use of natural light, both to reduce energy waste and to contribute to a sense of wellbeing in the occupants.

Space conversion

Maximizing available space has become a critical issue where real estate prices are rocketing. Interior designers now increasingly manipulate layouts and light to convert what were originally unused spaces into functional ones. Most commonly, this involves converting a recess or alcove into a mini-study, or the space under the stairs into a small library or shelving to display art objects.

The kitchen as domestic hub

All across the Middle East, the kitchen has since earliest times been a hive of domestic activity and the focus of family life. Modern designers are bringing this concept back into their creations by factoring in bigger, open-plan kitchen spaces, which are more conducive to larger congregations of extended family and friends.


Traditional influences are being enthusiastically embraced by designers and architects in places such as Jeddah, Beirut, Doha, and Kuwait. The Arabic style is much in favor, in the form of intricately carved furniture, rich upholstery, Arabic calligraphy, hanging lamps, and colorful tiles. Arabic trimmed windows and doors are also popular to recreate the traditional Majlis, and this type of reinterpretation of older patterns ingrained in the culture is giving rise to a distinctive new Arabian style in interior design and décor.


Aside from architectural and design concepts, it’s often also the small details that create a luxurious and cheerful look and feel in the homes of the Middle East. From decorative screens and wall paintings to natural stone figurines, copper jugs, and candles, these elements can all be incorporated into Western domestic spaces as well. Low furniture, natural wooden floors, and painted screens are just part of a trend in interior design that has its origins in this ancient culture.

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